Bo Lojek

This book takes a fresh look at the work, thoughts, and life of 1956 Nobel Prize winner William B. Shockley. It reconstructs Shockley’s upbringing, his patriotic achievements during World War II, his contribution to semiconductor physics – culminating with the epoch-making invention of the transistor – and his views on the social issues of his time.

The author’s unparalleled access to Shockley’s personal documents provides insight into a colorful, yet controversial, man, and also sheds light on the attitudes of other prominent scientists of that era. Shockley was not only an outstanding scientist in his own right but also a fiercely independent thinker in perpetual search of the truth. His contributions to the field known today as microelectronics are enormous and unmatched. This book explores the critical facets of Shockley’s life, replete with never-before-published photos and excerpts from his private correspondence and personal notebooks.

The book also delves into Shockley’s views on genetics and human intelligence. It tells the story of a man beset by an unrelenting rationality, slandered by the popular media, and ultimately alienated by his peers. It discusses his controversial, although sometimes prescient, ideas regarding human genetics, putting these into the context of modern research findings.

Today, William Shockley is perhaps just as enigmatic as his work and accomplishments. The author presents a convincing argument that Shockley still has much to say about the issues of our age, and many of his ideas deserve evaluation in the public forum.