Exhibits At the Museum

This Day in History

Today: April 20, 2014
Bell Labs researchers

July 24, 1951

Transistor inventor leaves Bell Labs

John Bardeen notified AT&T Bell Laboratories that he would be leaving the company where, along with Walter Brattain and William Shockley, he had developed one of the most essential components of modern computing: the point-contact transistor

The transistor replaced vacuum tubes, allowing the size of computers to decrease dramatically while their power increased. Despite this triumph, Bardeen was unhappy with Shockley, whom he felt was limiting his and Brattain's involvement with further refinements to the transistor. Bardeen took a position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.