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John Bardeen

Physicist and Engineer. The only person to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics twice: first in 1956 with William Shockley and Walter Brattain for the invention of the transistor; and again in 1972 with Leon N Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity known as the BCS theory.

The transistor revolutionized the electronics industry, allowing the Information Age to occur, and made possible the development of almost every modern electronic device, from telephones to computers to missiles. Bardeen's developments in superconductivity, which won him his second Nobel, are used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

In 1990, John Bardeen appeared on LIFE Magazine's list of "100 Most Influential Americans of the Century."

When asked about his beliefs in an interview in 1988, Bardeen responded: "I am not a religious person, and so do not think about it very much". However, he did believe in a code of moral values and behavior.


1.) True Genius: The Life and Science of John Bardeen. Joseph Henry Press. 2002. ISBN 9780309169547. "John's mother, Althea, had been reared in the Quaker tradition, and his stepmother, Ruth, was Catholic, but John was resolutely secular throughout his life. He was once “taken by surprise” when an interviewer asked him a question about religion. “I am not a religious person,” he said, “and so do not think about it very much." He went on in a rare elaboration of his personal beliefs. "I feel that science cannot provide an answer to the ultimate questions about the meaning and purpose of life. With religion, one can get answers on faith. Most scientists leave them open and perhaps unanswerable, but do abide by a code of moral values. For civilized society to succeed, there must be a common consensus on moral values and moral behaviour, with due regard to the welfare of our fellow man. There are likely many sets of moral values compatible with successful civilized soceity. It is when they conflict that difficulties arise.""

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