In the 1940s and 1950s, it would have been unusual to see a female scientist in the lab. Women did have a place there, thoughas secretaries. Bette Sparks, or Bette MacEvoy as she was then named, was Bill Shockley's secretary, and as such was an integral part of keeping things running smoothly.
Bette worked closely with Shockley and says that he was a wonderful person to work withthough very meticulous. One of her responsibilities was to type up the huge amounts of notes, papers, and memos that the researchers in the lab wrote. "That was such a prolific department," she says. "The men were always writing memos. There was an overwhelming amount of written work."
All that work didn't keep the lab from being sociable, though. Bette says that a number of the younger employees would regularly go picnicking and bowling together. One of the young men was Morgan Sparks, who once asked Bette to go see a production of Cyrano De Bergerac in New York City. When she turned him down, the rest of the women in the office were shocked and told her she'd never hear from him again. But Sparks was persistent and the two have been married since 1949.
Bette Sparks talks about playing golf with Bardeen and Brattain:
Bette Sparks talks about telephone before the transistor:
Copyright 1999, ScienCentral, Inc, and The American Institute of Physics. No portion of this web site may be reproduced without written permission. All Rights Reserved.