Gordon Teal wasn't there for the birth of the transistor -- he
didn't work in the Shockley lab when it was first invented -- but he helped
the transistor grow to its full potential. While working at Bell
Labs, Teal figured out how to grow
the pure germanium crystals necessary for the junction transistor
and later, after he had moved to Texas Instruments, he built
the first working silicon transistor.
Teal was fascinated by the transistor, and he knew he could grow better crystals than the ones he'd been asked to. Through sheer stubbornness, he continued working on purifying crystals even though it took him a while to convince anyone in the Shockley lab that his new method of crystal growing was important. In the end, however, it was Teal's special crystals that turned Shockley's vision of an improved transistor into a reality.
In 1952, Teal answered a want ad in the New York Times
for a job at Texas Instruments. Teal wanted to move back to Texas and
he knew that TI had attended a transistor
workshop at Bell Labs to learn how to build transistors. Teal
was hired on as director of the TI research department, and in many
ways he was the spark that turned Texas Instruments into the company
it is today. Once he was hired, other top-notch scientists soon
joined the team. Most importantly, within two years, Teal had
built the first silicon
transistor, which catapulted the small start-up company into the
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.