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Walter Houser Brattain was born on February 10, 1902.
Walter Brattain earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, and in 1929 he became a research physicist for Bell Telephone Laboratories. His chief field of research involved the surface properties of solids, particularly the atomic structure of a material at the surface, which usually differs from its atomic structure in the interior.
Walter Brattain, William Shockley and John Bardeen invented the transistor in 1947 and a more effective device, the junction transistor, in 1948.
In 1956 Walter Brattain together with John Bardeen and William Shockley was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for "their researches on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect".
After leaving Bell Laboratories in 1967, Walter Brattain served as adjunct professor at Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington (till 1972), then was designated overseer emeritus. He was granted a number of patents and wrote many articles on solid-state physics.At Whitman, the Walter Brattain Scholarships are awarded on a merit basis to "entering students who have achieved high academic excellence in their college preparatory work."