William Shockley

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William Shockley.

William Bradford Shockley (1910 – 1989) was a British-born American physicist and inventor. He co-invented the transistor and was one those awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics. Shockley's attempts to commercialize a new transistor design in the 1950s and 1960s led to California's Silicon Valley becoming a hotbed of electronics innovation. In his later life, Shockley was a professor at Stanford, and he also became a strong supporter of eugenics.

Shockley became intensely interested in questions of race, intelligence, and eugenics. He thought this work was important to the genetic future of the human species, and came to describe it as the most important work of his career, even though expressing such politically unpopular views risked damaging his reputation.

"As he found himself spending more and more time fending off charges of “racism,” he began blaming “inverted liberals” who supported “unsearch” rather than research. He feared that those who thought they were helping blacks by opposing race-related research were the worst culprits. “If such effects [dysgenic trends among blacks] are occurring and if entrenched dogmatism is blocking their discovery,” he wrote, “then the consequence may be a cruel form of genetic enslavement. [...] The forum in which Dr. Shockley most vigorously pressed his case for research was the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). As a member of the Academy he had the right to propose research projects and he did so every year from 1967 to 1972. [...] This sort of thing was much too racy for the NAS and it turned down Dr. Shockley’s proposals year after year. Eventually, the great physicist lost patience. He had repeatedly warned the Academy that if differential birth rates really had thrown evolution into reverse, it was a catastrophe that required immediate attention. In his last proposal to the NAS in 1972, he called the Academy’s inaction “the most serious and obvious dereliction of intellectual responsibility in the history of science.” [...] Dr. Shockley believed that his eugenics work was much more important than the discovery of the transistor. As he explained, without a certain level of human intelligence, there could be no transistors or much else, for that matter."[1]

While the NAS did not research the issue, many studies have found a dysgenic trend.

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References

  1. William Shockley in His Own Words https://www.amren.com/news/2010/08/william_shockle/
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