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William Shockley (1910-1989)

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It's probably fortunate that William Shockley was awarded the Nobel Prize for his invention of the transistor before he became interested in eugenics.

I talked with him at length over the phone, but I never met him in person. He was a brilliant man, but he was not known for his sensitivity and tact. One clever person described him as having "negative charisma."

Shockley often challenged his opponents to a debate, but as far as I know, nobody ever took him up on it. One of the things he said that I still remember with fondness is, "I will debate any of my critics anytime, anyplace -- as long as they're hooked up to a lie-detector machine!"