Top 7 Mad Scientists between Genius and Insanity:


William B. ShockleyNumber 6, William Shockley:

William Bradford Shockley Jr. (1910 – 1989) was an American physicist and inventor. Along with John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain, Shockley co-invented the transistor, for which all three were 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 became a staunch advocate of eugenics. Eugenics is the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics. Although he himself was not considered mad, he is denounced for his works. While he was married, Shockley donated his sperm to a sperm bank for geniuses. The horror his wife felt by this was to be his undoing. His work in eugenics and artificial insemination being contrary to popular medicine at the time earns his place at number six in our countdown.