Leopoldo Benjamin Valdes was a pioneer in semiconductors. He was one of the first four recruits by William Shockley to help develop technologies at Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory.[1]


During the winter of 1954–1955, William Shockley decided to seek a sponsor to help him establish production of complex transistors and his own Shockley diodes. He was initially supported by Raytheon, but the agreement was soon canceled by that company. After Shockley subsequently established Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory under the umbrella of Beckman Instruments, he recruited William W. Happ who he knew from Raytheon.[2][3] Shockley's other three initial recruits were George Smoot Horsley[1] and Valdes[4] both of whom he knew from Bell Labs, and Richard Victor Jones,[1] who was then a new Berkeley graduate.

Valdes, as the most experienced of the group, was tasked with setting up crystal growing equipment.[5] He also brought lists of equipment suppliers from his prior employer, Pacific Semiconductors. Valdes, however, clashed with Shockley early on because, according to Jones, he felt he knew more than Shockley about semiconductors; he ultimately left the company after about a year.[3] Jones also recalled that Valdes was under a great deal of pressure because he had moved his family west to join Shockley and took issue with the way Shockley was running the company.[3] Jones also believed Shockley, who would soon become notorious for his paranoia and secrecy at the company, viewed the experienced Valdes as a competitor and suspected he would take Shockley's technologies to another company.[3]

Valdes later worked for Rheem Manufacturing Company, and then Watkins-Johnson Company.[6]

In 1961, Valdes published a 370-page book The Physical Theory of Transistors[7] which is cited in university level textbooks.[8][9]

Lojek, Bo (2007). History of Semiconductor Engineering. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 70. ISBN 978-3540342588. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
Shurkin, Joel N. (2006). Broken Genius: The Rise and Fall of William Shockley, Creator of the Electronic Age. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 168–169. ISBN 0230552293.
Brock, David C. "R. Victor Jones Transcript of an Interview" (PDF). Chemical Heritage Foundation Oral History Program. CHEMICAL HERITAGE FOUNDATION. pp. 11, 13, 23. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
Thackray, Arnold (2015). Moore's Law The Life of Gordon Moore, Silicon Valley's Quiet Revolutionary. Basic Books. ISBN 9780465055623.
Lojak, Bo (2021). William Shockley: The Will to Think. Springer Nature. p. 133. ISBN 978-3030659585.
staff. "Bruce Deal Interview 1, June 9, 1988". Retrieved 4 August 2021.
Valdes, Leopoldo B. (1961). The Physical Theory of Transistors. McGraw-Hill.
Leck, J.H. (2013). Theory of Semiconductor Junction Devices: A Textbook for Electrical andElectronic Engineers. Elsevier. pp. xiii. ISBN 978-1483156903.
Satyam, M. (1990). Foundations of Electronic Devices. New Age International. p. 462. ISBN 8122402941.

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