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Oral history interview with R. Victor Jones

  • 2006-Apr-18

Oral history interview with R. Victor Jones

  • 2006-Apr-18

R. Victor Jones matriculated into the University of California, Berkeley and entered the lab of Walter Knight, where he worked in the new field of nuclear magnetic resonance. He continued into graduate school at Berkeley and worked in Carson Jeffries's lab, where his thesis work dealt with electron transport in a molecular afterglow. As he was finishing his thesis work, William Shockley began an aggressive recruitment of Jones until he finally accepted Shockley's offer of a job at the new Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. Shockley believed semiconductors were the wave of the future, and he espoused diffused-base technology. Jones was put to work on the four-layer diode. From the outset, lab work was compartmentalized and Shockley frequently changed the goals of the lab. Uncomfortable in the high-stress atmosphere of the lab and wanting to work with his primary interest, electromagnetic theory, Jones decided after only two years to look for work in the academy, ultimately acceptaing a position at Harvard University. He spent almost fifty years there, teaching electronics.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 38 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewer

David C. Brock is a senior research fellow with the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. As a historian of science and technology, he specializes in the history of semiconductor science, technology, and industry; the history of instrumentation; and oral history. Brock has studied the philosophy, sociology, and history of science at Brown University, the University of Edinburgh, and Princeton University.In the policy arena Brock recently published Patterning the World: The Rise of Chemically Amplified Photoresists, a white-paper case study for the Center’s Studies in Materials Innovation. With Hyungsub Choi he is preparing an analysis of semiconductor technology roadmapping, having presented preliminary results at the 2009 meeting of the Industry Studies Association.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0336

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • June 08, 1929
  • Oakland, California, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1951 University of California, Berkeley AB Physics
1956 University of California, Berkeley PhD Physics

Professional Experience

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory

  • 1956 to 1957 Senior Engineer

Harvard University

  • 1957 to 1961 Assistant Professor of Applied Physics
  • 1961 to 1964 Associate Professor of Applied Physics
  • 1964 to 1982 Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics
  • 1969 to 1971 Associate Dean, Division of Engineering and Applied Physics
  • 1971 to 1972 Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • 1982 to 2007 Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics

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PDF — 349 KB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Audio File Web-quality download

1 Interview Segment Archival-quality download