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.At 7:30 in the morning, the door opened and two beautifulgirls came in: one, carrying a silver tray of coffee and cookies, wore acrown of burning candles; the other carried a single candle.They stoodat the foot of the bed and sang a hymn.It was the festival of St Lucia.That night Sweden s university students took over the entertain-ment.Their banquet was run by the student s Society of the Ever-Smil-ing and Leaping Frog and festivities began when the society s namesake,a cigar dangling from his mouth and one eye blinking, entered the dininghall.The students sang the frog s anthem and placed him on the stage,whereupon the skoaling began anew.Shockley sat next to the student secretary of the organization.Thesecond toast would involve everyone standing on his or her chair.ButShockley got up on his chair first, demanding attention by clinking aspoon against a glass.He proceeded to pluck a flower out of the air andpresented it to the hostess.He did it again just to show he could. 160  WELL-EQUIPPED FEMALE WITH BRAINSAfter that toast, a cluster of girls in their white Lucia costumesentered the room and sang to the Laureates.The students performed askit in Swedish (with English synopsis provided), which included thesqueal of a transistor oscillator, a calculating machine and atomicenergy, all in a medieval setting.The Laureates were presented with offi-cial scrolls from the society and finally, exhausted at midnight, left fortheir hotels.123Nobel Week finally was over.The Shockleys went to Gteborg for a day so Bill could give a lecture.May, still on crutches, caught a serious cold bordering on pneumonia,probably because few of the buildings in Gteborg were well heated.They flew to Germany where Shockley had other lectures to give, drop-ping May off in Wiesbaden with one of Lou Vee s children.The Shockleys returned to California before Christmas.Shockley was now a Nobel Laureate and as famous as a physicistcould be.He had achieved the pinnacle of a scientific career, and if therewere people out there who did not like him, or thought his award unde-served, he had the Nobel Prize and they likely didn t.No matter what aNobel Laureate did for the rest of his or her life, the title remained.BillShockley was probably as happy then as he ever would be again in hislife.In classic Greek tragedy, the stages of the hero s life are three: moira,named after one of the Fates who controls our destiny; hubris, the pridethat precedes the fall; and nemesis, for the god of retribution, whodemands payment for hubris.For Bill Shockley, nemesis came with quick, wrathful strides and ven-omous fangs. PART IIINemesis: SiliconValley and obsession This page intentionally left blank CHAPTER 9 Really peculiar ideasabout how to motivatepeopleJim Gibbons walked into Shockley s office, sat across from him and wasready when Shockley pulled out a stopwatch. You have 127 players in a singles tennis elimination match, Shockleysaid. Obviously, you ve got 63 matches and only 126 players can be inthe first round so there s a bye.You can put that next guy in so you have64 people in the next round and you have 64 matches.How manymatches does it take to determine a winner?Click.It was August 1957.Jim Gibbons, a young physicist, like every othernew employee had to take a little intelligence test.Shockley knew per-fectly well that Gibbons had a PhD from Stanford, worked at Bell Labsand won a Fulbright scholarship to Cambridge University  a good signhe had something between his ears besides lint.But everyone coming towork for Shockley Semiconductor Co., had to take a battery of tests,either with Shockley in Mountain View or with a New York testingagency.Shockley had great faith in this kind of testing, feeling increas-ingly that things like intelligence and creativity can be quantified.Hehad begun exploring their uses while still at Bell Labs and became a firmbeliever.That the tests had no real scientific basis never seemed tobother him.Gibbons thought only a few seconds and said,  Well, it must be 126.Click.Shockley looked down at his stopwatch, his face reddening. What? Well, it must be 126. How did you do that? Shockley asked, his agitation growing.163 164  REALLY PECULIAR IDEAS. There s only one winner and that means 126 people have to be elimi-nated.It takes a match to eliminate somebody, so there must be 126matches, said Gibbons assuredly.Shockley pounded the table in fury. That s how I d do it! Have you heard this problem before? hedemanded. No sir, said the young scientist, confounded at Shockley s reaction.The Nobel Laureate was coming unhinged.Shockley gave him another problem, again clicking the stopwatchinto action.Gibbons thought about this one but could not figure out aquick answer.As time elapsed and he said nothing, Shockley s facereturned to its normal color and he sat back. You could feel the tensionstart relaxing, Gibbons remembered later. That s enough, Jim.You re now at twice the average time for the labto solve this problem.Let me tell you how you do it, Shockley said, hisequilibrium restored.Gibbons had missed the key. It was really tough for him, the fact I got the first one, Gibbons says. He d set the damned thing up so you d say 63 + 32 + 19  you just don tsit there and say  126. The possibility that this young man  Gibbons was in his early 20s could compete clearly upset him.Gibbons only redeemed himself by fail-ing the second test.The thought that Gibbons might have been as smartas he was ( Not even remotely close to being true, Gibbons said),seemed to frighten him. If I d seen the next trick, the guy would havebeen apoplectic, Gibbons remembered.Gibbons did well enough with the rest of the test and walked out ofShockley s office to the laughter of the other researchers in the building,all of whom had faced the same test.1The rise and fall of Bill Shockley s company took less than a year-and-a-half [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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