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Oral-History:Adolf Goetzberger

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About Adolf Goetzberger

Adolf Goetzberger is an applied physicist who has specialized primarily in semiconductors and solar energy. He studied physics at the University of Munich, working with Prof. Gerlach. He worked for Siemens from 1959 to 1962, at the Shockley Laboratory from 1962 to 1968, and at Bell Labs from 1968 to 1973. He was director of The Institute for Electrical Materials (The Institute for Applied Solid State Physics) from 1973 to 1980, and director of Institute for Solar Energy Systems from 1980 to 1994. He is currently retired.


The first part of the interview begins with Goetzberger's early years and education in Munich, and his experiences working with germanium transistors at Siemens in the late 1950s, but concentrates on his work as a scientist in California. Goetzberger describes his work on silicon semiconductors at Shockley’s laboratory, particularly in the research of P-N junctions and the development of the gettering stop, and his work on MOS at Bell Labs He emphasizes the importance to his career of Shockley, as employer, inspirer, theoretician, and collaborator, primarily at Shockley’s laboratory but also at Bell Labs. The second part of the interview focuses on Goetzberger’s career as a scientific administrator in Germany, and details his support of pioneering advances in liquid crystal display technology as director of the IEM/IASSP, and his work on photovoltaics and solar energy as director of the ISES. He mentions his association with and organizational work for the IEEE, as well as for the International Solar Energy Society. He discusses books and persons he has found to be particularly influential. The interview concludes with a discussion of various projects he is undertaking in his retirement.

About the Interview

ADOLF GOETZBERGER:An Interview Conducted by Frederik Nebeker for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, 5 September 1994


Interview #229 for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.


Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, Rutgers - the State University, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.


It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
Adolf Goetzberger, an oral history conducted in 1994 by Frederick Nebeker, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.