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Willard S. Boyle

AKA Willard Sterling Boyle

Born: 19-Aug-1924
Birthplace: Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada
Died: 7-May-2011
Cause of death: Natural Causes

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist, Inventor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Digital photography

Military service: Royal Canadian Navy (fighter pilot, 1943-45)

Canadian-American physicist Willard S. Boyle invented the charge-coupled device (CCD) sensor in 1970, working with George E. Smith at Bell Labs in New Jersey. The CCD is an imaging semiconductor circuit which almost instantly transforms light into digitized image points, or pixels, and descendants of Boyle and Smith's device power digital cameras and camcorders, as well as advanced medical equipment and high-tech applications including the Mars probe and Hubble space telescope.

Boyle was co-inventor of the semiconductor injection laser (the basis for later development of compact disc players and recorders) and the continuously pumped ruby laser (used in tattoo removal). He also researched infrared spectroscopy, low-temperature magnetothermal oscillations, and the properties of bismuth. Thirty years after his retirement from Bell Labs, Boyle won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009, sharing the highest honor in science with Smith, and with Charles K. Kao, who pioneered fiber optics.

Father: Ernest Boyle (physician)
Mother: Beatrice (nurse)
Wife: Betty (art gallery owner, two daughters, two sons, until his death)
Daughter: Cynthia
Son: David
Daughter: Pamela
Son: Robert Boyle (geologist, b. 1947, d. 2009)

    High School: Lower Canada College, Montreal, Canada (1941)
    University: BS, McGill University (1947)
    University: MS, McGill University (1948)
    University: PhD, McGill University (1950)
    Scholar: Radiation Laboratory, McGill University (1950-51)
    Teacher: Physics, Royal Military College of Canada (1951-53)

    Bell Laboratories Research & Development (1953-62)
    Bell Laboratories Director of Space Science and Exploratory Studies (1962-64)
    Bell Laboratories Director of Communication Science Division (1964-75)
    Bell Laboratories Executive Director of Research (1975-79)
    American Physical Society
    Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
    IEEE
    National Academy of Engineering
    Society for Imaging Science and Technology
    Franklin Institute Stuart Ballantine Medal 1973 (with George E. Smith)
    Charles Stark Draper Prize 2006 (with George E. Smith)
    Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award 1974 (with George E. Smith)
    Photographic Society of America Progress Medal 1986 (with George E. Smith)
    Computer and Communications Prize 1999 (with George E. Smith)
    National Inventors Hall of Fame 2006
    Nobel Prize for Physics 2009 (with Charles K. Kao and George E. Smith)
    Naturalized US Citizen
    Canadian Ancestry


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