Gerald L. Pearson
Born March 31, 1905 - Died October 25, 1987
Silicon Solar Cell
Patent #: 2,780,765
Gerald Pearson's fundamental research in semiconductor materials led to his invention, with Daryl Chapin and Calvin Fuller, of the silicon solar cell - the first practical device that converted solar energy into electrical power.
Pearson was born in Salem, Oregon. He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics from Willamette University, and a master's degree in physics from Stanford University. He began his career in 1927 as a research physicist with Bell Labs. His early work there on temperature-sensitive resistors led to thirteen patents and had an important impact on the telecommunications industry.
After retiring from Bell Labs, Pearson returned to Stanford, where he set up one of the first university programs in compound semiconductor research. He actively continued his work until the age of 78.