Engineering Quad dedicated to Bardeen

Online Poster

Online Poster

By Jessica Schuh

The quad behind Engineering Hall was officially dedicated and named the John Bardeen Quadrangle Thursday morning on the patio behind Engineering Hall. More than 100 people attended the dedication ceremony in honor of the late John Bardeen, a former professor of electrical engineering and physics at the University.

The area includes the observation deck and garden behind Engineering Hall, as well as the grassy area and walkways between Boneyard Creek and Grainger Library. The improvements to the quadrangle were funded by the Grainger Foundation as a memorial to Bardeen.

Bardeen was the only person to win two Nobel prizes in physics. His Nobel prizes, which he shared with fellow researchers, were for the invention of the transistor in 1956 and for the theory of superconductivity in 1972.

“He won two Nobel prizes, and he’s basically the name most synonymous with engineering at Illinois,” said Emily Flatt, associate director of development for the college of engineering.

Bardeen was also a leader in encouraging cross-disciplinary research at the University, she said.

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    David Daniel, dean of the college of engineering, opened the ceremony, which included remarks by Trustee Marjorie Sodemann; University President James Stukel; Professor Nick Holonyak, Jr.; Interim Chancellor Richard Herman and University of Illinois Foundation President Sidney Micek.

    Daniel remarked on Bardeen’s work and legacies at the University, noting that the world’s fastest transistor still exists in Urbana.

    One the best features of the area is the gathering place it provides for students, Daniel said.

    The University trustees approved the development of the Bardeen Quadrangle and memorial in 1999, Sodemann said.

    “I believe students, faculty and all who encounter this quad will be impressed by the beauty,” she said.

    Holonyak, professor of engineering and John Bardeen endowed chair in electrical and computer engineering and physics, was Bardeen’s first graduate student at the University.

    “I first met John Bardeen in class in the fall of 1957,” Holonyak said.

    After the class, Bardeen showed Holonyak and some other students the work he was doing on the transistor in Everitt Lab, he said. Holonyak was working on other research but asked to begin working with Bardeen.

    All of the graduate students who worked with Bardeen were aware that he was a great talent, Holonyak said.

    “How better to learn than to watch Bardeen?” he asked.

    Holonyak emphasized the importance of the transistor to everyday life because it is involved in nearly everything, he said.

    “John, I can only tell good stories about because I don’t know any other kind of stories about John,” Holonyak said.

    Holonyak and Daniel ended the ceremony by unveiling a bronze plaque dedicating the Bardeen Quadrangle that will be placed at the entrance to the garden behind Engineering Hall.

    In his speech, Stukel said the University is proud of Bardeen and his family. About 15 of Bardeen’s family members attended the ceremony.

    “John Bardeen was honest and unassuming in his demeanor, but I think he would be pleased if he were here today,” Stukel said.