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George E. Smith

This article is about American physicist. For American politician, see George E. Smith (politician). For American baseballer, see George Smith (Negro League player).
For other people named George Smith, see George Smith (disambiguation).
George E. Smith
File:Nobel Prize 2009-Press Conference KVA-27.jpg
Born (1930-05-10) May 10, 1930 (age 85)
White Plains, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Fields Applied physics
Institutions Bell Labs
Alma mater University of Chicago (PhD 1959)
University of Pennsylvania (BSc 1955)
Doctoral advisor Template:If empty
Known for Charge-coupled device
Notable awards IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award (1974)
Draper Prize (2006)
Nobel Prize in Physics (2009)

George Elwood Smith (born May 10, 1930) is an American scientist, applied physicist, and co-inventor of the charge-coupled device (CCD). He was awarded a one-quarter share in the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics for "the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit—the CCD sensor, which has become an electronic eye in almost all areas of photography".[1]


Smith was born in White Plains, New York. Smith served in the US Navy, attained his BSc at the University of Pennsylvania in 1955 and his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1959 with a dissertation of only eight pages.[2] He worked at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey from 1959 to his retirement in 1986, where he led research into novel lasers and semiconductor devices. During his tenure, Smith was awarded dozens of patents and eventually headed the VLSI device department.[3]

In 1969, Smith and Willard Boyle invented the Charge-Coupled Device (CCD),[4] for which they have jointly received the Franklin Institute's Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1973, the 1974 IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award, the 2006 Charles Stark Draper Prize, and the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Both Boyle and Smith were avid sailors who took many trips together. After retirement Smith sailed around the world with his life partner, Janet, for seventeen years, eventually giving up his hobby in 2003 to "spare his 'creaky bones' from further storms."[3] He currently resides in the Waretown section of Ocean Township, Ocean County, New Jersey.[5]


  1. ^ The Nobel Prize in Physics 2009, Nobel Foundation, 2009-10-06, retrieved 2009-10-06 .
  2. ^ THE ANOMALOUS SKIN EFFECT IN BISMUTH, University of Chicago, 1959-12-06, retrieved 2013-06-18 
  3. ^ a b PROFILE: George Smith - Nobel winner and world sailor, EarthTimes, 2009-10-06, retrieved 2009-10-06 .
  4. ^ Smith, George E. (2009). Karl Grandin, ed. Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Prizes 2009. Stockholm: The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Staff. "NJ man's discovery lands Nobel Prize", WPVI-TV, October 6, 2009. Accessed November 27, 2013. "George E. Smith, 79, holds a display with a photograph of the first video telephone and some early CCD chips at his home in Waretown, N.J., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009, after it was announced that he had won the Nobel Prize in physics."

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