Warren Palmer Waters, Physicist and Electrical Engineer, was born September 8th, 1922 in Sanger, California, and passed away on July 17th, 2000 in La Jolla, California. He was the oldest of five children including Donald, Beverly, Jodie and Theodore. His father was Carl Holmes Waters, an electrical engineer, who designed the lighting system for the Golden Gate Bridge, and managed the San Francisco Bay Bridges in Oakland, California. His mother was Ida Ailene Peck, who was a homemaker and operated a cold storage packing plant near Sanger, California. However, after his mother remarried, he was raised alone by his grandmother Emma Peck, who was an organist and worked for the Fresno County Assessor’s Office. Warren P. Waters was an early pioneer in semiconductors. He made outstanding contributions to science in the fields of telecommunications satellites, microwave, and computer technologies. He received his Bachelors degree in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1949, and his Masters in Physics at the University of Southern California in 1954. He had completed all coursework towards a Ph.D. in Physics at USC. Warren Waters worked for Hughes Aircraft Corporation, Texas Instruments, Rockwell International, and Western Digital. He designed numerous patented inventions in the field of semiconductors, and was the author of many articles. He received the Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award, and a Senior Life Member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers. He was also a member of the Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion.
During his World War II service, 1942-1946, Warren Waters volunteered for the US Air Force, and trained to become a pilot, but they ran out of planes. So, he was later deployed to the north of France in the US Army to fight the Nazis as a machine gunman. While trying to take out an anti-aircraft Flak gun in a Nazi bunker, Warren Waters was wounded in action, losing his left leg in April of 1945. He received both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart among other medals.
After the war, he went to the California Institute of Technology to work on his Bachelors in Applied Physics. As part of his graduate work, he got a job during the summers of 1947 and 1948, and the year 1949-50, at the Los Alamos lab in New Mexico with some of the top nuclear scientists in the Nation. This was the same facility where the Manhattan project, which produced the first Atom bombs had been successfully completed. Warren Waters then went to work for Hughes Aircraft Corporation in California, and continued graduate work at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He married Lois Lockwood in 1951 in Pasadena, California. They were happily married for 49 years and had three daughters Andrea, Carolyn and Elizabeth. He had finished most of his Doctorate in Physics at USC by 1956, except for his dissertation. However, in those days, USC required candidates to quit their job for three years in order to write the dissertation. With a young family, and children on the way, he could not do this. His favorite hobby was photography. Warren Waters was a loving husband and father, a gentleman, a scientific genius, and a great humanitarian scholar.
Warren Waters worked for the Semiconductor Division of Hughes Aircraft Company as the Manager of their Device Development Department from 1952 to 1962. While he was there, some of the projects that he worked on included: high “Q” tunable solid-state inductance; gold-bonded Si (silicon) switching diodes; Au (Gold) and Ag-bonded (silver) Ge (germanium) and Si (silicon) mesa High “Q” varactor diodes; post-alloy diffused Ge (germanium) and GaAs (gallium arsenide alloy) transistors; Si P-N junction particle detectors; PNP silicon alloy transistor development (patents issued); early development of Ge NPN alloy transistors; and Co-axial transistor package (patent issued).
From June of 1962 to January of 1966, Warren Waters worked at the Semiconductor-Components Division of Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas. He was their Manager of Exploratory Development in the Semiconductor Research and Development Laboratory. His responsibilities included: the development of a high resolution photo-resist and diffusion techniques for the fabrication of 2.5 GHz, 2W transistors; the Si and GaAs planar Schottky barrier diodes for microwave mixers and varactors; low noise planar Ge transistors for operation up to and including 3 Ghz; and vapor deposition of Si02 and A1203 layers for diffusion masking and junction “passivation”.
From 1966 to 1976 Warren Waters returned to work at Hughes Aircraft Company in their Solid State Research Center in Newport Beach, California. He was promoted as their Manager of the Solid State Research Center. During this time he worked on Microwave Devices such as the Au bonded Si Schottky barrier low noise mixer diodes for the Surveyor Project. He also developed Advanced Devices such as the Silicon on sapphire MOS and bipolar transistors. He also developed a photon coupler for the GaAS-Si diode. Warren Waters developed Microelectronic Technology such as the Bump Flip Chip Monolithic Circuits. He did a study of the radiation effects on micro-circuit and silicon power transistor fabrication, and pilot production of low 1/f noise MOSFET transistors.
Warren Waters started to work for Rockwell International in 1980 in Newport Beach, California. He was later moved to the Anaheim, California plant. During this time he worked on perfecting operations with the silicon wafer doping, and evaluating the gate oxidation levels. It was his job to evaluate the efficiency of the production of the wafers, and make changes to achieve maximum yields. He also invented the patentable and practical high resolution CTD ROM with a discretionary final A1 top layer to define the memory pattern. No CTD ROM structure had been found in the literature before that. It was his responsibility to develop a very high resolution charge sensor array.
After retiring from Rockwell International in the late 1980’s, Warren Waters went to work for Western Digital in Irvine, California. He worked on purifying the silicon disk so that it had greater yields. He also worked on a one megabyte hard drive, but other scientists had to finish this project after he retired for the second time in the 1990’s.
Warren P. Waters was a very modest man. He never sought fame or fortune as a scientist. His passion was inventing, and he composed symphonies in semi-conductors.
The last project that Warren Waters worked on before retiring from Western Digital was the one megabyte hard drive computer chip in the late 1980’s. Unfortunately, he was never able to perfect this technology, so it was left to other scientists to finish this project. Now we have computers with terabyte hard drives, so one megabyte may seem insignificant. However, it was the research of Warren Waters that laid the groundwork for much greater computer chip memory and capacity. He was already retired from Rockwell International when he went back to work at Western Digital, so he could keep on inventing into his seventies. He loved to invent, and he would have gone right on working if he didn’t have to retire again from Western Digital in the 1990’s. His career as a solid state engineer spanned five decades during the most important early years of the Information and Computer Age.
Warren P. Waters passed away on July 17th 2000 at Scripts Hospital in La Jolla, California. He had a bad reaction to the drug Warfrin, which was followed by a heart attack. Unfortunately, the hospital did not treat him immediately, and his one remaining kidney was damaged during a sixteen hour wait for surgery, and the drugs they gave him. He survived the heart attack and surgery, but decided that he did not want to spend the rest of his life on dialysis. So he passed away from kidney failure instead a few weeks later. Warren Waters will be remembered for the enormous pioneering contributions that he made to the field of solid state engineering. He will also be remembered for the scientific advancements that he made in telecommunication satellites and the space race.