William H. Doherty

William H. Doherty
Death date
Associated organizations
Bell Labs
Fields of study
Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award


William H. Doherty was an American electrical engineer, known for his invention of the Doherty Amplifier.

Doherty was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on August 21, 1907. He attended Harvard University, where he received his bachelor's degree in communication engineering (1927) and his master's degree in engineering (1928). Doherty then joined the American Telegraph and Telephone Company Long Lines Department in Boston. He remained there for a few months before joining the National Bureau of Standards, where he researched radio phenomena. Doherty joined Bell Labs in 1929. While there he worked to develop high power radio transmitters, which were used for transoceanic radio telephones and broadcasting.

Doherty invented his Amplifier in 1936. This device greatly improved the efficiency of RF power amplifiers, and was first used in a 500-kilowatt transmitter that the Western Electric Company designed for WHAS, a radio station in Louisville, Kentucky. Western Electric incorporated Doherty amplifiers into 35 commercial radio stations worldwide by 1940.

The IRE recognized Doherty's important contribution to the development of more efficient radio-frequency power amplifiers with the 1937 Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award. Doherty died on February 15, 2000.