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  1. Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley
  2. Iowa, Pigs, Microchips, and Founding Silicon Valley
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Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley

It was Before the Internet and the World Wide Web and cell phones and personal digital assistants and laptop computers and desktop computers and pocket calculators and digital watches and pacemakers and ATMs and cruise control and digital cameras and motion detectors and video games— before all these, and the electronic heart of all these, is a tiny device called an integrated circuit. The inventor of the first practical integrated circuit, in , was Robert Noyce.

It was one of 17 patents awarded to him. In , Noyce and his Fairchild co-founder Gordon Moore launched their own new venture, a tiny memory company they called Intel. An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.

Iowa, Pigs, Microchips, and Founding Silicon Valley

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Synopsis Hailed as the Thomas EdisonandHenry Ford of Silicon Valley, Robert Noyce was a brilliant inventor, a leading entrepreneur, and a daring risk taker who piloted his own jets and skied mountains accessible only by helicopter. Lukes; Gary Y. Okihiro; Norman Y. Such circuits are remarkably reliable and can be made cheaply by the million.

In his lifetime, however, Noyce was the recipient of many honours. But he was an unwilling and often ineffective top executive. The same self indulgence which kept him smoking prevented him from facing unpleasant facts and situations and certainly compounded the problems of the companies he helped to start and run.

Fortunately, at Intel at any rate, hard-nosed operators such as Gordon Moore and Andy Grove were there to ensured the company ran on sound business principles. It also paints a revealing picture of US business culture in the midth century. After college, Noyce worked for the electronics company Philco in Philadelphia.


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It was a time when male dominance and sexist attitudes went more or less unquestioned. Wives were kept in the background while their husbands spent long hours at the factory or on the road. Several of the women working at Philco were, fortuitously for Noyce, also named Betty. Hewlett-Packard was, in , the first electronics company to set up in the Valley.

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When Noyce, Mr Moore and six colleagues left Shockley to establish Fairchild Semiconductor in Silicon Valley in , support services were still basic. And Noyce worked out how to make integrated circuits, using a technology developed by a co-founder, Jean Hoerni. Noyce was a visionary who understood how microprocessors would change society.

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Robert Noyce And The Invention Of Silicon Valley

He was a risk taker who swam and skied, led a madrigal group, owned a fleet of boats and learned to fly both propeller driven and jet aircraft. His private life was often a mess, and his wife - they were divorced in and he remarried almost immediately - and children suffered from his frequent absences and affairs.

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