Inventor Robert N. Noyce
Born Dec 12 1927 – Died Jun 3 1990
Invention: Semiconductor Device-and-Lead Structure Integrated Circuit
Patent Number 2,981,877
Inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame™ in 1983
Often referred to as the Mayor of Silicone Valley, Robert Norton Noyce developed the integrated circuit chip, or the microchip, that makes personal computers and other everyday technologies that we take for granted possible.
Noyce not only left a legacy through his inventions, but also through mentoring fellow Silicone Valley entrepreneurs among the ranks of Steve Jobs.
This past week on the anniversary of his birthday, Google honored Noyce, making their Google doodle resemble an integrated circuit.
Noyce was truly a visionary, revolutionizing the world of electronics; today, integrated circuits are used in almost all electrical equipment.
The invention was a major improvement over the manual assembly of electric circuits, and mass production made electronic devices cheaper and more common.
Now the integrated circuit is broken into many more categories based on what the chip does. For example, the microprocessor is an integrated circuit that processes all the information in a computer.
One of the most mind-boggling characteristics of these microchips is the evolution of the integrated circuit has continued in respect to the size; the most advanced circuits contain several hundreds of millions of circuit components on an area no larger than a fingernail!
“Bob Noyce took me under his wing. I was young, in my twenties. He was in his early fifties. He tried to give me the lay of the land, give me a perspective that I could only partially understand.” The late Jobs continued, “You can’t really understand what is going on now unless you understand what came before.”
An Iowa native, he received degrees in Physics and Mathematics from Grinnell College (Iowa) in 1949 and a Ph.D. in physical electronics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953. He studied the first transistors, developed at Bell Laboratories, in a Grinnell College classroom.
As research director of Fairchild Semiconductor, he was behind initial development of the firm’s silicon mesa and planar transistor product lines.
In 1957 Noyce co-founded the Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation in Mountain View, California where he also served as research director until early 1959 when he became vice president and general manager.
In July 1968 he co-founded Intel Corp. another co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and a member of the Shockley laboratory staff. Noyce served as president of Intel until 1975 and chairman of the board from 1975 to 1979.
Noyce held 16 patents for semiconductor devices, methods, and structures.
After suffering a heart attack in his home, Noyce died on June 3, 1990.
Posted with the permission of the National Inventors Hall of Fame™