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Shockley Semiconductor Reunion at CHM + Brief History of Shockley, Fairchild Semiconductor & Intel

A handful of former Shockley Semiconductor Labs employees recently got together at the Computer History Museum in Mt View, CA to tour a semiconductor exhibit on silicon.  


1. Here's the reunion story from today's San Jose Mercury:


2. Oral history is at:  http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/accession/102658033

3. And how Shockley Labs gave birth to the semiconductor industry in Santa Clara Valley (now called Silicon Valley):


Key Dates in Shockley History

  • 1947: Working at Bell Labs with fellow physicists John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, William Shockley was among those who invented the transistor, a device destined to change the world.
  • 1956: Shockley and Arnold Beckman open Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in a rented building at 391 San Antonio Road in Mountain View. Shockley hires top engineers including Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, who eventually would go on to found Intel.
  • 1956: Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain are awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of the transistor.
  • 1957: Noyce, Moore and six others dubbed "The Traitorous Eight" quit Shockley en masse, frustrated with the boss's poor management style and his reluctance to explore different ways to put his semiconductor breakthroughs to work. The eight start Fairchild Semiconductor, which ultimately pioneered mass production of the integrated circuit and launched the chip industry in Silicon Valley.
  • 1960 Beckman sells Shockley Semiconductor to Clevite. Shockley stays on for a time, before taking a faculty position at Stanford University.
  • 1968: Noyce, Moore and Andy Grove start Intel, now the largest chipmaker in the world.
  • 1989: Shockley dies at age 79.

Author's Note:  Later in his life, Shockley began espousing racial eugenics and nature of intelligence.  He thought this work was important to the genetic future of the human species, and came to describe it as the most important work of his career, even though expressing such politically unpopular views risked damaging his reputation.

 In 1971, this author heard Shockley speak on that subject at an IEEE meeting which was boycotted by many protesters.  Shockley argued that the higher rate of reproduction among the less intelligent was having an adverse effect, and that a drop in average intelligence would ultimately lead to a decline in civilization.  Shockley advocated that the scientific community should seriously investigate questions of heredity, intelligence, and demographic trends, and suggest policy changes if he was proven to be correct.  The most controversial thing he proposed was that individuals with IQs below 100 be paid to undergo voluntary sterilization


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