The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

The Men Who Made the Microchip

Two books spell out Silicon Valley’s origins

5 min read
photos of Noyce and Lécuyer books
Photo: Randi Silberman Klett

photos of Noyce and L\u00e9cuyer booksThe Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley; By Leslie Berlin; Oxford University Press, New York City; 2005, 440 pp., US $30; ISBN 0-19-516343-5 Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930–1970; By Christophe Lécuyer; The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.; 2005, 424 pp., $40; ISBN 0-262-12281-2Photo: Randi Silberman

In mid-April 1956, a young Robert Noyce sped cross-country in his car to join his new colleagues at Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Mountain View, Calif. He arrived just in time for a raucous party celebrating the company’s launch, downed a pitcher of martinis, and promptly passed out.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

Keep Reading ↓Show less