As the basic building block of digital electronics, the integrated circuit -- the "chip" -- has profoundly transformed societies across the globe. Reflecting this impact, Isaac Asimov once described the innovation of the integrated circuit as “the most important moment since man emerged as a life form.”
The late 1950s and early 1960s was an extraordinary period of development in semiconductor electronics. Military interest in, and the semiconductor industry’s pursuit of diverse approaches to microcircuitry took off in the second half of the 1950s. 1959 saw a burst of intellectual activity across the industry as Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments, along with Jean Hoerni and Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor, and others, filed patent applications that held keys to the development of the modern integrated circuit. Jay Last’s team at Fairchild, which would create the first planar integrated circuits, also began their efforts in 1959.
The Computer History Museum is partnering with the Chemical Heritage Foundation and the IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section to celebrate the 50th anniversary of these transformative developments.
Major funding for Salute to the Semiconductor is generously provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Intel Corporation. Additional funding for the IC@50 events is provided by the National Semiconductor Foundation, a charitable fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
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