Press Release

Fiftieth Anniversary of the Company that put the Silicon in Silicon Valley

Mountain View, California  |  February 06, 2006

The legacy of the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory and the origins of the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley will be explored in a panel discussion at the Computer History Museum on February 27. "The Rise of Silicon Valley: From Shockley Labs to Fairchild Semiconductor," is presented jointly by the Computer History Museum and SEMI.

Panelists include Jim Gibbons, Jay Last, Hans Queisser, and Harry Sello, scientists who worked at Shockley in the late 1950s and early 1960s and went on to play leading roles in the semiconductor industry. The panel moderator is science historian Michael Riordan, adjunct professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz and co-author of the book Crystal Fire: The Birth of the Information Age.

The Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory was officially announced on February 13, 1956, by Arnold O. Beckman, founder and CEO of Beckman Instruments, and William Shockley, Nobel Prize winner and co-inventor of the transistor. The venture was established in a former fruit packing shed at 391 San Antonio Road, Mountain View as a research division of Beckman Instruments of Fullerton, California.

In September 1957, a group of eight Shockley employees, led by Robert Noyce and later referred to as the "traitorous eight," resigned to form Fairchild Semiconductor. Over the subsequent decades Fairchild spawned scores of spin-offs that helped create the semiconductor and high-tech industry in Silicon Valley.

The February 27 event is sponsored by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and Cypress Semiconductor Corporation.

Pre-registration is required. Entry is free for members of the Computer History Museum; non-members are asked for a $10 donation to the museum. A member reception begins at 6:00 p.m., with the discussion starting at 7:00 p.m. To register, visit the CHM website at

The evening presentation is part of the museum's "Computer History Museum Presents" Speaker Series, an exclusive platform for open, passionate discussions for presenting the computing revolution and its impact on the human experience. These landmark presentations and panel discussions present inside stories and personal insights of top information age leaders from industry, government and academia, and assist the museum in bringing computing history to life.

About the Computer History Museum

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, a public benefit organization, preserves and presents for posterity the artifacts and stories of the information age. Dedicated to exploring the social impact of computing, the museum is home to the world's largest collection of computing-related items, spanning from pre-computing objects, to semiconductors, hardware, software, computer graphics systems, games, networking, robots, the Internet, and beyond. Its growing collection also includes photos, films, videos, manuals, documents, publications, and marketing materials.

Currently in its first phase, the Museum brings computing history to life through its popular speaker series, seminars, oral histories, workshops and Web-based educational resources for students, scholars and the general public. The Museum also offers self-guided and docent-led tours of Visible Storage, where nearly 600 objects from the collection are on display, including such rare objects as the Cray-1 supercomputer, the Apple I, the WWII ENIGMA, the PalmPilot prototype, and the 1969 Honeywell "Kitchen Computer." A new exhibit, "Mastering The Game: A History of Computer Chess," opened in September 2005, providing an exciting, interactive look at 50 years of innovation and work in computing. Please check the Web site for open hours.

Future phases will feature full museum exhibits including a timeline of computing history, theme galleries, extensive Web-based exhibits and collection-related information, expanded education programs, a research center, and much more. For more information, please visit or call 650.810.1010.

About SEMI

SEMI is a global industry association serving companies that provide equipment, materials and services used to manufacture semiconductors, displays, nano-scaled structures, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and related technologies. SEMI maintains offices in Austin, Beijing, Brussels, Hsinchu, Moscow, San Jose (Calif.), Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

Press Contacts:

Computer History Museum:

PR Team
(650) 810-1059

Scott Smith


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