Who was Robert Noyce?
Robert Noyce, nicknamed the “Mayor of Silicon Valley," was born in 1927. He was the co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and the Intel Corporation. Mr. Noyce is credited with inventing the integrated circuit (microchip) which fueled the personal computer revolution and gave the region its name.
Noyce was born in Grinnell, Iowa, and attended Grinnell College where he was a Physics and Mathematics major. After graduating in 1949, he pursued a doctorate in physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, obtaining his degree in 1953. As an undergraduate, he fell in love with transistors and by the time he went to MIT, he knew more about them than his professors. He worked at Philco as a research engineer before taking a job with Shockley Semiconductor. In 1957, he left Shockley Semiconductor to co-found the renowned Fairchild Semiconductor corporation. In 1968, he left Fairchild to co-found the Intel Corporation.
In one of his final interviews before his death in 1990, Mr. Noyce stated that if he were to be emperor of the world, among other things, he would “make sure we are preparing our next generation to flourish in a high-tech age. And that means education of the lowest and the poorest, as well as at the graduate school level”.
In keeping with this statement, his family created the Robert Noyce Foundation to honor his legacy. The foundation focuses on supporting work in research and policy and improving instruction in math, science, and early literacy in public schools.