Google Doodle Honors Silicon Valley Founder
A Google Doodle honors what would have been the 84th birthday of Robert Noyce, maker of the integrated circuit and Intel cofounder.
Whether you're the owner of an iPad "Jesus" tablet or simply hit the snooze button on a clock radio every morning, you owe a rather large debt of gratitude to Robert Noyce. The American innovator helped create the integrated circuits at the heart of every modern electronic device by embedding transistor switches inside solid blocks of silicon the material that gives Silicon Valley its name.
Noyce came up with the integrated circuit after cofounding his first company, Fairchild Semiconductor, in Mountain View, Calif., more than 40 years before Google came into existence. Fittingly, Google is paying tribute on what would have been Noyce's 84th birthday, today (Dec. 12), by featuring an electronic chip Google Doodle on its homepage.
The accomplishments didn't stop with the integrated circuit. Noyce went on to cofound Intel, where engineers developed a microchip capable of storing binary computer language ones and zeroes as well as the first random-access computer-memory (RAM) chip. That led to the microprocessor the small programmable device that enabled computers to become a part of everything from household appliances to cars.
Intel's pioneering role in creating the markets for semiconductor memory and microchips allowed it to establish "almost 100-percent market share" early on, Noyce said in a recorded Intel interview. Its microprocessors still make up about 80 percent of the world's microprocessor market.
"Innovation is everything," Noyce said. "When you're on the forefront, you can see what the next innovation needs to be."
The Silicon Valley pioneer also pointed to "optimism" as a key ingredient of the innovative spirit, so that individuals can "welcome change over security, adventure over staying in safe places."
But Noyce didn't just push for results. His philosophy made him "an innovative manager with an easygoing style that encouraged creative solutions to problems," according to his Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) biography. He also once stated that companies could best influence society by creating a work environment in which people can "feel a personal sense of accomplishment."
Noyce died of a heart attack June 3, 1990, at the age of 62. By then, he had changed the world several times over.