The work of Robert (Bob) Noyce (1927 – 1990), co-inventor of the microchip and co-founder of Intel, provided fuel for the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name.
Bob Noyce grew up in Grinnell, Iowa. Bob was known as a smart, fun-loving innovator and prankster in town and later as a student at Grinnell College. As a boy, he built many things: airplanes, ships, and even a glider that he and his brother launched themselves in from a barn roof. When that didn’t work to get them airborne for more than a few seconds, they convinced a neighbor to tie the glider to his car and pull them down a main street in Grinnell. Bob was airborne for about 12 feet. Bob had fun in school too. He enjoyed physics, mathematics, music, swimming, and acting. He graduated from Grinnell College in 1949 and received his PhD in Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953.
While Bob was at Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation in Mountain View, California, and Jack Kirby from Great Bend, Kansas, was at Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas, independently, they both invented the microchip. Microchips, also known as integrated circuits, make computing power possible in many forms and many places. We use microchips many times, many ways everyday. If you like changing the channel on the TV, microwaving food, playing with electronic toys, using your cell phone or computer, you are using a microchip. After a ten year legal battle, both Bob and Jack received their own patents and made money from their invention of the microchip.
Bob co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957, the first successful silicon company. He left Fairchild Semiconductor in 1968 to found Intel with Gordon Moore. He oversaw the invention of Intel’s first microprocessor. In 1983, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame.
After his death, the Noyce family established The Noyce Foundation in 1990 to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Robert Noyce. The mission of the Noyce Foundation was to help young people become curious, thoughtful, and engaged learners. The Foundation focused on improving the teaching of math and science, developing leadership to improve student achievement, and creating informal learning opportunities for students to experience hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Optimism is an essential ingredient of innovation. How else can the individual welcome change over security, adventure over staying in safe places? – Robert Noyce
Don't be encumbered by history. Go off and do something wonderful. – Robert Noyce
May you find the rest and relaxation you need in the Noyce Room to go do something wonderful.