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April 20, 2009

Ceremony: The IC at 50 Years (IEEE Milestone): Commemorative Plaque Unveiling

by @ 4:04 pm. Filed under ALL, Communications, Computers/Software, Electronics Design, NanoEngineering, Optics/Displays, Semiconductors

FRIDAY May 8, 2009
IEEE and the SCV Section, Computer History Museum, Chemistry Heritage Foundation
Speakers: Brian Halla, Gordon Moore, Jay Last, Lew Terman, Michael Riordan
Time: Park/Walk at 3:30 PM; Ceremony from 4:00 – 5:00 PM
Cost: none
Place: Free Parking is provided by courtesy of Kehillah Jewish High School, 3900 Fabian Way, Palo Alto; ceremony at Original Fairchild site, 844 E. Charleston Road, Palo Alto
RSVP: not required, but please access the parking information and full details
Web: (3.5 MB)

Isaac Asimov, the great science and science-fiction writer, is reported to have once described the invention of the integrated circuit as â??the most important moment since man emerged as a life form.??? Strong words to be sure, but not easy ones to confute given all that has stemmed from that innovation. Or rather two innovations, since the invention of the IC as we know it is inextricably bound up with the invention of the Planar Process for semiconductor fabrication. So much so in fact, that as part of the activities celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the invention of the IC, the Santa Clara Valley IEEE Section will unveil an IEEE Milestone honoring both Jean A. Hoerni and Robert N. Noyce â?? the former for his invention of the Planar Process, and the latter for realizing that Hoerniâ??s process would make it possible to integrate multiple devices onto a single piece of silicon, thereby making it possible to fabricate â??â?¦ interconnections between devices as part of the manufacturing process, and thus reduce size, weight, etc., as well as cost per active element,??? to quote some of what Noyce wrote in his lab notebook on 23 January 1959.
To a generation of engineers raised in an era of cell phones and personal computers, the basic ideas of Hoerni and Noyce may sound rather obvious: (a) shield sensitive semiconductor junctions against contamination by covering them with a protective layer of silicon dioxide and (b) use that incredibly good insulating layer as a base on which to deposit metallic interconnections. But they were in fact revolutionary. As put by Dick Ahrons, the Milestone Coordinator for the IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section, â??The inventions of Hoerni and Noyce represent the major inflection point in the semiconductor industry, which went from a single transistor per chip to the IC â?? an industry with sales of over $200 billion [in 2008].???

The dedication of the IEEE Milestone will be one among several events to be held between 6 and 8 May in a collaborative effort of the IEEE, the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., and the Chemical Heritage Foundation of Philadelphia, Penn.
MOORE SPEAKS: Gordon Moore who, along with Robert Noyce, co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor and then Intel Corp., will speak at the unveiling of the Milestone as will former IEEE President Lewis Terman; Brian Halla, Chairman and CEO of National Semiconductor; and Michael Riordan, co-author of Crystal Fire, a history of the development of the transistor.
Physically, the IEEE Milestone is a plaque, which will be unveiled at 4 p.m. on 8 May 2009 at the site of the original Fairchild Semiconductor plant, 844 East Charleston Road in Palo Alto.
The inscription on the plaque reads:
“The 1959 invention of the Planar Process by Jean A. Hoerni and the Integrated Circuit (IC) based on planar technology by Robert N. Noyce catapulted the semiconductor industry into the silicon IC era. This pair of pioneering inventions led to the present IC industry, which today supplies a wide and growing variety of advanced semiconductor products used throughout the world.? ? ? May 2009

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