Electricity

William Gilbert

220px-William_GilbertWilliam Gilbert (English; 24 May 1544 – 30 November 1603) Also known as Gilberd, was a physician, physicist and natural philosopher. He passionately rejected both the prevailing Aristotelian philosophy and the Scholastic method of university teaching. He is remembered today largely for his book De Magnete (1600), and is credited as one of the originators of the term "electricity". He is regarded by some as the father of electrical engineering or electricity and magnetism. A unit of magnetomotive force, also known as magnetic potential, was named the gilbert in his honour. Read more...


Otto von Guericke

200px-Otto_von_Guericke_portraitOtto von Guericke (German; November 20, 1602 – May 11, 1686) Scientist, inventor, and politician. His major scientific achievements were the establishment of the physics of vacuums, the discovery of an experimental method for clearly demonstrating electrostatic repulsion, and his advocacy of the reality of "action at a distance" and of "absolute space". Read more...


Francis Hauksbee

history-francis-hauksbeeFrancis Hauksbee (English; 1660–1713), Also known as Francis Hawksbee, was an 18th-century scientist best known for his work on electricity and electrostatic repulsion. Initially apprenticed in 1678 to his elder brother as a draper, Hauksbee became Isaac Newton’s lab assistant. Hauksbee had discovered that if he placed a small amount of mercury in the glass of his modified version of Otto von Guericke's generator, evacuated the air from it to create a mild vacuum and rubbed the ball in order to build up a charge, a glow was visible if he placed his hand on the outside of the ball. This glow was bright enough to read by. This effect later became the basis of the gas-discharge lamp, which led to neon lighting and mercury vapour lamps. Read more...


Émilie du Châtelet

Emilie_Chatelet_portrait_by_LatourÉmilie du Châtelet (France; 17 December 1706 – 10 September 1749) Mathematician, physicist, and author. She derived from Newton's work, "Principia Mathematica", the notion of conservation of energy. Part of this was the understanding that the kinetic energy of a moving object was equal to the mass of the object times the square of it's velocity or MV². Albert Einstein took this further with his equation E=MC² which described the relationship between energy and matter, and how one can be converted to the other. Her scientific work was not directly related to electricity, but was so significant to understanding energy for its time she deserves a place with these other pioneers. Read more...


Benjamin Franklin

220px-BenFranklinDuplessisBenjamin Franklin (American; January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790) Franklin's most famous electric experiment was his kite experiment in which he discovered that lightning was a form of electricity. Whether through knowledge or luck, evidence shows that Franklin was insulated during this experiment. Several others who attempted to repeat this experiment were horribly electrocuted. He followed up on this discovery with the invention of the lightning rod which safely diverted lightning strikes on a building to an earth grounding electrode. These strikes were a common cause of fire for large buildings, and his invention was so effective and appreciated that Franklin received the Royal Society's Copley Medal in 1753. He also experimented with the collection of electrical charges using various devices, and coined the labels for these charges "negative" and "positive" to describe them. Read more...


Luigi Galvani

220px-Luigi_Galvani,_oil-paintingLuigi Aloisio Galvani (Italian; September 9, 1737 – December 4, 1798) Physician and physicist who discovered that muscle and nerve cells produce electricity. During an experiment he touched the sciatic nerve in the leg of a dead frog with a scalpel that had accidentally collected a static charge. He observed that the frog's leg kicked as if it were still alive. Through this he was able to conclude that electricity was part of the biological animation process, or life itself. Further investigations by him helped lead the way towards development of the battery. Though he did not invent the process, "galvanizing" - a plating process to reduce the oxidation of metal - is named after him. Read more...


Alessandro Volta

220px-Volta_AAlessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (Italian; February 18, 1745 – March 5, 1827)  In 1775 he devised the electrophorus with Johannes Wilcke. This was a single-plate capacitor used to produce imbalances of electric charge through the process of electrostatic induction. He also devised experiments such as the ignition of gases by an electric spark in a closed vessel - much like a spark plug in an internal combustion engine. Further work led up to the development of the voltaic pile, a forerunner of the electric battery. He also determined that the most effective pair of dissimilar metals to produce electricity was zinc and silver. The term "volt" is derived from his name because of work. A volt is a measurement unit of electrical potential or electromotive force. Read more...


André-Marie Ampère

220px-Ampere_Andre_1825André-Marie Ampère (French; 20 January 1775 – 10 June 1836) Physicist and professor of mathematics. He is best known for his advancements in the science of electromagnetism, and for establishing a measurable relationship between magnetic fields and electricity. The term "ampere" or "amp" is named after him. This is a unit of measurement of electrical current flow in a conductor or circuit. Read more...


Carl Friedrich Gauss

Carl_Friedrich_GaussJohann Carl Friedrich Gauss (German; 30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855) Mathematician and scientist of profound genius who contributed significantly to many fields; including number theory, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, magnetism, astronomy and optics. In electrical engineering the gauss, abbreviated as G, is a unit of magnetic flux density or magnetic induction. Many television sets that use a large cathode ray tube employ an automatic degaussing electromagnet. This produces a noticeable but brief hum when these televisions are first turned on, and is designed to prevent image distortion which would be caused by residual magnetism surrounding the picture tube. Read more...


Hans Christian Ørsted

220px-Hans_Christian_Ørsted_daguerreotypeHans Christian Ørsted (Danish; 14 August 1777 – 9 March 1851) Physicist and chemist also known for advancing the science of electromagnetism. His most significant contribution in this area was the discovery that a magnetic field radiates from a wire or conductor through which there is a flow of electrical current. This principle is behind the operation of clamp-on ammeters, widely used by electricians today, which can measure the current flow through a wire or conductor simply by clamping the "jaws" of the instrument around it. A unit of magnetic induction called the "oersted" is named after him, however it is not commonly used today outside of electrical engineering studies. Read more...


Georg Ohm

225px-Georg_Simon_Ohm3Georg Simon Ohm (German; 16 March 1789 – 6 July 1854) Physicist and mathematician. He is best known for using Volta's invention of the early battery, or electrochemical cell as it was known then, to determine the relationship between electrical current, voltage, and resistance of the conductor in the circuit. This is known today as Ohm's Law (I=V/R), where I represents the current flow, V represents voltage, and R represents the resistance of the conductor making up the circuit. He also discovered, because of his precise measurement style, that the current flow through a wire is directly proportional to its cross sectional area and inversely proportional to its length. This is the basis for determining the resistance of electrical conductors. Read more...


Michael Faraday

220px-M_Faraday_Th_Phillips_oil_1842Michael Faraday (English; 22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) Chemist and physicist. His main contributions were in the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. The most recognizable legacy from Faraday is the "farad" which is a unit of measurement of capacitance. His work with electromagnetism was probably more significant however. Building on earlier research, he discovered that a magnet passing through a coil of wire would cause a current to flow through the wire. From this discovery he went on to construct an electric dynamo - the predecessor of the modern generator. Faraday's Law of induction states that a magnetic field changing in time creates a proportional electromotive force, and is the principle behind which this dynamo, and modern generators operate. This law subsequently became one of the four Maxwell equations. In addition to this he discovered that the plane of polarized light can be rotated by a strong magnetic field (called the Faraday effect), and that a conducting enclosure can be used to shield its interior against electric fields and electromagnetic radiation (called a Faraday cage). Read more...


Joseph Henry

Joseph_Henry_(1879)Joseph Henry (American; December 17, 1797 – May 13, 1878) Scientist, considered one of the greatest American scientists since Benjamin Franklin. While building electromagnets, he discovered the electromagnetic phenomenon of self-inductance. He also discovered mutual inductance independently of Faraday, though Faraday was the first to publish his results. His work on the electromagnetic relay was the basis of the electrical telegraph, which was jointly invented by Samuel Morse and Charles Wheatstone. The henry, or H, is a unit of inductance named after him. Read more...


James Prescott Joule

200px-Joule_James_sittingJames Prescott Joule (English; 24 December 1818 – 11 October 1889) Physicist who studied the nature of heat and its relationship to mechanical work. He worked with Lord Kelvin to develop the absolute scale of temperature, and found the relationship between the flow of current through a resistance and the resulting heat dissipated - this is now called "Joule's law". The "joule" which is named after him is a unit of work with several definitions: The work done, or energy required, to exert a force of one newton for a distance of one meter. The work required to move an electric charge of one coulomb through an electrical potential difference of one volt. The work done to produce the power of one watt continuously for one second. Read more...


William Thomson, (Lord Kelvin)

220px-Lord_Kelvin_photographWilliam Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (Great Britain; 26 June 1824 – 17 December 1907) Mathematical physicist and engineer. He did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging discipline of physics in its modern form. He is best known for an absolute temperature scale, he developed with James Prescott Joule, called the Kelvin scale. This is a temperature scale in which zero represents the point at which there is absolutely no kinetic energy (or heat energy). He was also a telegraph engineer, and was elected to the board of directors of the Atlantic Telegraph Company in recognition of work he did to help with the problem of transmission rate in the Transatlantic telegraph cable. Thomson had produced a mathematical analysis of the propagation of electrical signals into telegraph cables based on their capacitance and resistance. In higher speed data cables, such as today's Cat 5, it is necessary to factor in inductance as well. Read more...


James Clerk Maxwell

James_Clerk_MaxwellJames Clerk Maxwell (Scottish; 13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879) Mathematical physicist who developed a set of (4) equations that express the basic laws of electricity and magnetism. He is believed to be one of the finest mathematical minds of any theoretical physicist of his time, and is widely regarded as the nineteenth century scientist who had the greatest influence on twentieth century physics. He showed that electric and magnetic fields can travel through the vacuum of space, in the form of waves, and at a constant velocity of 3.0 × 108 m/s (which is known as the speed of light). He also proposed that light was a form of electromagnetic radiation. His (4) equations were based on the previous works of Ampère, Faraday, Gauss, and others. His first equation, called Ampère's Law, predicts the magnetic field that will be created by a given flow of current. The second equation, called Faraday's Law, is essentially the inverse of the first, and calculates the electrical current that will be generated from a changing magnetic field (this is how most electrical power is generated). The third equation, called Gauss' Law, states that a static electrical charge must generate an electrical voltage. The fourth equation, simply called the Fourth Equation, basically asserts that a magnetic charge (or magnetic monopole) cannot exist - the way that an electron can carry an electrical charge. It is believed - though may be disproved in the future - that all magnetic fields have equal and opposing poles. Read more...


Thomas Edison

220px-Thomas_Edison2Thomas Alva Edison (American; February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) Holding 1,097 U.S. patents in his name, Thomas Edison is considered one of the most prolific inventors in history. He can be credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory, and was dubbed "The Wizard of Menlo Park" by a newspaper reporter - reflecting the amazement of many who witnessed his seemingly "magical" inventions. Some of Edison's most notable inventions are the stock ticker, phonograph, motion picture camera, and the kinetoscope (a forerunner of the modern movie projector), but his largest achievement was the development of the incandescent lighting system. The original idea for an incandescent lamp was not his, however he worked with incredible persistence to overcome the technical obstacles and produced the first usable system that could be sold to the public. The issue was finding a filament for the lamp that could be electrically heated to incandescence without self-destructing from the heat and oxidation. His first success came through the use of a wire made of carbon operating inside of a glass bulb that had been evacuated of air. This "burned" for only a few hours, but further refinements extended the useful life of the lamp to something that was practical for use by the general public. Building on the success of this, he and his team went on to design a complete system to include centrally located DC generators, underground cabling to his customers, electric metering devices so he could "charge" his customers, and lamp sockets that allowed for the bulbs to be replaced after failure. Having excellent business savvy, he chose Wall Street, New York as the location for his pilot project - knowing that he needed to impress the investors in order to realize his dream. With investment capital from J. P. Morgan he built the Edison General Electric Company - later to become General Electric. At this same time an inventor named Nikola Tesla (one of Edison's former assistants) was working with businessman George Westinghouse to design and build a competing electrical system that was based on the use of alternating current instead of direct current. This competition developed into was is known as the great "battle of the currents". Alternating current has the advantage that it can be transformed to very high voltages, allowing it to be transmitted for much greater distances than direct current. Mainly for this reason alternating current eventually won the battle, and continues to be what is used today. Probably due mostly to stubbornness Edison refused to embrace this new technology, and eventually got out of the electrical business. He continued to be a great inventor, however, and inspired many to persist and invent right up to his death. One of his most famous quotes is; "Success is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration". Read more...


Alexander Graham Bell

220px-Alexander_Graham_BellAlexander Graham Bell (Scottish; March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) Scientist and inventor. He is widely believed to be the inventor of the telephone system, though there were many at the time working on similar systems. Antonio Meucci and Elisha Gray (the founder of the Western Electric Manufacturing Company) also made significant contributions, and can be argued to be inventors of the telephone as well. While in his twenties, and living in Canada, Bell designed a piano which could transmit its music electrically. He continued his research at Boston University and produced a working telephone which could transmit the human voice as well as musical sounds. On March 7, 1876, the U.S. Patent Office granted him Patent Number 174,465 covering "the method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically … by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sound". Bell had many other patented inventions as well. There were eighteen patents granted in his name alone and twelve that he shared with his collaborators. These included fourteen for the telephone and telegraph, four for the photophone, one for the phonograph, five for aerial vehicles, four for hydro-airplanes, and two for a selenium cell. The photophone was a precursor to our modern fiber optic communication system. It enabled the transmission of sound over a beam of light, and was developed together with Charles Sumner Tainter. The device employed light-sensitive cells of crystalline selenium, which have the property that its electrical resistance varies inversely with the intensity of illumination. The beam of light was modulated through the use of a vibrating mirror or rotating disk. Today we use an electronically modulated solid-state laser, and send the beam through glass fiber optic cables rather than line-of-sight through the air. Otherwise the principle is the same as what we use now. Bell is also credited with the invention of the metal detector in 1881. The device was hurriedly put together in an attempt to find the bullet in the body of U.S. President James Garfield after his attempted assassination. Read more...


Nikola Tesla

220px-Tesla_circa_1890Nikola Tesla (Serbian / American; 10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) Inventor, physicist, and mechanical & electrical engineer. Tesla is one of the most important and fascinating inventors in the field of electricity. After studying electrical engineering he worked with telegraph and telephone designs, and conceived the idea of a brushless induction motor. In 1884 he moved to the United States and was hired by Thomas Edison to work at his Edison Machine Works company. His duties there involved problem solving and improving on DC generator designs. He left over a disagreement with Edison and started his own company called the Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing Company. The company designed and sold arc lighting systems, but a difference of opinion with investors over plans to build an alternating current motor caused him to be relieved of his duties there. After this, Tesla constructed the initial brushless alternating current induction motor, which he demonstrated to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (now IEEE) in 1888. In the same year, he developed the principles of his Tesla coil and began working with George Westinghouse at the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company's Pittsburgh labs. Unlike many others, Westinghouse was open to Tesla's ideas for a complete polyphase alternating current electrical system, and gave him the backing he needed to realize this dream. This was in direct competition with Edison's direct current system, and led to the great "battle of the currents". Tesla's alternating current system had the advantage that it can be transformed to very high voltages, allowing it to be transmitted for much greater distances than direct current. It also allowed for the use of his brushless induction motors, which require much less maintenance because of the elimination of the brushes and commutator of a DC motor. In April of 1887, Tesla began investigating what would later be called X-rays using his own single node vacuum tubes, and made many discoveries which helped advance this science. After this he began to investigate high frequency alternating currents, and generated AC of one million volts using a conical Tesla coil. At this time his interests became directed towards the wireless transmission of electrical signals and energy. He designed and demonstrated cordless gas discharge lamps, transmitted electromagnetic energy without wires, and effectively built the first radio transmitter. When Tesla was 41 years old, he filed the first basic radio patent (U.S. Patent 645576), and a year later demonstrated a radio controlled boat to the US military. In 1899 Tesla decided to move to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and built a laboratory where he would have room for his high-voltage, high-frequency experiments. Here he experimented with wireless telegraphy, the ionosphere, the earth's telluric currents, artificial lightning, and even listened for extraterrestrial radio signals. After the Colorado Springs experiments, Tesla moved to Shoreham, Long Island, and built a facility known as the Wardenclyffe Tower. This tower was 187 feet in height, 68 feet in diameter, and had a domed cupola at the top that weighed 55 tons. Its purpose was to demonstrate the ability to send and receive information and electrical power on a large scale without interconnecting wires. This idea was way ahead of its time, and the facility could not become fully operational due to lack of investment capital. Unfortunately, Tesla suffered increasingly from obsessive-compulsive disorder as he grew older, and died poor and unrewarded for his genius. It's interesting to note that one of the newest lamp types on the market today, the induction lamp, is very similar to what Tesla designed and demonstrated at the 1893 World's Fair. Read more...


Heinrich Hertz

230px-Heinrich_Rudolf_HertzHeinrich Rudolf Hertz (German; 22 February 1857 – 1 January 1894) Physicist and scientist. He was the first to demonstrate the existence of electromagnetic radiation by building an apparatus to produce UHF (ultra high frequency) radio waves. Hertz helped establish the photoelectric effect (which was later explained by others) when he noticed that a charged object loses its charge more readily when illuminated by ultraviolet light. He began experimenting with the transmission and reception of electromagnetic waves using a spark gap transmitter, and did much to explore the propagation and behavior of these waves both through the air and through different types of materials. He also developed the dipole antenna to transmit these radio waves. The hertz, or Hz., is named after him, and is a unit of electrical and electromagnetic frequency. Unlike Marconi, Hertz had little vision or understanding for the practical use of these radio waves. He once stated; "It's of no use whatsoever[...]" when speaking of his discoveries. These discoveries would later be more fully understood and exploited however, by others and become part of the new "wireless age". Read more...


Guglielmo Marconi

220px-Guglielmo_MarconiGuglielmo Marconi, 1st Marquis of Marconi (Italian; 25 April 1874 – 20 July 1937) An Italian electrical engineer known for the development of a practical wireless telegraphy system commonly known as the "radio". Although many scientists and inventors contributed to the invention of wireless telegraphy, Marconi's system achieved widespread use, and therefore he is often thought of as the "father of radio". Marconi did use others' patents in the development of his system, such as Karl Ferdinand Braun's tuning system. He also demonstrated a variety of Tesla's radio frequency systems during lectures to the National Electric Light Association in St. Louis, and the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. This should not distract from his achievements though, since few inventions are entirely original. Most all scientists and inventors build on and improve the discoveries of their predecessors. Marconi demonstrated the transmission and reception of Morse Code based radio signals over a distance of 2 or more kilometers on Salisbury Plain in England in 1896. For this he was awarded a patent for Radio communications with British Patent GB12039 - sometimes recognized as the World's first patent in radio telecommunication. In July of 1897 Marconi formed the London based Wireless Telegraph Trading Signal Company (later renamed the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company), which opened the World's first "wireless" factory in Hall Street, Chelmsford, England. In 1901 Marconi built a station near Wellfleet, Massachusetts. It was first called CC (Cape Cod), then MCC (Marconi Cape Cod) and finally WCC when the US government issued "W" call letters to stations east of the Mississippi. In 1903, from this station, Marconi sent a famous message from the President of the US to the King of the United Kingdom without having to be relayed. In 1914, Marconi built WCC in Chatham, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, and it would become the busiest ship to shore radio station for most of the twentieth century. WCC was sold during the breakup of RCA in the 1990s to MCI, and was finally shut down in 1997. Read more...


Lee de Forest

220px-Lee_De_ForestLee de Forest (American; August 26, 1873 – June 30, 1961) An inventor credited with over 300 patents, his best known and most significant invention was the audio vacuum tube. This was a device that could take a weak electrical signal, such as a radio signal, and amplify it to a more useful level - such as to drive headphones or a loudspeaker. It built upon an earlier device called the Fleming Valve by adding a third electrode called a "grid" to control the amplification of the signal. The device was sold to the Federal Telegraph Company in Palo Alto where it was used to amplify telephone signals sent through transcontinental cables, and was further improved to work as an oscillator in the radiotelephone - an early invention to transmit voice and entertainment into households. In 1907 he formed the De Forest Radio Telephone Company for this purpose, and it became one of the early radio broadcast companies from which this industry grew. In 1919, De Forest filed his first patent on a sound-on-film process, which improved on the work of German inventors, and called it the De Forest Phonofilm process. It recorded sound directly onto film as parallel lines. These lines photographically recorded electrical signals from a microphone, which were translated back into sound waves when the movie was projected. He was given an Academy Award (Oscar) in 1959/1960 in recognition for this work. Read more...


Philo Farnsworth

220px-Philo_T_FarnsworthPhilo Taylor Farnsworth (American; August 19, 1906 – March 11, 1971) At age 14 he worked out the details for an advanced electron tube called an "image dissector", and demonstrated a working unit in 1927. By 1929 he had further improved the tube and transmitted the first human images (including one of his wife) to a receiver which used a cathode ray tube to display the images. In 1930 an employee of RCA named Vladimir Zworykin visited Farnsworth's laboratory, was impressed with his image tube technology, and went back to RCA where he made additional advancements to it, allowing it to capture a sharper image with less light on the subject. The combination of these developments resulted in the Image Orthicon tube which was used in television cameras until the 1960's. In the late 1960's Farnsworth designed an apparatus called the Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor to create nuclear fusion. This invention came about from earlier research he did in developing cathode ray tubes for his TV receiver. The apparatus injects "high temperature" ions directly into a reaction chamber in order to produce a fusion reaction. Initially there was hope that it could be used to generate power, but insolvable technical problems prevented it from achieving a net gain of energy. It was successful however, as a neutron generator, and continues to be used for this today. Read more...


William Shockley

12/2/1965 William B. Shockley, Nobel Laureate in physicsWilliam Bradford Shockley Jr. (American; February 13, 1910 – August 12, 1989) Physicist and co-inventor of the transistor (with John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain) for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics. The three had been working together on theories of electric field effects in solid state materials, with the goal of replacing the triode vacuum tube which was large, fragile, and consumed much power. It was actually Bardeen and Brattain who worked out the final details and constructed the working prototype, but Shockley received a share in the credit since the team had been motivated by Shockley's idea of using field effects. At the same time he secretly continued his own work to build a different sort of transistor based on junctions instead of point contacts, expecting this kind of design would be more commercially viable. He was able to work out the technical problems involved, and obtained a patent for the the junction transistor on July 5, 1951. Eventually he was appointed as the Director of Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Mountain View, California, a division of Beckman Instruments. He had a hard time recruiting the people he wanted due to his difficult personality, but his efforts to commercialize this new transistor design during the 1950s and 60s led directly to the creation of Silicon Valley. Read more...


Jack Kilby

Jack_KilbyJack St. Clair Kilby (American; November 8, 1923 – June 20, 2005) Electrical engineer who co-won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2000. He invented the integrated circuit in 1958 while working at Texas Instruments, about six months before Robert Noyce made the same invention at Fairchild Semiconductor. In 1938 Kilby rode with his father to the home of a neighbor and ham radio operator during a blizzard in Great Bend, Kansas. He was so fascinated by the equipment that he claimed; "It convinced me that I wanted to study electrical engineering." He received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1947, with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and obtained a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1950. In the summer of 1958, Kilby was employed as an engineer at Texas Instruments, and spent the summer working on a problem in circuit design that was commonly called the "tyranny of numbers". This was a problem, mainly with computing devices, where the number of necessary components grew increasingly larger, making it increasingly more difficult to connect them together using common wiring methods. He realized that the solution was to manufacture large numbers of these components on a single substrate. He presented his findings to the management of Texas Instruments, and showed them a piece of germanium with an oscilloscope attached. He pressed a switch and the oscilloscope showed a continuous sine wave, proving that his integrated circuit worked and that he had solved the problem. A patent for a "Solid Circuit made of Germanium" was filed on February 6, 1959 - the first integrated circuit. In addition to the integrated circuit, Jack Kilby is also known for helping to develop the portable electronic calculator, and later in his career, worked on thermal printing and solar panels. Read more...


Robert Noyce

220px-Noyce1Robert Norton Noyce (American; December 12, 1927 – June 3, 1990) He co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel in 1968. He is also credited (along with Jack Kilby) with the invention of the integrated circuit or microchip although Kilby's invention was 6 months earlier. After graduating from MIT in 1948 he went to work for an electronics company named Philco making transistors. He left there to work for William Shockley's company, Shockley Semiconductor. Disagreements with Shockley caused Noyce and seven other young researchers to leave and found Fairchild Semiconductor. While there he developed an integrated circuit similar to Jack Kilby's invention. He left in 1968 with Gordon Moore and co-founded Intel. While at Intel he oversaw Ted Hoff's invention of the microprocessor, which was the integration of not just many transistors, but most of the main circuits of a modern computing device. His casual style gave coworkers and employees the freedom to develop the technology based on their talents, and in many ways defined the Silicon Valley working style. Read more...


Gordon Moore

220px-Gordon_MooreGordon Earle Moore (American; born January 3, 1929) The cofounder of Intel Corporation and the author of Moore's law (published in an article in Electronics Magazine, dated April 19, 1965). This "law" observes that integrated circuit complexity doubles approximately every 2 years. After acquiring a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Physics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1954, he went to work at Shockley Semiconductor. He left there along with Robert Noyce and others to create Fairchild Semiconductor. He co-founded Intel Corporation in July of 1968 with Robert Noyce, and became President and Chief Executive Officer of the company in 1975. In 1979 he became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and remained as CEO until 1987. He is currently a director of Gilead Sciences Inc., a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). Moore also serves on the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology. Read more...


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