About the Innovator
Gordon Moore is a native Californian and one of Silicon Valley's founding fathers. He was born in San Francisco, educated at the University of California, Berkeley, and the California Institute of Technology, where he received a doctorate in chemistry in 1954. After a brief stint on the East Coast, Moore joined Caltech alumnus William Shockley at the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Mountain View. Shockley, founded in 1956, was the first company to work on silicon semiconductor devices in what became known as Silicon Valley. William Shockley was a brilliant scientist, but an erratic leader. Within the first eighteen months, eight of Shockley's leading engineers, including Moore, left Shockley to form their own company. The "traitorous eight," as they became known, turned to Sherman Fairchild who established Fairchild Semiconductor as a division of Fairchild Camera and Instrument in 1957.
In 1968 Gordon Moore and Bob Noyce, a physicist and co-inventor of the integrated circuit, left Fairchild and founded Intel Corporation. Intel produced the world's first microprocessor and became the world's largest producer of computer microchips. Moore served as chairman of the board and CEO from 1979 until 1987. He was named chairman emeritus in 1997. Moore is a strong proponent of the engineer as manager and entrepreneur, of which he is an exceptional role model.
Why He Innovates
Trained as a chemist, Gordon Moore's research focused on finding the right technologies and materials to produce inexpensive, efficient microchips. Technology improvements led to more powerful products. Moore observed a steady doubling of microchip power which led him, in 1965, to formulate what has become known as "Moore's Law:" the assertion that circuits would double in complexity every 18 months. He continued to provide the proof behind the prediction, developing increasingly powerful microprocessors over a 40-year career. In practical terms, this has meant increasingly powerful, compact and accessible computers as chips have not only grown more complex but also smaller. With increasing power and accessibility, the microchip's evolution has had an increasingly profound effect on people's lives.