Robert N. Noyce

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Computer Science

For his inventions in the field of semiconductor integrated circuits, for his leading role in the establishment of the microprocessor which has led to much wider use of more powerful computers, and for his leadership of research and development in these areas, all of which have had profound consequences both in the United States and throughout the world.

National Medal of Science

Engineering

For contributions to a variety of semiconductor devices, but especially for the integrated circuit, the cornerstone of modern electronics.

For his inventions in the field of semiconductor integrated circuits, for his leading role in the establishment of the microprocessor which has led to much wider use of more powerful computers, and for his leadership of research and development in these areas, all of which have had profound consequences both in the United States and throughout the world.

For contributions to a variety of semiconductor devices, but especially for the integrated circuit, the cornerstone of modern electronics.

VIEW STATISTICS +

Birth
December 12, 1927
Age Awarded
60 (Technology)
52 (Science)
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
First Integrated Circuit
Microchip
Awarded by
Ronald Wilson Reagan (Technology)
Jimmy Carter (Science)
Education
Grinnell College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Areas of Impact
Communication & Information
Affiliations
Intel Corporation
Other Prizes
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering
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Robert Noyce made a huge impact on California’s Silicon Valley even before it was commonly known by that name. Noyce, who held a doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founded and ran two of the companies that had the greatest impact on the region: Fairchild Semiconductors and Intel Corp.

At Fairchild, he co-invented the integrated circuit, a series of interconnecting transistors on the same chip that allowed for vastly greater data management in much smaller spaces. In 1968 he left Fairchild to co-found Intel, where he oversaw Ted Hoff’s invention of the microprocessor, which became the basis for the personal computer.

Both inventions revolutionized computer and semiconductor manufacturing and in Noyce the electronics industry -- and Silicon Valley -- had a tireless champion and spokesman. Noyce’s contributions earned him the nickname: “The Mayor of Silicon Valley.’’

Noyce pushed a relaxed, collaborative working style at the companies, eschewing most executive perks and instead allowing talented workers the freedom to flourish. That management style would be copied across Silicon Valley.

Noyce radiated a “halo effect’’ – a calm-inducing confidence that inspired those around him to push harder, Tom Wolfe noted in a 1983 profile in Esquire magazine.

At the time of his death in 1990, Noyce was president and chief executive of Sematech Inc., an Austin, Texas, research consortium created to help the U.S. computer industry compete with Japanese technology.

Joyce has the distinction of having received the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation, an uncommon feat that is testament to his world-changing success

By Robert Warren

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