In Honor of Dr. Robert Noyce

Monday, Dec 12, 2011, 12:00am

by Semiconductor Industry Association

Today would have been Dr. Robert Noyce’s 84th birthday. Noyce was the co-inventor of the integrated circuit, a credit he shared with Texas Instruments’ Jack Kilby for independent discoveries. The invention launched an industry that is now predicted to reach $300 billion in global sales, with U.S. firms capturing roughly half of the market. Semiconductors underpin new innovations in areas such as communications, computing, health care, energy efficiency, and transportation.

Google paid tribute to Noyce today with a special image, and cited his mentorship of another innovator, Steve Jobs.  Indeed, Google, Apple, and the rest of Silicon Valley were made possible through Noyce’s invention and industry leadership.

In 1957, Noyce co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor, which became a pioneer in silicon transistor and integrated circuit manufacturing.  In 1968, he co-founded Intel, which is now the world’s largest semiconductor company. Both companies are current SIA Board members.

Noyce was one of the five founding members of the SIA in 1977. Each year, the SIA recognizes an individual for outstanding contributions to the semiconductor industry by presenting its highest honor—the Noyce Award.

At the time of his death, Noyce was the first President and CEO of Sematech, an industry research consortium that is widely credited with helping to reinvigorate the U.S. semiconductor industry at a time of increased global competition. The Noyce Foundation, established in 1991, supports K-12 math and science education, and the National Science Foundation has a Noyce scholarship for STEM majors to become teachers.

Noyce’s passion for research and education is just as inspirational today as we contemplate the future of U.S. innovation. SIA continues to honor Noyce’s legacy by advocating for policies that maintain U.S semiconductor industry leadership and foster the next generation of innovators. Such policies include robust funding for basic research and STEM education, flexible immigration policies to attract and retain top talent, and a globally competitive tax policy.


Happy Birthday Dr. Noyce!