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Posted at 10:40 AM ET, 12/12/2011

Robert Noyce gets a Google Doodle

The innovation spirit Silicon Valley is known for would not have been possible without Robert “Bob” Noyce.

Noyce, who died in 1990 of heart failure, is among one of the storied “Fairchildren” who ran Fairchild Semiconductor, one of the most celebrated of Silicon Valley’s founding companies. These individuals, including Noyce, went on to found their own companies, creating the unique innovation ethos the Valley is now celebrated for.

Noyce, known affectionately as the “mayor of Silicon Valley,” invented the integrated chip, which made possible the creation of microprocessors and subsequently the personal computer revolution. His contributions to the technology world don’t end there. Noyce, along with Gordon Moore, founded Intel in 1968, which went on to become of one of the Valley’s foundational companies. Noyce also advised fellow Silicon Valley innovator and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

Our colleague, Michael Cavna covers the Google Doodle, honoring Noyce on what would have been his 84th birthday. But, in September, we spoke with University of California Berkeley School of Information Dean AnnaLee Saxenian about the history of the Valley and how the unique innovation environment was created.

“There are these genealogies in books about where [the Fairchildren] went, the companies they started. And they had meetings of the grandchildren and the great grandchildren,” Saxenian said. “So, that sort of sense of being a part of a generation is very strong and it happened in the semi-conductor industry, in the PC industry.”

Given this, it’s no surprise that Google, a company built on the bedrock created in large part by Noyce, would pay tribute.

Disclosure: My brother works for Google, but he does not work on the Google Doodle team.

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By  |  10:40 AM ET, 12/12/2011

Categories:  Business, Invention, Morning Read, The Arts

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