Robert N. Noyce, 62, the American physicist and engineer who helped transform the 20th century as a co-inventor of the semiconductor chip, died yesterday in Austin, Tex., after a heart attack.

Mr. Noyce's invention of the integrated circuit made it possible to store a wealth of electronic capabilities and whole libraries of data on a speck of material, paving the way for the marvels of the modern information age and giving rise to a computerized world.

As a creator of California's Silicon Valley, he was at the forefront of one of the nation's great surges of industrial development. He played a pivotal role in putting the computer in the nation's homes and pockets, and in making possible enormous technological advances in science, medicine and everyday life.

Others had invented the transistor, the solid-state device that replaced the vacuum tube and made the electronics revolution possible in theory. Mr. Noyce helped demolish the technological barriers to the almost unlimited exploitation of the transistor, making the revolution a reality.

Despite the scope and influence of his achievements, despite his talents and capabilities and the huge financial rewards he reaped, he lived a life of relative obscurity, with his name all but unknown to the public.

Mr. Noyce suffered a heart attack yesterday morning and was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at Seton Medical Center in Austin, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Mr. Noyce was the co-founder of Intel Corp., which grew to be the nation's third-largest maker of semiconductor chips.

In recent years, Mr. Noyce had served as the head of Sematech, a government-industry consortium that was created to revitalize American chip-making, which has been badly hurt by overseas competition.

Although he had sought to avoid being chosen as Sematech's chief, he accepted the appointment in 1988 as its first chief executive officer and president because "it finally dawned on me it was far too important for someone else to do. I had to do it myself."

The statement was typical of Mr. Noyce, an assured, outgoing, talkative man who held a doctorate in physics from MIT and was known as a skilled manager with a broad range of interests, from singing madrigals to flying a seaplane.

Robert N. Noyce was born in Denmark, Iowa, the son of a Congregationalist clergyman. Curiosity about how things worked was demonstrated early and remained with him.

As a boy he tinkered with engines, model airplanes and gadgets of all kinds. As a teenager growing up in Grinnell, Iowa, he tried to harness an old washing machine motor to his bicycle. At Grinnell College, where he majored in physics and mathematics, he was an oboe player in the band, a diver on the swim team and a player in a radio soap opera.

After receiving his doctorate in 1953, he joined the Philco Corp. in Philadelphia to do research on transistors. In 1956, he joined William B. Shockley, one of the inventors of the transistor, in starting a new company in California in the area now known as Silicon Valley. (Silicon is a fundamental constituent of many transistors.)

Unhappiness with Shockley's management led Mr. Noyce and seven other young scientists from the Shockley firm to start a Silicon Valley enterprise of their own. Early in 1957, it began operations as Fairchild Semiconductor.

In time, Mr. Noyce's original $500 investment was multiplied 500-fold in value, but the late 1950s posed severe challenges to the semiconductor industry.

Transistors, often described as semiconductors because they are made of materials that are partway between conductors of electricity and insulators, proved far better in many electronic uses than the old vacuum tube, which gobbled electricity and was fragile and short-lived.

The solid-state transistor did the work of the tube cheaper and more reliably. In theory its potential was limitless. But its ultimate value appeared limited by the necessity of hand-wiring the interconnections between the thousands of individual transistors needed for complex, high-tech circuitry.

Mr. Noyce came up with an idea for forming entire circuits out of single bits of silicon.

The tiny pieces of material -- embodying first dozens, then hundreds of individual transistors -- were called monolithic circuits and are now known as integrated circuits or semiconductor chips.

Mr. Noyce was awarded a patent for the chip in 1959, touching off a dispute with Texas Instruments, where Jack Kilby had also invented an integrated circuit process. In the aftermath of long litigation, both men have been recognized as co-inventors of the semiconductor chip.

In 1968 Mr. Noyce went on to co-found Intel. There he helped to develop a process for building computer memories on semiconductor chips, a key to creating the modern computer age.

"Bob has been the personification of our industry and signaled each major turn," said Andrew Grove, who co-founded Intel with Noyce and is now its president. "He has been the leader of the entire industry. He will be replaced as the head of Sematech, but that {leadership} role is not transferable."

Mr. Noyce received the National Medal of Technology from President Reagan in 1987 and the National Medal of Science from President Carter in 1980. He was chosen for the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the U.S. Business Hall of Fame.

In February, he and Kilby received the Charles Stark Draper award from President Bush.

"Integrated circuits have enabled us to do the unimaginable," the president said. "The microchip . . . helped America change the world."

Mr. Noyce is survived by his wife, Ann, four children and 12 grandchildren.



John C.L. Donaldson, 62, a former journalist, government official and public relations worker who had operated his own consulting firm in Washington since 1982, died of cardiac arrest June 2 at Suburban Hospital. He lived in Washington.

Mr. Donaldson was a native of Washington and a 1950 graduate of George Washington University. He served in the Navy in 1945 and 1946. He was a reporter in New York with Business Week magazine before returning to the Washington area in 1956 as a foreign affairs writer with McGraw-Hill World News.

He was Washington editor of Business International magazine from 1961 to 1963, when he joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Over the next four years, his posts included director of international business relations. In 1968, he joined the government. From 1968 to 1973, he worked for the Agency for International Development and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. His duties included liaison work on Capitol Hill.

From 1973 to 1980, he did liaison work with the U.S. Trade Representative. He then joined the Hill & Knowlton public relations firm as international government relations services director. From 1981 until founding his own business in 1982, he was a vice president of the Gray & Co. public relations firm.

Over the years, Mr. Donaldson had lectured on international business at the Foreign Service Institute, American University and Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

Survivors include his wife, Ruth, of Washington; and two sons, Glen, of Atlanta, and Greg, of Washington.


Government Secretary

Nettie G. Bretzfelder, 81, a retired government secretary who was a member of Washington Hebrew Congregation, died of cardiac arrest May 31 at Sibley Memorial Hospital. She lived in Washington.

Mrs. Bretzfelder attended East Stroudsburg State Teachers College in her native Pennsylvania. She came to the Washington area in the early 1940s and spent about a year as a secretary with Hecht's department store before joining the government.

She worked for the General Services Administration until retiring to raise a family in 1953. Returning to the government in 1960, she worked for the Interior Department and the National Institute of Mental Health before retiring again in the mid-1970s.

Mrs. Bretzfelder was a life member of both Hadassah and the Temple chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Her husband, Karl, died in 1970. Survivors include a daughter, Ann R. Morse of Silver Spring; two sisters, Beatrice Glazer of Washington and Esther Pollack of Silver Spring; and two grandsons.