American Experience - Presents Silicon Valley
American Experience - Presents Silicon Valley
Premieres Tuesday, February 19, 2013
8:00 - 9:30 p.m. ET on PBS
An Absorbing Look at the Early Mavericks of Silicon Valley
In 1957, before Apple and Google, before stock-option millionaires and billionaire venture capitalists, a group of eight brilliant young scientists defected from the Shockley Semiconductor Company — the first company to work in the field of silicon semiconductors — in order to start their own transistor company. The “Traitorous Eight,” as they were dubbed, created Fairchild Semiconductor, a company whose radical innovations helped make the United States a leader in both space exploration and the personal computer revolution, transforming the way the world works, plays and communicates. Their leader was 29-year-old Robert Noyce, a physicist with a brilliant mind and the affability of a born salesman. Over the next decade, Noyce ran the new company and co-invented the integrated circuit, which would become an essential component of modern electronics including computers, motor vehicles, cell phones, and household appliances. Told through the story of Noyce, who went on to found Intel, Silicon Valley is a vibrant examination of the rough-and-tumble early days of the high tech industry and the thrilling interplay of cutting-edge science and high-stakes business that defines the unique culture of Silicon Valley. Directed by Randall MacLowry, Silicon Valley premieres on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings).
On October 4, 1957, the young founders of the newly minted start-up heard some startling news: the Soviet Union had just launched the first artificial satellite into orbit around the earth. With the United States scrambling to catch up, the timing couldn’t have been better for the upstarts at Fairchild. Eisenhower quickly launched NASA and the nation’s new obsession with technology provided the opportunity of a lifetime. In less than two years, Noyce would co-create a groundbreaking invention that would help put men on the moon. But Noyce’s innovation — the integrated circuit — would have an impact far beyond the Apollo program. The integrated circuit, also known as the microchip, would re-shape the future, making possible the invention of smart phones and digital video recorders, pacemakers and microwaves possible, and launching the world into the Information Age.
Not only did Noyce’s invention transform the world, his management style launched the unique business culture for which Silicon Valley would come to be known — openness over hierarchy, risk over stability, jeans over suits. This revolutionary new style continued at Noyce’s next venture, Intel, which in 1971, introduced the world’s first microprocessor, the driving force of every digital product we use today, and the heart of a 100-billion-dollar industry.
An eye-opening look at the birthplace of the modern technological era told by the people who shaped it, Silicon Valley is a fascinating reminder of how a few brilliant iconoclasts transformed a rural farmland into one of the most exciting, innovative and influential places on earth.
About the Participants
- Leslie Berlin has been studying the history of innovation in Silicon Valley for nearly two decades. She is Project Historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University and author of The Man Behind the Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley, a biography of Robert Noyce, co-inventor of the microchip and co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor.
- Roger Borovoy was a patent attorney with Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel.
- Ann Bowers is Robert Noyce’s widow. She was the first Director of Personnel for Intel and the first Vice President of Human Resources for Apple.
- Kathleen Cohen is a Silicon Valley resident and friend of Robert Noyce.
- Andy Grove left Fairchild Semiconductor with Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore to found Intel, becoming the company’s CEO.
- Geri Hadley began her Silicon Valley career as a secretary at Fairchild Semiconductor.
- Ted Hoff was an early Intel employee and one of the inventors of the microprocessor.
- Ginger Jenkins was an employee at Fairchild Semiconductor.
- Victor Jones was a physicist at Shockley Laboratory.
- Jay Last was a physicist at the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory and left the company along with the rest of what Shockley termed the “traitorous eight” to form Fairchild Semiconductor.
- Michael S. Malone is a journalist and author who has written extensively about Silicon Valley, including The Big Score and The Valley of Heart's Delight: A Silicon Valley Notebook 1963-2001.
- Regis McKenna is considered the marketing guru of Silicon Valley, a well-known technology marketing consultant, advisor to entrepreneurs, venture capitalist and author.
- Gordon Moore was a physicist at Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory and a co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel.
- Arthur Rock is a Silicon Valley venture capitalist. He was an early investor in major firms including Intel, Apple Computer, Scientific Data Systems and Teledyne.
- Jerry Sanders was Worldwide Sales Manager at Fairchild Semiconductor and went on to become a cofounder and long-time CEO of the semiconductor manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
- Charlie Sporck was the head of manufacturing at Fairchild Semiconductor.
- Les Vadasz was an engineer at Fairchild Semiconductor and one of the first employees of Intel.
- Jack Yelverton was the head of Human Resources at Fairchild Semiconductor.
About AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Television’s most-watched history series, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2013. The series has been hailed as “peerless” (Wall Street Journal), “the most consistently enriching program on television” (Chicago Tribune), and “a beacon of intelligence and purpose” (Houston Chronicle). On air and
online, the series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America’s past and present. Acclaimed by viewers and critics alike, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentaries have been honored with every major broadcast award, including 30 Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia Awards, and 16 George Foster Peabody Awards, one most recently for the series represented by Freedom Riders, Triangle Fire, and Stonewall Uprising.
Exclusive corporate funding for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance. Major funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Public Television Viewers. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.