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About Robert Norton Noyce
Robert Norton Noyce (December 12, 1927 – June 3, 1990), nicknamed "the Mayor of Silicon Valley", co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel in 1968. He is also credited (along with Jack Kilby) with the invention of the integrated circuit or microchip. While Kilby's invention was six months earlier, neither man rejected the title of co-inventor. Noyce was also a mentor and father-figure to an entire generation of entrepreneurs, including Steve Jobs at Apple, Inc.
Early life and ancestors
He was born on December 12, 1927, in Burlington, Iowa, to a family with deep Midwestern roots that trace back to Mayflower passengers, Love Brewster, a founder of the town of Bridgewater, Massachusetts; Elder William Brewster, the Pilgrim colonist leader and spiritual elder of the Plymouth Colony; and William Bradford, Governor of the Plymouth Colony and the second signer and primary architect of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbor.
He was also a descendant of Martha Wadsworth Brewster, a notable 18th-century American poet and writer, and the Rev. Reuben Gaylord, a clergyman and a founder of Grinnell College.
Awards and honors
In July, 1959, he filed for U.S. Patent 2,981,877 "Semiconductor Device and Lead Structure", a type of integrated circuit. This independent effort was recorded only a few months after the key findings of inventor Jack Kilby. For his co-invention of the integrated circuit and its world-transforming impact, three presidents of the United States honored him.
Noyce was a holder of many honors and awards. President Ronald Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Technology in 1987. Two years later, George H.W. Bush inducted him into the Business Hall of Fame. President George H. W. Bush presented the award, sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering, in a black-tie ceremony held at the State Department. In 1990 also Noyce—along with Jack Kilby, transistor inventor John Bardeen, and some other celebrities, received a "Lifetime Achievement Medal" during the bicentennial celebration of the Patent Act.
Noyce received the Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1966. He was awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1978 "for his contributions to the silicon integrated circuit, a cornerstone of modern electronics." In 1979, he was awarded the National Medal of Science. In 1990, the National Academy of Engineering awarded him its Draper Prize.
Mr. Noyce was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1989. The science building at his alma mater, Grinnell College, is named after him.