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The region now known as Silicon Valley is widely considered the international center of technological innovation and technology-based industries of the Information Age. Semiconductor technology made this possible and continue to be the enabling technology of this age, much as the steam engine enabled the industrial revolution. Many semiconductor pioneers are still alive and available to reveal their motivations and backgrounds, describe the history of their achievements, and explain the vision and circumstances that shaped their work and thus revolutionized our society. The Silicon Genesis project seeks to record this history in the actual words of those responsible for so much of semiconductor technology and the industries that have grown around it.

The Silicon Genesis project was the inspiration of Rob Walker, Silicon Valley native and engineer, who has been involved with semiconductors since the 1960s at Fairchild, Intel and as a founder of LSI Logic. He now has his own consulting company, http://www.walkerresearch.com/ in Menlo Park, California. Rob's active engagement in the preservation of Silicon Valley's history began over a decade ago. He is the author of Silicon Destiny: The Story of Application Specific Integrated Circuits and LSI Logic Corporation (Milpitas: C.M.C. Publications, 1992; available at walkerresearch.com). Transcripts of the interviews he conducted and much of the documentation he gathered for research on this book have been deposited in the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, and are available to researchers.

Silicon Genesis followed Silicon Destiny as an ambitious project to record interviews with pioneers of the semiconductor industry, with careful attention to the long-term preservation of these interviews. To date, Rob has conducted more than 25 interviews for the Silicon Genesis Project. All of the interviews in this series have been videotaped in broadcast-quality Betacam and VHS. Archival and viewing copies are available in the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, in addition to the streamed media available on this website. They are unedited and average 70 minutes in length.

Recently, a video search capability has been added to the options for finding streamed clips of interest from the digitized video streams. We invite you to try this option here. Note also that full transcripts are available for the interviews here, as well as the full interviews streamed in RealMedia format.

For further information about the Silicon Genesis Project, please contact:

Henry Lowood
Curator for History of Science & Technology Collections
Stanford University Libraries
Email: lowood@stanford.edu
Phone: 650-723-4602

Or for questions about access to the original videotapes at Stanford:
Department of Special Collections
E-mail: Electronic Reference Web Form
Phone: 650-725-1022

 

We wish to acknowledge the generous support of the Corrigan-Walla Foundation; the Semiconductor Industry Association; CMP Media, publishers of EE Times; and other donors.

For your information, here is a selection of other projects offering glimpses into the history of the semiconductor industry and Silicon Valley:

The Antique Chip Collectors' Page

The Chip History Center

The Computer History Museum Oral Histories Collection

EE Times

Great Microprocessors of the Past and Present

SEMI Oral Histories, e.g., Brad Mattson

The Silicon Engine: A Timeline of Semiconductors in Computing

Smithsonian Institution-National Museum of American History's Chip Collection

Stanford and the Silicon Valley Oral History Series

Finding aids (by subject) for archival collections in the Stanford Univ. Libraries (e.g., "electrical engineering" and "computer science")