May 27, 2024

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Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel behind Moore’s Law, dies at 94

Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel behind Moore’s Law, dies at 94

“This is his legacy,” said Arthur Rock, an early investor in Intel and a friend of Mr. Moore. “It’s not Intel. It’s not the Moore Corporation. It’s that phrase: Moore’s Law.”


Gordon Earl Moore was born on January 3, 1929 in San Francisco. He grew up in Pescadero, a small seaside town south of San Francisco, where his father, Walter H. Moore, was a deputy sheriff and his mother’s family, Florence Almira Williamson, ran the general store.

Mr. Moore attended San Jose State College (now San Jose State University), where he met Betty Whitaker, a journalism student. They married in 1950. That year, he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in chemistry. In 1954, he received his doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.

One of the first jobs he was offered was as a manager at Dow Chemical. Mr Moore wrote in 1994: “They sent me to a psychiatrist to see how this would fit in. The psychiatrist said I was technically fine but I had never managed anything.”

So Mr. Moore took a position at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland. Then, looking for a way back to California, he interviewed at Lawrence Livermore’s lab in Livermore, California. He was offered a job, “but I decided I didn’t want to take on the blast spectra of nuclear bombs, so I turned it down,” he wrote.

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Instead, in 1956, Mr. Moore joined William Shockley, the inventor of the transistor, to work for the West Coast division of Bell Labs, a fledgling unit whose goal was to make cheap silicon transistors.

But the company, Shockley Semiconductor, foundered under Mr. Shockley, who had no experience running a company. In 1957, Mr. Moore and Mr. Noyce joined a group of defectors who became known as the “Traitorous Eight”. With $500 each put down, along with $1.3 million in backing from aircraft pioneer Sherman Fairchild, the eight men left to form the Fairchild Semiconductor Company, which became a leading manufacturer of integrated circuits.