Noyce and his IC


Learn about Robert Noyce in this brief biographical article by PBS.

Check out a more thorough “Biography of Robert Noyce (1927-1990),” on History of Computers, which covers Noyce’s life from his childhood antics to his leadership of Intel.

Read about Noyce’s invention of the planar IC on the Computer History Museum’s timeline page: “1959 – Practical Monolithic Integrated Circuit Concept Patented.” The page briefly discusses the development and  significance of Noyce’s invention. For some more information on specific developments in the process of IC design and building, read “Fairchild’s Approach: The Planar Process.”

For a wonderful overview of Noyce’s life and contributions, read Tom Wolfe’s 1983 Esquire article, “The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce: How the Sun Rose of Silicon Valley.” This lengthy article supplements biographical material with approachable explanations of many of the advancements in computing history.


Watch “Building the Future: The Planar Integrated Circuit,” a 105-minute lecture in which several lecturers discuss aspects of the fifty-year-old IC. First, a lecture on Jean Hoerni, a Swiss engineer who worked on the planar IC. Second, another historian discusses Robert Noyce and his time at Shockley and Fairchild. Then, Gordon Moore, from Shockley, Fairchild and Intel, speaks about Robert Noyce and the development of the IC. Finally, Jay T. Last discusses his role at Fairchild.

Meet Noyce himself in this 40-minute lecture, “Robert Noyce – Semiconductor Pioneer,” given for the Computer History Museum in 1984. He begins with the history of the semiconductor industry, then discusses the challenges in creating the IC, and concludes with predictions for future applications of the IC. Noyce is an gracious and affable speaker, and the speech is enjoyable to watch.