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Jay Last, One of the Rebels Who Founded Silicon Valley, Dies at 92

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
Interesting article for us Silicon Valley people:

He and seven others left the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory to create their own silicon company, Fairchild Semiconductor, which is now seen as ground zero for the West Coast tech industry.


John East covered a lot of this in his SemiWiki series:

 
I knew William Shockley from taking has Freshman seminar
at Stanford. The book "Crystal Fire: The Invention of the
Transistor and the Birth of the Information Age" by Riordan
M. and Hoddeson, L. tells a very different story of Shockley
Semiconductor. I think the actual Shockley Semicondocutor
story explains why there is only one US semiconductor development
and manufacturing company and explains why Intel (it) has lost the
ability to make advances in semiconductor physics.

Shockley was the only Bell labs semiconductor physicist who
understood Maxwell's equations. Noyce a device physicist and
Moore a physical chemist had learned the Bell Labs results but
created a culture at Intel where basic scientific research
was not allowed. I think this is the cause for current Intel to
have lost the ability to innovate. Situation has been made worse by
EECS departments trying to move physics departments to be part
of engineering (called digital physics).

I think Shockley anticipated current physics situation with his
1967 paper on hidden Momentum. Search for "Mansuripur Paradox"
story. Mansuripur was wrong.
 

U235

Member
I knew William Shockley from taking has Freshman seminar
at Stanford. The book "Crystal Fire: The Invention of the
Transistor and the Birth of the Information Age" by Riordan
M. and Hoddeson, L. tells a very different story of Shockley
Semiconductor. I think the actual Shockley Semicondocutor
story explains why there is only one US semiconductor development
and manufacturing company and explains why Intel (it) has lost the
ability to make advances in semiconductor physics.

Shockley was the only Bell labs semiconductor physicist who
understood Maxwell's equations. Noyce a device physicist and
Moore a physical chemist had learned the Bell Labs results but
created a culture at Intel where basic scientific research
was not allowed. I think this is the cause for current Intel to
have lost the ability to innovate. Situation has been made worse by
EECS departments trying to move physics departments to be part
of engineering (called digital physics).

I think Shockley anticipated current physics situation with his
1967 paper on hidden Momentum. Search for "Mansuripur Paradox"
story. Mansuripur was wrong.
Very interesting.

But, "Digital Physics" is something quite different, isn't it? More: "It from Bit".
 
The term "digital physics" might not be right. EECS departments
are saying physics is applied physics. For example, Stanford
SLAC is now used exclusively for materials science and biological
experiments. Young theoretical physicists are stuck working
on quantum computers because there is no other funding.
There are many experiments that do not need Cern's LHC
but could use older genration accelerators. There are many
interpretations of quantum mechanics that need to be studied.

Engineering wants to replace experimental physics with simulation
especially by quantum computers (that was Feynmann's orginal
proposal for quantum computing). Aaronson from U Texas
has papers arguing physics should be replaced by digital
simulation. Energy and Entrophy are coding theory in his
view.

The physicists who taught me were sceptial of formal mathematics in
physics. Physics mathematics was differential geometry in their
view. Now nearly all theoretical physics is formal mathematics such
as manifold topology and reality studied as space time curvature.

The point I was trying to make is that the US won't be able to
compete in semiconductors just by cutting costs. We need
basic research of the Bell labs type. I bet is someone
asked Nobel Prize winner and critic of AI Roger Penrose for
ibasic research ideas to improve semiconductor soldid state
physics and fab processes, he would have ideas.
 
I thought of an example of need for basic research in
semiconductor area. Circuit simulation is still performed
using ancient Spice. It goes back to the late 1960s and
1970s when solid state physics was an important theoretical
reseach area. It is still always used. Research is needed
to develop better ways to simulate circuits. I see the problem
as the cartelization of the US high tech industry.
 
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