Robert Noyce was an American physicist who began building and experimenting as a child. At the age of 12, he and his brother built a small aircraft which they flew from the roof of local stables. Other early experiences with science included building a radio from scratch and motorizing a sled. With his passion for learning, Noyce began taking college courses during his senior year of high school and completed his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Grinnell College a few years later. Four years after completing his bachelor’s degree, Noyce earned his doctorate in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
After completing his doctoral degree, Noyce worked at the Philco Corporation and the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. A year later, Noyce and seven other Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory employees, now known as the “traitorous eight”, left Shockley to co-found the Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation. During his time at Fairchild Semiconductor, Noyce invented the first monolithic integrated circuit chip, which was more practical than previous integrated circuits. After more than 10 years at Fairchild Semiconductor, Noyce left to found Intel with Gordon Moore. Noyce is known for being a visionary with a relaxed and casual management style. He valued equality and teamwork among employees while shunning the perks that many executives receive. His second major impact on the field of physics happened while at Intel, when he oversaw Ted Hoff’s invention of the microprocessor.
The invention of the monolithic integrated chip, and Noyce’s other findings and accomplishments earned him several honors and awards. Three Presidents of the United States honored him for the co-invention of this integrated circuit. Additionally, he received the National Medal of Technology from President Ronald Reagan and was inducted into the U.S. Business Hall of Fame where President George H.W. Bush was the keynote speaker. He has also received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Medal of Honor, the National Medal of Science, the Charles Stark Draper Prize, and more.
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