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American Experience: Silicon Valley

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 9:18am -- WCVE

In 1957, decades before Steve Jobs dreamed up Apple or Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, a group of eight brilliant young men defected from the Shockley Semiconductor Company in order to start their own transistor business. Their leader was 29-year-old physicist with a brilliant mind and the affability of a born salesman who would co-invent the microchip -- an essential component of nearly all modern electronics today, including computers, motor vehicles, cell phones and household appliances.

Silicon Valley tells the story of the pioneering scientists and engineers who transformed rural Santa Clara County into the hub of technological ingenuity we now know as Silicon Valley. The film spotlights the creativity of the young men who founded Fairchild Semiconductor, in particular the brilliant, charismatic young physicist Robert Noyce.

Their radical innovations would include the integrated circuit that helped make the United States a leader in both space exploration and the personal computer revolution, transforming the way the world works, plays and communicates, making possible everything from the Apollo program to smart phones, from pacemakers to microwaves.

Watch American Experience: Silicon Valley February 5 at 9:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS/WHTJ PBS