The Google Doodle honors Robert Noyce who would have celebrated his 84th birthday Monday.
The Doodle is in the shape of a microchip, which Noyce, along with co-creator Jack Kilby, created in the late 1950s. The microchip was a major invention that helped start the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name. During his lifetime, Noyce was nicknamed the Mayor of Silicon Valley, having co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel in 1968.
Noyce was born in Burlington, Iowa in 1927. Doyce's alleged earliest childhood memory is having won a game of ping pong against his father. When he told his mother, her response was, Wasn't that nice of Daddy to let you win? Noyce recalls being devastated and determined, If you're going to play, play to win!
Noyce was always a technology innovator. During his childhood, Noyce built a small aircraft that he and his brother would fly. He also built a radio from scratch using parts of an old washing machine. After graduating from Grinnell College in 1949, he received his doctorate in physics from MIT in 1953. During his undergraduate math and physics study, he won the award for the senior man who earned the best grades with the least amount of work.
Noyce's first job was as a research engineer at Philco Corporation in Penn. He later left in 1956 to work for the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Calif. After problems with management, he left to co-found Fairchild Semiconductior. In 1968, he left Fairchild and started Intel with Gordon E. Moore. Noyce ran Intel as a family and highly encouraged team work. While other CEOs drove corporate cars and had private jets, he preferred a more relaxed work environment with no lavish benefits for anyone. He oversaw Ted Hoff's invention of the microprocessor.
In one of his last interviews, Noyce was asked what he would as emperor of the U.S. Noyce responded that among other things, he would make sure we are preparing our next generation to flourish in a high-tech age. And that means education of the lowest and the poorest, as well as at the graduate school level.
Noyce passed away in 1990 at the age of 62. In 1991, his family started the Noyce Foudation, which seeks to improve science and math education in the U.S.