Heroes

Dr. Forest Baskett and Dr. John Hennessy

Forest and John were next door office neighbors at Stanford University and both were famed for their achievements in RISC computer design.

They were regarded as gods in computer design, compile constructions and pipelining.

Dr. Baskett left Stanford University to join Digital Equipment Corporation as the founding Director for the Western Research Laboratory, then he enlisted with a startup called Silicon Graphics as Executive Vice President for Research and Development and Chief Technology Officer where he was responsible for the product direction, roadmap and corporate strategy. Forest went to the venture capital business after his journey at Silicon Graphics.

John took a long sabbatical from Stanford University and co-founded MIPS Computer Systems as Chief Technology Officer where he directed the entire MIPS processor family development. After a few years, he returned to Stanford and very quickly became the President of Stanford University.

Dr. Herbert Boyer

Dr. Herbert Boyer, then at the University of California San Francisco, together with Dr. Stanley N. Cohen of Stanford University, collaborated developing recombinant DNA technology, showing that genetically engineered DNA molecules may be cloned in foreign cells.

Dr. Boyer founded Genetech Inc. with a young venture capitalist. Soon after, the biotech industry was born. As a result, many have regarded Dr. Herbert Boyer as the father of the biotech industry.

Ms. Evelyn Berezin

She was the head for Logic design for the special purpose computers for the US Army and other commercial businesses. She designed a few special purpose computers.

Ms. Berezin led the design for the world first computerized banking system and first airline reservation system, which controlled 60 cities in a communication system that provided 1 second response time.

She became interested to simplify the work of the secretary by designing the first word processor by founding a company called Redactron which was acquired by Burroughs Corporation.

Dr. Morris Chang 張忠謀博士

Dr. Chang was born in Ningbo, Zhejiang.

He has been recognized as the father of semiconductor for Taiwan.

Dr. Chang lived in Hong Kong before he went onto study at MIT. During his 25 years career in Texas Instruments, he rose through the rank to become Group Vice president responsible for the worldwide semiconductor business in which Texas Instrument was the world largest, and later as President & COO for general Instruments.

He became the founding Chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, fathering the semiconductor foundry industry.

Dr. Marie Kłodowska Curie and Dr. Irène Joliot-Curie

Dr. Marie Curie and Dr. Irène Joliot-Curie are mother and daughter.

Marie Skłodowska Curie was born in Poland and migrated to France. She was the first woman to receive a Nobel Price, and first person to receive the Nobel Price twice in two different science (Physics 1903 for her work in radioactivity and Chemistry 1911 for isolating pure radium). She founded the Curie Institute (originally Radium Institute) in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centres of medical research today.

While a French citizen, Marie Skłodowska Curie (she used both surnames) never lost her sense of Polish identity. She taught her daughters the Polish language and took them on visits to Poland frequently.  Her death was caused by a plastic anemia as a result of exposure to radiation.

Irène discovered radioactive materials could be created quickly, cheaply, and plentifully. She received her Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935 with her husband.

The French government appointed her to be the Undersecretary of State for Scientific Research and in which capacity she helped in founding the French National Center for Scientific Research (Centre national de la recherche scientifique CNRS) which is the largest governmental research organization in France an the largest fundamental science agency in Europe.

Years of working so closely with radioactive materials finally caught up with Joliot-Curie and she was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Dr. Eric Fossum

Eric started his career as a professor at Columbia University. He joined NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory performed research on CCD (Charge-Couple Device) focal-plane image processing and managed JPL’s image sensor and focal-plane technology research and advanced development.

He invented a new CMOS active pixel sensor (APS) with intra-pixel charge transfer camera-on-a-chip technology, now just called the CMOS Image Sensor.

Later he and his wife, Dr. Sabrina Kemeny, together founded Photobit Corporation where he was the Chairman and Chief Technology Officer. A few years later, Micron Technology purchased Photobit and retained him as Senior Fellow.

Dr. Fossum co-founded SiWave (Siimpel) as CEO and invented/developed the MEMS technology for mobile phone handsets.

Dr. Fossum has been regarded as the father of the cell-phone camera and DSLR digital camera industry.

Dr. Charles Geschke and Dr. John Warnock

Geschke and Warnock first met and began working together at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where they helped develop Xerox's page-description language. Xerox decided to keep the technology proprietary rather that release it to public domain.

Geschke and Warnock were flabbergasted by the decision. They left Xerox and formed Adobe Systems by developing the Postscript language, the first printing software that enabled users to print pages that included text, line art and digitized photos.

Apple was first to adopt Adobe’s product into Mac. The general opinion was that Adobe made Apple popular in MAC’s early years.

When they saw the emerging competitors in publishing, they changed the rules. Geschke and Warnock repositioned Adobe as a high-profile World Wide Web publisher and Adobe once again became the kingpin of the professional graphics market.

The two of them were the fathers of the graphic publishing industry.

Mr. Jen-Hsun Huang 黃仁勳

Huang was born in Taiwan.

He was a microprocessor designer at Advanced Micro Devices where he conceptualized the graphic processor.

He co-founded Nvidia as President and CEO with the invention of a 3D transformation and lighting capability.

Huang was able to won the contract to develop the graphics hardware for the Microsoft XBOX with UD$200M advance.

Then, he continued his strategy and successfully obtained the contract to develop the Sony Playstation 3.

Dr. Irwin Jacobs

Dr. Jacobs started his professional career as a professor at MIT. He co-founded Linkabit Corporation to develop satellite encryption devices which later merged into Hughes Network Systems.

He cofounded Qualcomm and served as chairman to invent and develop the OmniTRACS system, which was deemed one of the world's most "technologically advanced two-way mobile satellite communications and tracking systems", as well as the CDMA (Code Division Multiplier Access) for the cellular telephone.

He has donated US$600 million, about half of his fortune to MIT, Technion, University of California San Diego, the San Diego Symphony and other organization.

He is one of the 40 American billionaires who have agreed to pledge 50% or more of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

Mr. Bernie Lacroute

Bernie Lacroute co-invented the PDP-11 minicomputer, the DECnet network operating system, and the VAX super-minicomputer during his thirteen years at Digital Equipment Corporation in Massachusetts.

He left DEC and moved to Silicon Valley to join a startup, Sun Microsystems, as their Vice President of Engineering developing the Sun Workstation.

Later as Executive Vice President, Bernie was responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations during its growth from a $4 million per year manufacturer of technical workstations to a $2 billion per year supplier of distributed computing systems.

Dr. David K Lam

After receiving his PhD from MIT, Dr. Lam worked on plasma etching research and engineering at Texas Instruments and Hewlett-Packard. Although plasma etching was widely used in R&D during the 1970s, it had yet to prove practical in a production environment. Lam discovered the cause of etch variability was part technical and part human. The analog-controlled process lacked the precision required by the complex chemistry of plasma etching.

David founded Lam Research Corporation in 1980 as Chairman & CEO, and in 1984, Lam became the first Asian American to see the company he founded go public on the NASDAQ exchange. Dr. Lam presently serves as Chairman of Multibeam Corporation, which pioneered the development of CEBL (complementary electron beam lithography) and DEW (direct electron writing) systems. 

He led the Asia America Multi-technology Association (AAMA) from being a small Asian technology association into becoming a multinational network of technology entrepreneurs and professionals.

Ms. Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr, born as Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, was born in Vienna, Austria. She was a haunting beauty and a Hollywood movie star. But although she shared the screen with Hollywood legends like Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Jimmy Stewart, people rarely remember Hedy's talent.

She set aside one room in her home, had a drafting table installed with the proper lighting, and the proper tools - had a whole wall in the room of engineering reference books. She spent most of her evenings studying and absorbing the reports and thesis on weapons systems.

She invented both the transmitter and the receiver simultaneously jump from frequency to frequency, then someone trying to jam the signal wouldn't know where it was. She invented by using her own resources to finance the effort because of her failure to raise money from others (private and public) as a result of her beauty. Ms. Lamarr was successful in obtaining a patent (2,292,387) at the age of 26 by building a prototype and demonstrating its functionality. However, the enormous significance of her invention was not released until decades later. She quietly signed her patents to the US Navy. Nowadays, we called the technology she invented as Spread Spectrum.

Most remember only her face - a regret she carried with her to her grave.

Who would have known that a glamorous female movie star would defy all stereotypes and create a communications system that was decades ahead of its time and is now into widespread use?

Dr. Kuo-Ching Li 李國欽博士

Dr. Li was widely known as the “Tungsten King” and as father of the nuclear reactor powering the US Navy submarine.

He was born in Hunan Province of China, He discovered and developed the first tungsten deposits there; invented the Li Process for tungsten carbide manufacture.

After he was commissioned by the US Navy to build a plant for supply zirconium to the US Navy nuclear program, Dr. Li founded Wah Chang International Corporation and took it to publicly listed at New York Stock Exchange. It was the first publicly listed company founded and managed by a Chinese.

Dr. Mao Yisheng 茅以升博士

Dr. Mao is known as father of modern bridges. He was born in Zhenjiang. He became the Chief Engineer for the Qiantang Bridge, the first dual-purpose road-and-railway bridge. To stop the approach of troops from Japan in 1937,

Mao destroyed the Qiantang River Bridge and rebuilt it after the World War II. He was the chief engineer for many other projects in China, including the first Yangtze River Bridge at Wuhan, and the structural design of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. 

Dr. Mao was the first PhD graduate of Carnegie Institute of Technology (now called Carnegie-Mellon University). A statute was dedicated on the campus in memory him.

Mr. Gugliemo Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi was born at Bologna, Italy. He was granted the world first patent in wireless telegraphy and he demonstrated the system successfully across the Bristol Channel.  Eventually after a few more patents, he also demonstrated successfully communicating wirelessly across the English Channel and then across the Atlantic Ocean.

He founded Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company Limited which has been transformed and merged many times. Now, it is part of the England Defense Systems.

Dr. Ralph Merkle

As an undergraduate student, Merkle discovered a general method of securing electronic communications using a system of cryptographic key exchange now known as Merkle's Puzzles.

He joined the team at Stanford and became a doctoral candidate under Martin Hellman. Working with Diffie and Hellman, Merkle developed the world's earliest public key cryptographic system. Their insight underpins secure transactions on the Internet, enabling e-commerce and digital currency and contracts (such as blockchain and bitcoin) and a host of other interactions in which secure electronic communications are required.

Upon his graduation from Stanford, Dr. Merkie joined a startup called Elxsi, a small mini-mainframe computer company in Silicon Valley, as the Manager for Compiler Development. After Elxsi, he has submerged himself in the research and education environment. 

He has received the following awards:

· 1996 ACM Award for the Invention of Public Key Cryptography.

· 1998 Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology for computational modeling of molecular tools for atomically-precise chemical reactions

· 1999 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award

· 2000 RSA award for the invention of public key cryptography.

· 2008 International Association for Cryptographic Research (IACR) fellow for the invention of public key cryptography.

· 2010 IEEE Hamming Medal for the invention of public key cryptography

· 2011 Computer History Museum Fellow "for his work, with Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, on public key cryptography."

· 2011 National Inventors Hall of Fame, for the invention of public key cryptography

· 2012 National Cyber Security Hall of Fame inductee

Dr. Philip Mooreby

Phil was born in Birmingham, England. He invented Verilog, the today industry standard on hardware descriptive language, which has been used to model electronic systems. It is most commonly used in the design and verification of digital circuits at the register-transfer level of abstraction. It is also used in the verification of analog circuits and mixed-signal circuits, as well as in the design of genetic circuits.

He approached, Dr. Prabhu Goel, President of Gateway Design Automation to develop a new language and a new simulator. It was there, Mooreby invented the Verilog language and Verilog simulator there. Subsequently, Gateway Design Automation was merged into Cadence Design.

Mooreby significantly enhanced the usability of the electronic simulation industry through his invention of the Verilog hardware descriptive language.

Mr. William Hewlett and Dr. David Packard

They are the two founders of Hewlett-Packard (HP).

They met when they studied under Professor Frederrick Terman at Stanford University and became fast friends, spending many weekends together camping and fishing. William Hewlett then went to MIT for his graduate study.

Upon his return, the two of them renewed their friendship. Encouraged and funded by Professor Terman, they started Hewlett-Packard in the one-car garage behind Packard’s Palo Alto home by inventing the oscillator and waveform analyzer.

Stanford University Professor Frederick Terman, Stanford alumni David Packard and Stanford/MIT alumni William Hewlett were considered as c-fathers of the Silicon Valley together with the Traitorous Eight.

Mr. Ieoh Ming Pei

He is the Founder and he was the Managing Partner, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

I.M. Pei was born in Guangzhou, China. He has designed some of the most iconic and beloved architectural masterpieces in the world. He gained acclaim for his designs of the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington (1978), the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston (1979), the Grand Louvre in Paris (1989), and Miho Museum in Shiga, Japan (1997). He completed three projects in his native China:

the Fragrant Hill Hotel in Beijing (1982), the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong (1989), and the Suzhou Museum in Suzhou (2006), each designed to graft advanced technology onto the roots of indigenous building and thereby sow the seed of a new, distinctly Chinese form of modern architecture. His latest completed project is the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha (2008).

He has been recognized internationally with the highest honors in architecture, arts and letters, as well as public service.

Mr. Alan Shugart

Shugart began his career at IBM as a field engineer, solving customer problems at their offices. He rose quickly through the organization to become the engineering director for the storage device.

Over his 18-year career at IBM, Shugart contributed to or managed a number of difficult disk drive development programs, including the groundbreaking RAMAC-IBM's (and the world's) first disk drive.

Alan was an effective leader who inspired great loyalty in team members.

His other inventions were the floppy disk and the small rigid disk. He co-founded Shugart Associates and Seagate Technology and fathered the disk drive industry.

Dr. Sasson Somekh

Sass was born in Iraqi and moved to Israel in his young age. He was instrumental in the development and engineering of the Applied Material's breakthrough products, including the AME 8100 (TM), the first etch system, the Precision 5000 (R) Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) integrated processing system, and the Endura (R) Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) system at Applied Material, where he was first a product manager and eventually became the Executive Vice president for Engineering. 

The Precision 500, which led to a revolutionary change in chip making and enabled silicon wafers to be processed individually instead of in a big batch, became the first semiconductor-manufacturing system to be placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution. It is on display in the Information Age exhibit at the National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C. 

Sass later left Applied Material and became President of Novellus.

The “Traitorous Eight”

Photo from left: Dr. Gordon Moore, Dr. Sheldon Roberts, Eugene Kleiner, Dr. Robert Noyce, Dr. Victor Grinich, Julius Blank, Dr. Jean Hoerni and Dr. Jay Last.

After leaving Bell Telephone Laboratories, Dr. William Shockley, lead inventor of the transistor and Nobel Laureate 1957 in Physics, founded Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Mountain View, near his Palo Alto childhood home. 

Shockley’s engineering genius didn’t translate into management genius. In 1957, eight dissatisfied scientists (the “Traitorous Eight”) quit to create Fairchild Semiconductor.

The family tree of Fairchild Semiconductor includes almost all semiconductor and computer aided-design companies in the Silicon Valley.

The Traitorous Eight together with Stanford University Professor Frederick Terman, Stanford alumni David Packard and Stanford/MIT alumni William Hewlett earned the credits as founders of Silicon Valley.

Mr. Howard Vollum

Howard Vollum co-founded Tektronix by inventing the oscilloscope with time base and triggering capabilities, which allowed the engineers to measure electronic events precisely at the time interval specified.

He permeated the Tektronix culture for the next 40 years. People were called by their first name and there was no clock to punch because employees kept track of their own hours. There were no privileged parking spaces.

Tektronix was the most preeminent electronic instruments company, a leadership position that held up until Howard retired.

Mr. Bernie Vonderschmitt

Bernie was the inventor of the FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) and the father of the FPGA industry by co-founding Xilinx in Silicon Valley. Xilinx was the world leader in the FPGA market share.

FPGA is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing. Its configuration is generally specified using a hardware description language (HDL), similar to that used for an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC).

Dr. An Wang 王安博士

Dr. Wang was born in Shanghai.

He did formidable contribution in the field of magnetic core memory. His successful journey began when he created a pulse transfer device, together with a colleague, which is an important part of the development of magnetic core memory.

He followed this invention with the development of write-after-read cycle thus solving the destructive read out problem, inherent to magnetic core memory. This was a key breakthrough in making magnetic core memory devices a viable option for storing data.

Dr. Wang founded Wang Laboratories. The company became a market leader in desktop calculators and word processors. He was one time the number six wealthiest person in the USA as a result of his share ownership in Wang Laboratories.

Mr. George Westinghouse

George Westinghouse held 300+ patents. He both created new technologies and refined existing ones.

He was most famous for his invention, airbrake, which was used to stop the railroad train, and now the landing of the airplane.

He developed with Nikola Tesla a transformer that allowed the current to be reduced in power for use in cities, or increased in power for distribution across long distances. 

He founded Westinghouse Electric Corporation, which became the number seven largest corporation in the world in the early 70s.

Mr. Ted Wong

Ted was born in Hawaii. He spent his entire career at the Missile Systems Group of Hughes Aircraft.

Ted's early engineering assignments were in the systems analysis of sub-systems in US Air Defense Interceptor Aircraft. Among his innovations were snap-up attack against very high altitude targets, lead bias launch of early nuclear warheads, and implementation of LaGrange’s equations in an analog of high powered microwave tubes. He then served in a variety of supervisory positions in engineering analysis and design. Wong was then assigned responsibility for the preliminary system design of the revolutionary avionics and missiles incorporated on the then USA new front line aircraft: F-108 Fighter, YF-12 Reconnaissance Aircraft, and F-16 Fighter. As of 2016, the F-16 is the the second most common currently operational military aircraft in the world

Ted was subsequently promoted to President and General Manager of Missile Systems Group, and Senior Vice President of Hughes Aircraft Co. During his time at Hughes he also served on Hughes Policy Board and Management Executive Committee.