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The Origins of Silicon Valley: Why and How It Happened

Stanford Pioneers
Paul Wesling

In this talk, Paul Wesling brings us back to early Stanford engineers, campus faculty kids around 1915, local Hams (amateur radio operators) trying to break RCA's tube patents, the sinking of the Titanic, angel investments, Fred Terman and Stanford University, local invention of high-power tubes (gammatron, klystron), WWII and radar, new approaches to running companies, and the San Francisco Bay Area infrastructure. These factors led to the semiconductor and integrated circuit industries being located here, and earned it the designation as “Silicon Valley”. In this exciting history of device technology development and innovation from 1909 through 1960, we "meet" some of the colorful characters -- Cyril Elwell, Leonard Fuller, Lee DeForest, Bill Eitel, Charles Litton, Russell Varian, Fred Terman, David Packard, Bill Hewlett and others -- who set leadership patterns for the worldwide electronics industries through their collaboration, inventions, process development, and allied management techniques. Here is where geeks now gather to start new companies that invent the future.