Friday, March 13, 2009

Not fair!

Look I know they did not seek the Nobel Prize. History has judged them favorably and they gained the deserved fame while they were alive (which cannot be said of all who deserve). But I cannot help thinking, "Not fair!"

In 1959 Robert Noyce came up with the design of Integrated circuit. It was silicon based. Independent of him Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments designed a Germanium based Integrated Circuit. Silicon is obviously a better solution - it is called The Silicon Valley, isn't it? Not Germanium Valley!

Kilby was awarded the Nobel prize in the year 2000. Noyce did not. Why? Because he died in the year 1990. Nobel prize is not awarded posthumously.

Who can you blame? The Nobel committee surely had their reasons to delay the award. But I can't help thinking: It took the Nobel committee upward of 40 years to realize the importance of Integrated Chip?

In any case, Noyce (along with Gordon Moore, yeah the same one who gave the Moore's Law) went on to create Intel. Contrary to popular belief, Andy Grove was not instrumental in establishing Intel. He joined the company as the first employee. That he took Intel to great heights is a different story Andy Grove: The life and Times of An American.

Picture courtesy: Ádám Bálint

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