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The Origins of Silicon Valley: Why and How It Happened Here

Speaker:Paul Wesling, IEEE Life Fellow and Distinguished Lecturer (HP-retired)
Sponsor:ILC Trust Fund
When:Wednesday, May 1, 2019 (networking/wine/appetizers at 6:45 PM; lecture at 7:30 PM)
Where:Immanuel Lutheran Church, 14103 Saratoga Ave, Saratoga (see on map)
Cost:free
Registration:register with eventbrite

Why did Silicon Valley come into being? The story goes back to local Hams (amateur radio operators) trying to break RCA's tube patents, Stanford "angel" investors, the sinking of the Titanic, Fred Terman and Stanford University, local invention of high-power tubes (gammatron, klystron), WW II and radar, William Shockley's mother living in Palo Alto, and the SF Bay Area infrastructure that developed -- these factors pretty much determined that the semiconductor and IC industries would be located in the Santa Clara Valley, and that the Valley would remain the world's innovation center as new technologies emerged - computers, software, mobile, biotech, Big Data, VR, and now autonomous vehicles - and it would become the model for innovation worldwide.

Paul Wesling, an IEEE Life Fellow and Distinguished Lecturer, has observed the Valley for decades as an engineer, executive, resident, and educator, and has presented this talk world-wide. He gives an exciting and colorful history of device technology development and innovation that began in Palo Alto, then spread across the Santa Clara Valley during and following World War II. You will meet some of the colorful characters - Leonard Fuller, Lee De Forest, Bill Eitel, Charles Litton, Fred Terman, David Packard, Bill Hewlett, Russ Varian and others - who came to define the worldwide electronics industries through their inventions and process development. You will understand some of the novel management approaches that have become the hallmarks of tech startups and high-tech firms, and the kinds of engineers/developers who thrive in this work environment. He will end by telling us about some current local organizations that keep alive the spirit of the Hams, the Homebrew Computer Club, and the other entrepreneurial groups where geeks gather to invent the future.

Reviews by Stanford Historical Society Members
Excellent speaker!! Great grasp of materials and breadth of his knowledge.
The speaker was clear, the information was very interesting. It gave connections to companies' origins that I previously did not know about.
This was one of the best speakers we have heard in a long time. He covered the "Silicon Valley" lecture with a perfect timeline and lots of good details.
Great speaker, interesting and pertinent topic, both informative and entertaining.



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