Fairchild Semiconductor Corp. was founded in 1957 by eight scientists who had left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories after being frustrated by a general lack of direction. They came to be known as the Shockley Eight or the "traitorous eight" by William Shockley, co-inventor of the transistor who was running Shockley Semiconductor. They had planned to sell themselves as a team to any company that wanted to get into the semiconductor market but there were no takers. One of the investment bankers they were dealing with steered them to Sherman Fairchild, the founder of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Company and Fairchild Aircraft. Sherman Fairchild loved technology and suggested they start their own company. Each of the eight put up $500 and Fairchild put up the rest. They were called Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation.

Their plan was to make lots of money by producing improved versions of the transistor. Although very successful as scientists in the lab none of them had any managerial experience. Robert Noyce, one of the eight, stood out as the likely candidate to run the new company and with the support of the others became president. Noyce had a talent for doing well at whatever he got into. It was at Fairchild Semiconductor that Noyce co-invented the integrated circuit. The company grew from about a dozen employees to over 12,000 employees and made hundreds of millions of dollars. In 1964, another of the Shockley Eight, Gordon Moore observed and casually predicted that the number of transistors that could fit onto an integrated chip would double every year. This became known as Moore's Law and still holds true more than 30 years later with an adjustment of 18 months instead of a year. Fairchild was among the first companies to pop up in Silicon Valley and during the 1960s was one of the most successful. They were bought out by their parent company keeping the name. A change in management led Moore and Noyce to leave Fairchild and in 1968 they formed Intel. Fairchild Semiconductor is still in business today but not nearly the shining star it was in the 1960s.

Scientific American - September 1997
Technology Review - May 2001
T.R. Reid,The Chip, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1984

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