Carver A. Mead
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Carver A. Mead begins with a review of his family history and his childhood near a power plant in Kernville, California. He discusses his early interest in electronics, which included getting his ham radio license and working for local radio stations during high school. Mead studied electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology and was invited to teach during graduate school, where he took up solid state electronics. In 1959 Gordon Moore contacted Mead, beginning an informal technical exchange while Moore was at Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel Corporation. Mead conducted transistor research, and also pioneered automated design methodologies for VLSI devices. While consulting with Intel Corporation, Mead came to know its internal business culture and management style as well as the economics of the silicon manufacture. Mead discusses his long history of entrepreneurial activity, which continues to the present day.
|1956||California Institute of Technology||BSEE||Electrical Engineering|
|1957||California Institute of Technology||MSEE||Electrical Engineering|
|1959||California Institute of Technology||PhD||Electrical Engineering|
California Institute of Technology
Pacific Semiconductors, Inc.
Award for Achievement, Electronics Magazine
Centennial Medal, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Howard Pender Award
John Price Wetherhill Medal, Franklin Institute
Harry Goode Memorial Award, American Federation of Information Processing Societies
Honorary Doctorate of Science, University of Lund
Walter B. Wriston Public Policy Award, Hudson Institute
Honorary Doctorate, University of Southern California
Award for Outstanding Research, International Neural Network Society
Secretary of the Navy Captain Robert Dexter Conrad Award
John Von Neumann Medal, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Phil Kaufman Award, Electronic Design Automation Consortium
Allen Newell Award, Association for Computing
Lemelson-MIT Prize, Invention and Innovation
Computer History Museum Fellow Award
Dickson Prize in Science
National Medal of Technology
Table of Contents
Family background. Childhood in Kernville, California. World War II. Significant Childhood Experiences. Interest in Electronics. Amateur Radio. High School. California Institute of Technology. Work Ethic. Teaching. Early Semiconductor Industry.
Graduate School. Family. Consulting. California Institute of Technology Faculty. Undergraduate Thesis. Employment Search. Teaching at California Institute of Technology. Graduate Research. Gordon Moore. Personal Relationship with Gordon Moore. Early Transistor Research.
Intel Corporation. Management at Intel. Role of Japanese in Semiconductor Industry. Gordon Moore. Moore's Law. Automation of VLSI Device Design. Silicon Valley Spinoffs. Pacific Semiconductor, Inc. Device Innovation at Intel. Early Intel Business Culture. Uncertainty in Semiconductor Industry. Relationship with Intel Corporation Management. Organization of Intel. Integrated Circuit. Fabrication Processes. Silicon Design.
Involvement with Start-Up Companies. Foveon, Inc. Impinj, Inc. Reflections. Youth. Immediate Family and Children. Nathan Mead. Residence in Woodside, California.
About the Interviewer
Arnold Thackray founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and served the organization as president for 25 years. He is currently CHF’s chancellor. Thackray received MA and PhD degrees in history of science from Cambridge University. He has held appointments at Cambridge, Oxford University, and Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In 1983 Thackray received the Dexter Award from the American Chemical Society for outstanding contributions to the history of chemistry. He served for more than a quarter century on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the founding chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and is currently the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus.
David C. Brock is a senior research fellow with the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. As a historian of science and technology, he specializes in the history of semiconductor science, technology, and industry; the history of instrumentation; and oral history. Brock has studied the philosophy, sociology, and history of science at Brown University, the University of Edinburgh, and Princeton University.
In the policy arena Brock recently published Patterning the World: The Rise of Chemically Amplified Photoresists, a white-paper case study for the Center’s Studies in Materials Innovation. With Hyungsub Choi he is preparing an analysis of semiconductor technology roadmapping, having presented preliminary results at the 2009 meeting of the Industry Studies Association.