The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Robert Robson begins the interview with a discussion about growing up in South Dakota. He discusses his education, his involvement with the Army, and his early interest in electronics. He also details his move to California and his involvement with the electronics industry. He describes his employment at Farnsworth Electronics Incorporated and Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation. He describes his interaction with Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, Andrew Grove, and several other prominent industry leaders. At Fairchild, Robson became production superintendent of the Special Products Group. He left Fairchild after working there for four years. Robson continues the interview by describing his relationship with the semiconductor industry, along with his employment at Amelco, Teledyne, Intersil, and Microma. Robson was manufacturing manager at Amelco, and went on to found Microma, where they worked on the digital watch at its beginning. After two years, Robson sold Microma to Intel and bought a thousand-acre ranch where he and his wife, Sharleen, farm nuts. Finally, he discusses his friendship with Gordon and Betty Moore, describing fishing and hunting trips they took together.
|1955||South Dakota State University||BS||Industrial Engineering|
|1959||San Jose State University||Industrial Engineering|
Farnsworth Electronics Incorporated
Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation
Table of Contents
Childhood activities in South Dakota. Family background. High School. College. Army. Introduction to electronics.
Moving to California. Farnsworth Electronics Incorporated. Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation. Working with Gordon E. Moore, Robert Noyce, Andrew Grove, and other prominent industry leaders. Amelco Corporation. Teledyne Technologies. Microma Corporation. Early pioneer of digital watches. Intersil. Intel Corporation.
Fishing trips. Traveling. Gordon Moore and his family. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Industry leaders and coworkers. Women working and training. Special Productions Group. Transistors. Paul Henchliff and the invention of the planar process. Beginning of the microcircuit.
Rheem Semiconductor. Texas Instruments.
Amelco. Manufacturing Manager. Teledyne. Interacting with industry leaders. William Shockley. Wagon Wheel Bar. Rupe's.
Vice President of Manufacturing. Gene Troyer. Bipolar. CMOS. Leaving and forming Microma.
Farming. Relationship with Gordon and Betty Moore. Traveling. Fishing.
About the Interviewer
Christophe Lécuyer is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and he received a PhD in history from Stanford University. He was a fellow of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology and has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Virginia. Before becoming a senior research fellow at CHF, Lécuyer was the program manager of the electronic materials department. He has published widely on the history of electronics, engineering education, and medical and scientific instruments, and is the author of Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930–1970 (2005).
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.