Harry Sello

Born: March 20, 1921 | Chernihiv, UA
Headshot of Harry Sello

CHF Collections, Photograph by Douglas Lockard

Harry Sello begins his oral history interview with a review of his childhood which included emigration from Russia. Sello became interested in chemistry and completed undergraduate work in organic chemistry before applying this knowledge to his PhD research at the University of Missouri. William Shockley recruited him to Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. At Shockley and then at Fairchild Semiconductor, Sello worked on a variety of chemical aspects of semiconductor manufacturing. Sello concentrated on the transfer of silicon transistor technology to Societa Generale Semiconduttore in Italy, negotiating cultural and industrial boundaries. In 1980, he began Harry Sello Associates after Fairchild Semiconductor was sold to Schlumberger Exploration. Sello concludes the interview with reflections on his current role as an expert witness.

The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.

			

Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0300
No. of pages: 209
Minutes: 643

Interview Sessions

David C. Brock and Christophe Lécuyer
11 April 2004, 7 January and 16 March 2005

Abstract of Interview

Harry Sello begins the first interview with a review of his childhood which included emigration from Russia and a strong emphasis on education in his household. Sello quickly became interested in chemistry and completed undergraduate work in organic chemistry before applying this knowledge to his PhD research on the rearrangement of single molecules at the University of Missouri. He completed service in the United States Navy and modeled scaling-up procedures of flammable compounds at Shell Development Company. William Shockley recruited him to Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, from which he departed on suspicion of connection to the founders of Fairchild Semiconductor. At Shockley and then at Fairchild, Sello worked on a variety of chemical aspects of semiconductor manufacturing. At Fairchild Semiconductor, Sello concentrated on the transfer of silicon transistor technology to Societa Generale Semiconduttore in Italy, negotiating cultural and industrial boundaries. Sello remained with Fairchild Semiconductor during its decline, reorganizing research and production. In 1980, he began Harry Sello Associates after Fairchild Semiconductor was sold to Schlumberger Exploration. Sello concludes the interview with reflections on his current role as an expert witness.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1942 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign AB Chemistry
1944 University of Missouri MA Physical Chemistry
1948 University of Missouri PhD Physical Chemistry

Professional Experience

Shell Development Company

1948 to 1956
Research Chemist

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory

1956 to 1959
Senior Staff

Fairchild Semiconductor Research and Development Laboratories

1959 to 1981
Head of pre-production engineering section, Semiconductor Research Laboratory
1962 to 1964
Operations manager, Societa Generale Semiconduttore
1966 to 1967
Manager of Materials and Processes Department, Semiconductor Research Laboratory
1967 to 1968
Technical Planning Director, Research Laboratory
1968 to 1980
Technical Director, International Marketing Division

Harry Sello and Associates

1980 to 2006
President

Honors

Year(s) Award
2016

Pi Mu Epsilon, Mathematics Honorary

1944

Sigma Xi, National Research Honorary

1948

Sigma Xi, National Research Honorary

1976

Chairman, International Committee, American Electronics Association

1982

Chairman, International Committee, American Electronics Association

1990

Export Executive of the Year, Northern California District Office, US Department of Commerce

Table of Contents

Childhood and Early Education
1

Family history. Great Depression era. Relationship with father. Relationship with mother. Pastimes. High school interest in chemistry. Wright Junior College. Student employment. Laboratory work. University of Illinois. Organic chemistry. World War II draft. Encouragement for graduate school.

Graduate Years
31

University of Missouri. Worth H. Rodebush. George Vineyard. Master's thesis on penacol compounds. Service in the US Navy. PhD thesis. Shell Development Company.

Shell Development Company
49

Process Development Department. Scaling up of flammable material. Equipment modification. William B. Shockley. Tempest in a Text Tube television program. High school teaching. Photolithography.

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory
62

Psychological testing. William Shockley. Photolithography. Management style of William Shockley. Transistor packaging. Coworkers. Chih-Tang Sah. Jean A. Hoerni. Personnel management issues. Founding of Fairchild Semiconductor. Maurice Hanafin. Silicon wafer diffusion. Bell Telephone Laboratories.

Fairchild Semiconductor
77

Four-layer diode. Role at Fairchild Semiconductor. Gordon E. Moore. Pre-production. Work in Italy. NPN transistor. Transfer of technology. Germanium transistor in Europe. Societa Generale Semiconduttore. Materials and processes. Electromigration. Research and development. Soviet semiconductor market. Germanium transistor. W. Jerry Sanders. National Semiconductor.

Fairchild Semiconductor after Intel Corporation
165

Research and development. Loss of Gordon E. Moore and Robert N. Noyce. Technical planning. Partnership with Societa Generale Semiconduttore. International business. Licensing. Revenue. Bipolar and integrated circuits. Schlumberger exploration. Decline of Fairchild Semiconductor. Harry Sello and Associates.

Index
202

About the Interviewer

Christophe Lécuyer

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

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.