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For Release on February 23, 2005


Henry Lowood

Rob Walker
Walker Research Associates

History of Fairchild Semiconductor
now available on DVD

STANFORD CA -- February 23, 2005 - Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR) today announce the release of The Fairchild Chronicles, a three-hour digital video documentary on Silicon Valley pioneer Fairchild Semiconductor.

Through interviews with the people who made it happen, the Fairchild Chronicles tells the story of the company that invented the integrated circuit, describing the events that spawned the first generation of Silicon Valley technology companies. The DVD was co-produced by Rob Walker from Walker Research Associates of Menlo Park, and Kevin Bomberry from Panalta, Inc. of Palo Alto, and is based on the Stanford University archival project “Silicon Genesis,” a series of video oral histories of Silicon Valley. It is available for $39.95 at Panalta, Inc. 250 Emerson Street, Palo Alto CA 94301. All revenues go to the Stanford University Libraries to continue chronicling the history of the semiconductor industry. The Fairchild Chronicles is also viewable online at:

The Fairchild Chronicles is told in the words of those who lead the company, including Gordon Moore, Wilf Corrigan, Jerry Sanders, and Charlie Sporck.  It covers the period from Fairchild’s founding in 1957 to the purchase of the company by National Semiconductor in 1986. Many anecdotes appearing throughout the DVD are revealed publicly for the first time.

"Scholars, teachers, and anyone interested in the history of high tech will welcome this DVD,” said Leslie Berlin of Stanford, author of "Entrepreneurship and the rise of Silicon Valley: the career of Robert Noyce, 1956-1990." (Stanford Ph.D. diss. 2001). “Rob Walker, himself a veteran of the semiconductor industry, has given us a rare chance to share the memories and hear the stories behind Silicon Valley's first successful chip company, Fairchild Semiconductor.”

The documentary is entirely drawn from material located within the Stanford University Libraries’ “Silicon Genesis” collection ( Silicon Genesis collection is unique in its careful attention to the long-term preservation of the interviews, and its innovative use of technology allowing for full text searching of interview transcripts and corresponding video.

“Silicon Genesis has been designed to meet many types of research needs, with full interviews available over the web or in archival formats, searchable video, and transcriptions,” said Dr. Henry Lowood, Curator for History of Science and Technology Collections, at Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR). “The Fairchild Chronicles extends this flexibility by offering a selection of clips from these interviews organized around a specific theme, demonstrating the ways in which the interviews offer different perspectives on a shared history.”

In addition to Dr. Lowood, Rob Walker has been the driving force behind both the documentary and the Silicon Genesis Project on which it is based. The Silicon Valley native and engineer has been involved with semiconductors since the 1960s at Fairchild and Intel, and as a founder of LSI Logic. Walker is also the author of Silicon Destiny: The Story of Application Specific Integrated Circuits and LSI Logic Corporation (Milpitas: C.M.C. Publications, 1992; available at His involvement in this project goes back to 1995.

“With the passing of Bob Noyce, I became convinced that the history of the pioneers of semiconductors and of Silicon Valley should be preserved on video oral histories. I was overjoyed when I found Stanford felt the same way, and so we began a collaboration that has continued since 1995 with more than 30 oral histories recorded to date,” said Rob Walker.

“The archival record of the semiconductor industry has always been a key component of our archives, beginning with the papers of William Shockley, and the historical records and photography collections of Fairchild, National and other companies,” said Dr. Henry Lowood. “The Silicon Genesis Project, which we started together with Rob Walker, has been our primary effort to add to that record through videotaped oral histories of semiconductor industry pioneers.”

"These informative and entertaining interviews literally put a face on the history of Silicon Valley. They were indispensable for my own work," said Ross Bassett, North Carolina State University, author of “To the Digital Age: Research Labs, Start-up Companies, and the Rise of MOS Technology (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2002).

"Silicon Valley -- the area immediately surrounding Stanford University-- is known throughout the world as the cradle of the semiconductor industry," said George Scalise, president of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). "SIA is very pleased to support the Stanford University Silicon Genesis Project, a unique program created to capture the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley in the words of the pioneers who made it happen."

In addition to the Fairchild Chronicles, several future projects drawing on the Silicon Genesis project are in the works, including one on the history of the development of the integrated circuit. “As the Silicon Valley Archives grow through new accessions such as the recently acquired photographic collection of Doug Menuez, Silicon Genesis will always stand out as one of our most frequently consulted resources.” said Henry Lowood. “Rob Walker and Kevin Bomberry have demonstrated the vast potential of an archive like ours. The material that we have currently, and continue to add, is really a treasure trove for research.”

See also:

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