The American Experience: Season 24, Episode 14

Silicon Valley (19 Feb. 2013)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | History
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SILICON VALLEY tells the story of the pioneering scientists who transformed rural Santa Clara County into the hub of technological ingenuity we now know as Silicon Valley.

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Episode credited cast:
Leslie Berlin ...
Herself - Historian
Roger Borovoy ...
Himself - Fairchild Semiconductor Attorney
Kathleen Cohen ...
Herself - Palo Alto Resident
Andrew Grove ...
Himself - Fairchild Semiconductor (as Andy Grove)
Geri Hadley ...
Herself - Fairchild Semiconductor
Ted Hoff ...
Himself - Electrical Engineer
Ginger Jenkins ...
Herself - Fairchild Semiconductor
Victor Jones ...
Himself - Shockley Semiconductor
Jay Last ...
Himself - Physicist
Michael S. Malone ...
Himself - Writer
Regis McKenna ...
Himself - Marketing Consultant
Gordon Moore ...
Himself - Chemist
Himself / Narrator
Robert Noyce ...
Himself (voice) (archive footage)
Arthur Rock ...
Himself - Venture Capitalist


SILICON VALLEY tells the story of the pioneering scientists who transformed rural Santa Clara County into the hub of technological ingenuity we now know as Silicon Valley.

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19 February 2013 (USA)  »

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16:9 HD
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User Reviews

Where the Future Was Born
14 May 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Silicon Valley, the high-tech hotspot in Northern California, is an innovation-driven development center that never stops looking forward to the future. As a result, the sector's storied saga tends to get overshadowed by excitement over the next big thing. PBS's consistently impressive history series, "American Experience," points the spotlight in the other direction for an overdue look back, more than half a century, to the roots of modern startup culture. The program does an excellent job of tracing the events and innovations that laid the foundation for the information technology we enjoy today. The narrative is fittingly framed around the career of Robert Noyce, a brilliant physicist who co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and gave the reigning tech titan, Texas Instruments, a run for its money. His company pioneered the use of silicon as a semiconductor in transistors, and then parlayed those innovations into an inspired design for the integrated circuit. The application of that element in microchips caused the former orchard region, then known as the "Valley of Heart's Delight," to be redubbed "Silicon Valley." At the end of the 1960s, Noyce left Fairchild to co-found Intel, arguably the template for modern tech-driven companies like Apple and Google. Their introduction of the microprocessor in 1971 kick-started the digital age. Just as the microchip took the capacity of multiple transistors and shrunk them down, the microprocessor combined multiple integrated circuits and housed them on a single processor chip. What came after that is much more familiar to us these days, since they're used in everything from laptop computers and smartphones to microwave ovens and children's toys. For those wanting a better understanding of what led to modern computing (and the dotcom business culture), this program provides a great history lesson of the pre-PC era.

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