I don’t think I would understand the contents of these notebooks, but I’d love to see them nonetheless. I couldn’t be writing this blog without them!
The founding documents of Silicon Valley — the tech equivalent of the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — were stacked on a table in the lobby of the Computer History Museum and the room was filled with a certain geeky giddiness.
And why not? The pile of patent notebooks inscribed with the names Noyce, Moore, Hoerni, Last and Grove, with their neatly printed notes and crudely sketched diagrams, led to the development of the integrated circuit, which in turn led to the PC, the Internet, the iPad, social networking and improvements to almost every device we use in daily life.
The books, encapsulating the early works of valley pioneers Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, Jean Hoerni, Jay Last and Andy Grove, arrived at the Mountain View museum this week as the last installment of a huge soon-to-be-announced donation from Texas Instruments. The chipmaker, through the acquisition of National Semiconductor, had ended up with a trove of documents from Fairchild, which National had previously purchased. Fairchild, of course, was the startup of Noyce, Moore and others that in the 1950s brought the silicon revolution to Silicon Valley.
“Every collecting museum in the world has its own version of the Dead Sea Scrolls that it would like to preserve forever and make available to the public and these notebooks are that for us,” says museum CEO John Hollar. “These are just absolutely priceless and they represent the essential beginnings of Silicon Valley.”