Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, passed away on January 25, 2021 at the age of 94. Moore was an accomplished chemist and physicist, earning a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1950 and a Doctorate in physical chemistry and physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1954. After a brief interlude as a researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, Moore returned to his native San Francisco in 1956 to work for William Shockley, the co-inventor of the transistor, at the startup Shockley Semicondutor Laboratory in Mountain View. Moore and seven other Shockley employees soon decided to break away from Shockley and form their own startup, Fairchild Semiconductor, which was officially recognised by the State of California as the producer of the “first commercially practicable integrated circuit.”
Moore and Robert Noyce left Fairchild in 1968 to form Intel with the help of deal-maker Arthur Rock. Moore is most widely known today for a brief article that he published in Electronics magazine in April 1965, three years before he started Intel. In the article, Moore suggested that the only way to keep improving the performance of an integrated circuit would be to keep making the individual components in the circuit smaller. Moore presented two simple graphs in his article, one suggesting that the only way to keep improving the performance of an integrated circuit would be to keep making the individual components in the circuit smaller and one that suggested that this price-performance sweet spot, based on the ongoing miniaturisation of component sizes, had increased exponentially from 1962 to 1965. This prediction of exponential growth became known as Moore’s Law, and although it isn’t in any literal sense a law, and although we haven’t quite kept up with it in the way he predicted, we’ve come surprisingly close. The mark of a mage, Moore’s Law is a testament to his insight, importance, innovation, intellect and influence.
Moore’s legacy will live on through Intel and the countless other tech companies that he helped to shape. He will be remembered for his contributions to the tech industry, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his commitment to advancing science and technology. Moore’s passing leaves a void in the technology world, but his memory will continue to inspire generations of innovators and entrepreneurs.