Gordon E. Moore

Home court advantage

In 1965, Moore’s law forever changed the world of technology. In that year, Gordon Moore (1929-2023) wrote an article predicting the future of the semiconductor industry—a prophecy that shaped the modern technology industry, giving early startups the confidence to invest in electronics. While Moore’s put his prediction in writing in 1965, he first articulated the idea to the ECS community during the Society’s San Francisco Section meeting in 1964.

In 1947, the stage was being set for a major change in the world of electronics, and the catalyst for that change was Bell Labs’ development of the transistor, which is the key technology behind modern day electronics. The development of the transistor would not only lead to a surge in solid state science, but also a major shift in ECS.

By the time Moore joined ECS in 1957, the membership of the Society’s Electronics Division had swelled tremendously—making it the largest Division in the Society at that time. With guidance from Moore and other young solid state revolutionaries, ECS’s Electronics Division began moving away from technologies that blossomed with the advent of the television (i.e., phosphors for fluorescent light bulbs and cathode ray tubes) in lieu of new, vibrant technologies growing out of Bell Labs in New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area.

In addition to the shift happening in the Society’s Electronics Division, a similar change was happening simultaneously in the Society’s San Francisco Section—the Section that Moore often referred to as his home court. Because of the ECS community established in the Bay Area, Moore’s law went from an independent notion to a revolutionary insight.