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Jay Last, One of the Rebels Who Founded Silicon Valley, Dies at 92

Jay Last, One of the Rebels Who Founded Silicon Valley, Dies at 92

J. Last, a physicist who helped create the world’s computer-powered silicon chips and who was one of the eight entrepreneurial companies that laid the technical, economic and cultural foundation for Silicon Valley, died on November 11 in Los Angeles. He was 92 years old.

His death at the hospital was confirmed by his wife and only immediate survivor Debbie.

Dr. Was completing his last Ph.D. In 1956, he approached William Shockley, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his invention of the transistor the same year. Dr. Shockley invited them to join a new effort to commercialize silicon transistors at a laboratory near Palo Alto, California, about 30 miles south of San Francisco.

Dr. Seeing Shockley’s intelligence and reputation, Dr. Last was surprised, but not sure about the job offer. Eventually, he agreed to join Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory because he was sitting in a valley in Northern California where he had been harvesting fruit in the summer after hitchhiking from his home in the Pennsylvania Steel Country.

But he and seven colleagues in his laboratory told Dr. Shockley, who later became infamous for his theory that blacks were genetically inferior to white people. He quickly left the lab to set up his own transistor company. He was later referred to as “The Traitor Eight” and his company, Fairchild Semiconductor, is now known as Ground Zero, now known as Silicon Valley.

In Fairchild, Dr. Last led a team of scientists who developed a basic technique that is still used to make computer chips, providing digital brains for billions of computers, tablets, smartphones and smartwatches.

David C., curator and director of the Software History Center at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Brock said, “Nothing was more important to the Silicon Valley experience than Fairchild Semiconductor. The founders of Fairchild had crystallized the momentum they still had, and Jay was at the center of it. “

Jay Taylor was last born on 18 October 1929 in Butler, Pa. His father, Frank, a German immigrant, and his Scotch-Irish mother, Sarah, met two of the three teachers at a high school. Ohio. After they got married, Frank Last felt he could not support the family on a teacher’s salary, so he moved to Pennsylvania, where he went to work at the new Butler Steel Mill, not far from Pittsburgh.

J. grew up in Butler before making his first pilgrimage to the West Bank at the age of 16. With the blessing of his parents – and a letter from the local police chief saying he was not running away from home – he moved to San Jose, California, which was then a small farming town. He had planned to make some money by picking fruit, but he arrived before the harvest could begin.

Until then, he lived, as he remembers in later years, on a daily nickel-priced carrot. “I got it when I was 16 and the problem isn’t so bad,” he told himself in an interview for the Chemical Heritage Foundation in 2004 when he had to deal with difficult situations.

At his father’s suggestion, he soon enrolled at Rochester University in New York to study optics – the physics of light. Returning home in the summer in Pennsylvania, he worked in a research laboratory that served local plate-glass manufacturers.

Fulfilling his promise as a teenager, he earned a doctorate at MIT before returning to Northern California and joining Shockley Lab. But Dr. He lashed out at Shockley’s extremely inquisitive and controlling management style.

“I was a lab assistant, and he was working with everyone,” he recalled in 2004. “It was not like everyone was coming together in a seminar and discussing what we were doing.” About a year later, he and his colleagues left to build the Fairchild semiconductor.

Using materials such as silicone and germanium, Dr. Shockley and two other scientists demonstrated how to create small transistors that would one day be used to store and move information in the form of electrical signals. The question was how to put them together to make a big machine.

After using chemical compounds to engrave the transistor into a sheet of silicon, Dr. Last and his colleagues cut each one out of the sheet and connected them with individual wires, just like any other electrical appliance. But it was extremely difficult, inefficient and expensive.

One of Fairchild’s founders, Robert Noyce, suggested an alternative method, and it was Dr. Last observed team noticed. They developed a way to bind both the transistor and the wire in a single sheet of silicon.

This method is still used to make silicon chips, whose transistors are now much smaller than those produced in the 1960s, according to Moore’s Law, the famous Maxim, proposed by another Fairchild founder, Gordon Moore.

Dr. After the death of Last, Dr. Moore is the last surviving member of the “traitorous eight.”

The leader of Fairchild Semiconductor, Dr. Moore co-founded Intel and Dr. Amelco, co-founded by Last, will build several other chip companies. The company’s founders and employees will create and invest in some of the leading Silicon Valley venture capital companies, such as Drs. Last was done, among the companies that have grown in the region over the decades.

Dr. The latter retired from the chip business in 1974 and spent the rest of his life as an investor, an art collector, a writer and an amateur mountaineer. His collection of African art was donated to the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his collection of citrus-box labels in California – echoes of teenage summer in Northern California – now in the Huntington Library, the Art Museum and the San Marino in San Francisco.

While completing his last Ph.D. In 1956, he was transferred to Butler, Pa. Here he was asked to take over as head of the glass laboratory, where he had worked over the summer. It seemed like a promising opportunity.

“I went and told my parents,” he recalled. “My mother said, ‘Jay, you can do so much better in your life.'”

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