Gordon E. Moore, 1929-2023 – WSJ

The legendary Intel Corp. co-founder Gordon Moore


Ben Margot/Associated Press

The last half of the 20th century was an era of American business invention and economic leadership, and one of the men who defined that era and launched the digital economy was

Gordon E. Moore.

The co-founder of

Intel Corp.

died Friday at age 94.

Moore was present at the creation of the locus of innovation in northern California that became known as Silicon Valley. After studying at UC Berkeley and Cal Tech and a stint at Johns Hopkins studying solid rocket propellant, he moved to California to work on the nascent technology of transistors in

William Shockley’s

semiconductor laboratory.

He soon left with others to join what became Fairchild Semiconductor, the company that spawned dozens of startups and from which the Valley grew. In 1968 Moore and the legendary

Robert Noyce,

co-inventor of the integrated circuit, founded Intel, which married technology with precision design and engineering to become world leader in memory chips.

Moore became president in 1975 and CEO in 1979 until 1987 and remained as chairman until 1997. As competitors rose in Asia, Intel leapt ahead again in the 1980s and 1990s by innovating on advanced microprocessors.

Moore is most famous as the author of Moore’s Law, which posited that the number of transistors per silicon chip doubles every year. He later changed that to every two years, but the law has held with remarkable durability despite the difficulty of crowding transistors ever more closely together. This has made it possible to put far more computing power in the hands of the average person than was imagined at the dawn of the computer age.

It’s a sign of America’s relative economic decline that Intel is one of the firms that lobbied for subsidies in last year’s Chips Act. But that shouldn’t obscure the accomplishments of Noyce, Moore, later Intel CEO

Andrew Grove,

and others who made possible the advances that transformed the world economy and contributed to the greatest and most broadly based prosperity in human history.

Moore’s life and career are a reminder of a golden age in U.S. entrepreneurship. The challenge of our era is rediscovering the educational standards and freedom that helped to make his achievements possible.

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Appeared in the March 27, 2023, print edition.


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