About David Laws

As semiconductor curator for the museum, David has contributed to exhibits, conferences, articles, and the oral history collection. He worked in Silicon Valley semiconductor companies, including Fairchild Semiconductor, Altera, and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), in roles from engineer to CEO for more than 40 years. He writes on topics from the pioneering days of the chip industry, to visiting gardens, to Steinbeck Country. His work has been published in broadcast, electronic, and print media formats, including the BBC and NPR, mobile apps, guide books, newspapers, magazines and academic journals.

Articles by David Laws(21)

Who Invented the Microprocessor?

Who Invented the Microprocessor?

The microprocessor is hailed as one of the most significant engineering milestones of all time. The lack of a generally agreed definition of the term has supported many claims to be the inventor of the microprocessor. This article describes a chronology of early approaches to integrating the primary building blocks of a computer on to fewer and fewer microelectronic chips, culminating in the concept of the microprocessor. Read More
The Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop and the Billion Dollar Toilet Seat

The Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop and the Billion Dollar Toilet Seat

 Aug 07, 2018 Curatorial Insight
A microprocessor-embedded Lucite toilet seat and colorful handheld sun umbrellas featured in a group photograph of attendees at the 44th Asilomar Microcomputer Workshop (AMW44) in April 2018 represent the irreverent sense of humor combined with the pursuit of cutting-edge technology and an unrelenting hacker ethic that have pervaded these influential annual meetings of “movers, shakers, nerds, and greybeards of the industry” since 1975. Read More
13 Sextillion & Counting: The Long & Winding Road to the Most Frequently Manufactured Human Artifact in History

13 Sextillion & Counting: The Long & Winding Road to the Most Frequently Manufactured Human Artifact in History

 Apr 02, 2018 Remarkable People
Scientists and engineers achieved the alchemist’s goal of turning low-value material into gold with the invention of the MOS (metal-oxide semiconductor) transistor. Read More
Fairchild Semiconductor: The 60th Anniversary of a Silicon Valley Legend

Fairchild Semiconductor: The 60th Anniversary of a Silicon Valley Legend

 Sep 19, 2017 Curatorial Insight
President Eisenhower’s Civil Rights Act, Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, and the launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union were respectively important social, cultural, and technical news stories of 1957. There is one event that year did not make headlines but over the next 60 years also profoundly impacted all three aspects of modern society. Read More
Harry Sello: Silicon Pioneer and Industry Personality (1921–2017)

Harry Sello: Silicon Pioneer and Industry Personality (1921–2017)

 Apr 14, 2017 Remarkable People
June 1968, I checked in at the lobby of the Fairchild R&D facility on Miranda Drive in Palo Alto. A distinguished gentleman with a huge grin rushed towards me and, energetically pumping my hand, greeted me like long lost friend. Read More
Fairchild, Fairchildren, and the Family Tree of Silicon Valley

Fairchild, Fairchildren, and the Family Tree of Silicon Valley

 Dec 20, 2016 Exponential Center
Through an unprecedented series of technical, business, and cultural innovations, Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation spawned hundreds of ventures that established Silicon Valley as a world center of entrepreneurial activity and technological leadership. Although the firm’s market valuation never exceeded $2.5 billion, its surviving combined progeny have been estimated to be worth over $2 trillion. Read More
Silicon Valley: A Century of Entrepreneurial Innovation

Silicon Valley: A Century of Entrepreneurial Innovation

The entrepreneurial, technology-driven roots of today’s Silicon Valley sprouted long before Google’s algorithms, Apple’s two Steves, Fairchild’s chipmeisters, or the egalitarian management innovations of Hewlett and Packard. Eager emissaries from less prosperous regions of the nation and foreign governments striving to the replicate the tech economy back home are often surprised to learn that Silicon Valley did not happen overnight. Read More
Beckman, Shockley and the 60th Anniversary of the Birth of Silicon Valley

Beckman, Shockley and the 60th Anniversary of the Birth of Silicon Valley

Sixty years ago, on February 14, 1956, two remarkable people addressed a luncheon for scientists, educators and the press at San Francisco’s Hotel St. Francis. One of the speakers would become one of the most successful businessmen and respected philanthropists of his generation. The other would go on to win a Nobel Prize, yet die in infamy. Read More
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