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The “Traitorous Eight”

Fairchild Semiconductor founders

The “Traitorous Eight” pose under the “Flying F” logo in the company’s Mountain View lobby. From left: Gordon Moore, Sheldon Roberts, Eugene Kleiner, Robert Noyce, Victor Grinich, Julius Blank, Jean Hoerni and Jay Last.

The “Traitorous Eight”

After leaving Bell Telephone Laboratories, William Shockley founded Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Mountain View, near his Palo Alto childhood home.

Shockley’s engineering genius didn’t translate into management genius. In 1957, eight dissatisfied scientists (the “Traitorous Eight”) quit to create Fairchild Semiconductor. Good timing: Sputnik was launched one month later, and the Space Race accelerated demand for silicon transistors.

William B. Shockley (1910-1989)

The co-inventor of the transistor founded Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in 1955 "to engage promptly and vigorously in activities related to semiconductors." He recruited "the most creative team in the world for developing and producing transistors."

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Nobel Prize celebration

At Rickey’s hotel in Palo Alto, William Shockley celebrated the news of his 1957 Nobel Prize in Physics with his employees, including Jay Last, Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce and Sheldon Roberts.

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Silicon Valley's First Chip Company

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, Silicon Valley’s first chip company missed the silicon transistor market, focusing instead on an ill-fated four-layer diode for telephone systems.

Shockley four-layer diode brochure

This brochure promotes Shockley’s 4-layer PNPN diode for switching applications. Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory was acquired by Clevite Corporation and renamed Shockley Transistor.

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Related Content
Learn more about William Shockley and how silicon came to Silicon Valley

William Shockley introduces silicon to Silicon Valley

William Shockley wins the Nobel Prize in Physics

Fairchild Semiconductor produces Silicon Valley’s first commercial devices

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