The Story of Robert Noyce: Intel Co-Founder

On this day, December 12 in the year 1927, the inventor of the microchip that revolutionized the electronics industry was born in Iowa, United States of America. His name was Robert Norton Noyce, the co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel Corporation.

Robert Noyce
Robert Noyce (Credit:

Robert Noyce was the third of four sons of a clergyman. At the age of 12, he invented a big toy aircraft, a radio, and a motorized sled. He studied physics at Grinnell College in Iowa and earned a PhD in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953. After graduation, he got a job as research engineer at Philco Corporation in Philadelphia. Three years later, he joined William Shockley at the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, a division of Beckman Instruments. In 1957, he co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation, along with 7 others. In 1959, he was awarded a patent for integrated circuit.

In 1968, Robert Noyce joined Gordon Moore and Andrew Grove to established Intel Corporation with the financial backing of Arthur Rock. Intel went on to pioneer in the mass production of the integrated circuit (microchip). In 1970, it went public. With the advent of the personal computer in the early 1980s, Intel became the foremost producer of microprocessors. In 1991, the company began to use its trade mark “Intel Inside”. Later, in that decade, it released its Pentium line of microprocessors which became a household name.

Robert Noyce died of heart attack in 1990 at the age of 62. He married twice and had 4 children. In 2015, Fairchild was acquired by On Semicondustor. On the other hand, Intel became a leading microprocessor supplier with revenues of more than $72 billion in 2019 and a market capitalization of $202.9 billion, according to Fortune magazine.


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