Milestone-Proposal talk:The Birthplace of Silicon Valley


Thread titleRepliesLast modified
wordsmithing001:34, 14 August 2013
advocate endorsement223:23, 13 August 2013
Hiro Kawamoto endorsement013:23, 13 August 2013
Conflict with HP?403:25, 12 August 2013


The sentence about the traitorous 8 is confusing and out of context with someone unfamiliar with the story. I suggest either deleting the reference or making it more clear.

I suggest changing one of the references to Silicon Valley in the first sentence to the actual geographic valley where it is located.

Allisonmarsh01:34, 14 August 2013

advocate endorsement

Birthplace of Silicon Valley: This IEEE Milestone is intended to celebrate the origin of Silicon Valley as manifested in the pioneering research and development related to silicon devices of Shockley and, subsequently, colleagues and former colleagues. This Milestone proposal is clear and, along with its many references, is comprehensive.

As the IEEE History Committee's advocate for this Milestone, I wholeheartedly endorse it. Silicon Valley--incorporating the name "silicon" associated with the development and understanding of silicon devices that was accomplished in Mountain View, California--was and remains a model for enduring entrepreneurship. It is a most memorable feature of technology's landscape in Silicon Valley.

The location for the Milestone plaque is ideally situated in a public space--within a new town center for Mountain View, California--that will celebrate technology's benefits.

Background: During the pre-World War II years, Frederick Terman, a leading engineering educator at Stanford University, advocated for a research park that would tap into the entrepreneurial spirit and talent associated with Stanford University. He believed that support for business ventures founded on the intellectual property stemming from research linked with the institution would benefit many constituencies of the institution as well as the institution itself. This all came to pass at the Stanford Research Park, highlighted by the early, and vacuum tube based, work in electronics of two graduates of Stanford--William Hewlett and David Packard. The Stanford Research Park became the foundation for an enduring entrepreneurial spirit that has benefitted society out of the discoveries and developments of researchers at start-up companies within and outside the boundaries of the Stanford Research Park.

With the subsequent move to solid-state electronics in the work on silicon based devices of William Shockley and colleagues in the near-by city of Mountain View, the domain of opportunities expanded beyond the Stanford Research Park. And, over the course of a number of years this larger domain became a phenomenon known as Silicon Valley in the decades following Shockley's accomplishments for which he subsequently became a Nobel Laureate.

Simply put, Terman with Hewlett and Packard planted a seed--the Stanford Research Park --that fostered an enduring entrepreneurial spirit well beyond the Stanford Research Park. The pioneering research and development on silicon based science and electronics by Shockley and others at the site of the Shockley facility in Mountain View, set the stage for the now well instantiated name Silicon Valley.

Most of these observations are to be found in the comprehensive article “Silicon Valley”, referenced in the Silicon Valley Birthplace Milestone proposal and available at the URL And, most of all, it emphasizes the centrality of silicon and silicon based technology in the naming of the region. This is evident in The following quotation from this article: “Silicon (of Silicon Valley) refers to the high concentration of companies involved in the making of semiconductors (silicon is used to create most semiconductors commercially)”.

Tbickart02:04, 20 July 2013

The term birth has some biological foundations. A person that is born at location Y may have been conceived at location A. So if we recognize the conception location and the birth location we can have two different locations. Since, as it was pointed out California already recognizes the HP location as the birth location; might it be possible to use another word in this case? The place deserves a Milestone and therefore a plaque. We already had a debate in the US about being born in Indonesia or Hawaii, but not both. Are there any parallels here?

I.engelson23:52, 10 August 2013

I understand and share the interest in recognizing the role of "The Silicon Valley" not only in the History of Technology but much more than that, its significance in shaping our modern Civilization.

We have to be careful; many more Milestones could well be proposed recognizing things directly related to this one, now and in the next years.

This is a subject that with the multiplying of Milestone Porposals will get complicated: which are the "points of contact" and relations to already approved, existing milestones ?

Perhaps each new proposal might include at least a list mentioning related Milestones. That could also be added by our staff?

Juancarlos23:23, 13 August 2013

Hiro Kawamoto endorsement

Edited by 2 users.
Last edit: 13:23, 13 August 2013

I enthusiastically support this Proposal, which I have had in my mind. In 1849 people came to Coloma, California, to dig “gold.” Since 1955, people come to Mountain View, California, to make “silicon” transistors. Now the State of California has made the city of Coloma a Sate Historical Park, but unfortunately it named the HP garage the "Birthplace of Silicon Valley," which was not quite correct. When Hewlett and Packard started development of the frequency meter, they used vacuum tubes rather than silicon transistors, which did not exist at the time. Therefore, it was not the start of “silicon” valley, if it was the start “high-technology” valley. Anyway we do not fight city hall and we need to be creative. Avoiding the “start” of Silicon Valley, I like to propose to call Shockley Labs “the nucleus” of Silicon Valley; of course, nucleus is the central inner particle of silicon atom.

Another suggestion; I would like to ask the Proposer to add one more location for placing the plaque, a famous bar in the Valley. There, engineers from neighboring such as National Semiconductors and Advance Micro Devices gathered at night, and openly discussed how to design silicon circuits over drinks. In the following morning, they reported to their offices and put the ideas into practices. It is unthinkable from the present world of confidentiality and intellectual property right. This could happen because all those engineers were either children or grand children of Shockley Labs, This free atmosphere at the dawn of industry accelerated the progress of silicon technology and Silicon Valley. Unfortunately I have forgotten the name of the bar. It could be Kirk’s restaurant in Palo Alto [Joel Shurkin, BROKEN GENIUS-The rise and fall of William Shockley, page 173, Mamillan 2006]. Grab any silicon engineer in the area back in 1960-1970, the engineer knows the name of the bar.

Hiro Kawamoto

Kawamoto12:42, 13 August 2013

Conflict with HP?

Will there be any issue with the fact that the California State Parks Office of Historic preservation has already named the HP garage as a State Historical Landmark with the designation "Birthplace of Silicon Valley"?

--Mike Geselowitz

Administrator522:43, 18 June 2013

Mike, Answer NO. see email forward just sent to you. Dick

Richard Ahrons19:58, 27 June 2013

Just added a number of references that say either Birthplace of Silicon Vally or Birth of Silicon Valley for Shockley Labs. Other than supporting "Birthplace", they do not add significantly to the proposal.

Richard Ahrons21:53, 27 June 2013

This is a fine proposal, although obviously unique, since it commemorates the birth of an entire industry rather than a specific device or system. I would just add the date "1955" somewhere in the plaque write-up.

Mischaschwartz15:39, 7 August 2013

The nature of proposals submitted to apply for an IEEE Milestone has evolved along the years become more relaxed over time.

Very remarkable technical achievements have been awarded, such as Volta’s Electric Battery, just to quote one out of many of them available. But also a book (1751 Franklin’s one), a set of equations (Maxwell’s one), or even some kind of software package (SPICE) have also been passed in order to win such a meritorious distinction.

In addition, it has become a common place for this Committee to recognize some historic sites where something extraordinary has been probed to happen. That is the case of Menlo Park Labs, West Orange Labs, Marconi’s House at Pontecchio, Bletchley Park, MIT Radio Lab, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, etc. Without any doubt, all of them are very focused sites where outstanding contributions were carried out.

The question now is whether going one step forward and takes into account not only a site but also a region is the most convenient move. It is not, for sure, a trivial thing. What kind of consequences can such a decision has? Does it mean that absolutely everything (companies, labs, people, etc.) that stood and still stands on that region has been or still is extraordinary in terms of technical progress and advance for the humanity? Does it mean that HP, Google, Apple, Oracle, and so many other well and not so well known companies, which have not still applied for any Milestone, would be also awarded? Or, more formally, shouldn’t all companies and people inside such a region have agreed on the application for the Milestone? I am not sure about the answers.

Anyway, what I might see very reasonable is to award the very first company established in a valley of California that later became such a renowned worldwide brand as “Silicon Valley”. But not award the valley itself.

Apyuste03:25, 12 August 2013