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