Shocker Shockley


I remember in 1996 reading Robert X Cringely’s Accidential Empires and finding out some of the colour behind Silicon Valley which made it more interesting than just a group of nerds beavering away directly above an unstable earthquake fault that could swallow them up like Godzilla on the march through Tokyo.One person Cringely did not fill in the colour on was William Shockley. Without Shockley there would not have been any Silicon Valley in Northern California and it would have been called Germanium Valley.

Shockley invented the transistor, but was such a repulsive personality that eight of his best employees left his company Shockley Seminconductor Laboratory to set up Fairchild Semiconductor and then later on Intel.

Anyway, you can find out more in a book that has been launched called Broken Genius; one for the beach this summer I think.