Robert Noyce: Grinnell & Intel

Originally posted on September, 2017 by Research Communiqué


Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.

—William James[i]

In one of those “it’s a small world” occurrences, the small town of Grinnell, IA  caught my attention recently. Grinnell is called the “Jewel of the Prairie” and not just because it is a nice place to live. Intel co-founder, Robert Noyce, the co-founder of Intel, grew up in Grinnell. Grinnell also happens to be my family’s home town and where I was born.

Dr. Noyce and my father, Bob Neighbors, graduated from Grinnell High School in May 1945, between the end of World War II in the European and Pacific theaters. Dr. Noyce attended Grinnell College. Grinnell College also is my father’s, my husband’s and my alma mater. Many of Grinnell College’s alumni—Herbie Hancock, for example—have made substantive contributions to the world.

Dr. Noyce and his collaborator, Dr. Gordon Moore, started Intel in 1968 and invented the first metal oxide semiconductor static RAM microprocessor in 1969. Tech Republic has published a history of Intel innovations. These innovations are based on the work of Dr. Noyce and Dr. Moore.

In my small part of the world, the computers that were made possible by the innovations of Dr. Noyce and Dr. Moore are very important. My work as a researcher depends on computers. There’s an Intel Core i7 microprocessor in the computer that I’m using to write this post and an Intel Core M processor in my tablet computer.

What Dr. Noyce and Dr. Moore did makes a difference. Dr. Noyce’s contribution originated in the small town in Iowa where I was born.

It’s a small world after all.


[i]William James (1908). Letter to Helen Keller



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