The Caltech Archives is proud to announce the production of a series of videos where Professor Carver Mead, the pioneer of modern microelectronics, tells the story of the realization of his 'first chip' and of the first VLSI course.
The first video, titled 'My First Chip' starts from the time when he met Gordon Moore, who would soon predict that every year the semiconductor industry would double the number of transistors that could be fabricated on a commercial integrated circuit. Carver Mead and his students worked on the physics of ultra-small transistors, and showed that, in addition to allowing greater density, they ran faster and used less power. This work proved that Moore's prediction did not violate any laws of physics, and it became known as 'Moore's Law'–the term coined and made famous by Mead. The second video, still in production, will cover the inception of the first VLSI course and its development and impact on the world.
Professor Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, has made seminal contributions to microelectronics that include the physics of nanostructures, the development of tools and techniques for modern integrated-circuit design, laying the foundation for fabless semiconductor companies. He has taught generations of engineers that have made fundamental contributions to the development of modern microelectronics. He continues to be actively involved in research, currently in gravitation and electromagnetism.
He has also donated his papers, correspondence, lectures, audio-visual recordings, chip layouts and masks, small apparatus and other materials to the Caltech Archives.