(NPR) A Rare Mix Created Silicon Valley's Startup Culture

In 1956, [William] Shockley won the Nobel Prize for co-inventing the transistor. His next dream was to make transistors out of silicon; he decided to set up his lab in Mountain View ”” near Palo Alto ”” largely for personal reasons.

“He’d grown up in Palo Alto,” Berlin says. Most importantly, she says, “his mother was still living in Palo Alto.”

Of course, it helped that nearby Stanford University was also doing federally funded electronics research. Shockley was a magnet who drew more brilliant scientists to the valley. Among them was Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and the man who would come up with Moore’s Law ”” the observation that the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every two years.

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