MT: How William Shockley’s Robot Dream Helped Launch Silicon Valley via @IEEESpectrum #robotics
But one intriguing thread has been entirely forgotten, if it ever was really known. It connects the Nobel Prize–winning physicist William B. Shockley , the chemist and industrialist Arnold O. Beckman , the automation craze of the 1950s, and Shockley’s vaulting imagination of a robotic workforce. Shockley’s pursuit of that vision, and his desire to profit from his own ideas, led him to leave a successful career at Bell Telephone Laboratories to pursue a company of his own on the West Coast. There, Shockley forged a partnership with Beckman and created his silicon electronics lab—the region’s first—in Mountain View, Calif., thereby seeding the dramatic transformations that would eventually lead to the emergence of Silicon Valley as the global epicenter for silicon electronics.