Origins of Silicon Valley: How It Happened & Predictions for the Upcoming Years


Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm


Intel Corp. Auditorium (Building SC12)

Intel Corp. Auditorium (Building SC12)
3600 Juliette Lane
Santa Clara, CA 95054

The Intel Auditorium is in Building SC12. Park on the left in the back. Then, walk around to the front entrance.

Paul Wesling, Tandem Computers/H-P (retired), past IEEE SF Bay Area Communications Director, IEEE Life Fellow

Event Details


6:30 Doors Open, Food & Networking  
7:00 Presentation  

Special Event: Open to your entire family

Event co-sponsored by Intel Corporation


Why did Silicon Valley come into being, why is it successful, and where is it going? The story goes back to local Hams (amateur radio operators) trying to break RCA's tube patents, early Stanford engineers, the sinking of the Titanic, early "angel" investments, Fred Terman and Stanford, local invention of high-power tubes (gammatron, klystron), WW II and radar, new approaches to running companies, and the SF Bay Area infrastructure that developed – these factors pretty much determined that the semiconductor and IC industries would be located in the Santa Clara Valley.

Paul Wesling, an IEEE Life Fellow and Distinguished Lecturer, will give an exciting and colorful history of device technology development and innovation that began in Palo Alto with some Stanford grads, moved down the Peninsula, and spread across the Santa Clara Valley during and following World War II. You'll meet some of the colorful characters – Cyril Elwell, Lee DeForest, Bill Eitel, Charles Litton, Fred Terman, David Packard, Bill Hewlett, William Shockley, Jean Hoerni, Gordon Moore and others – who came to set leadership patterns for worldwide electronics industries through their inventions and process development and allied management techniques. This explosion of innovation continued through analog design, to digital, then to software, biotech, the graphical user interface, the Internet, mobile, Big Data, virtual reality, and now autonomous transportation. He'll end by telling us about some current local organizations and movements that keep alive the spirit of the radio Hams and the Homebrew Computer Club – ACM/IEEE, Maker Faire, MeetUps, and the other entrepreneurial groups where geeks gather to start new companies that invent the future – and his thoughts on technology developments expected in the next few years.

Speaker Bio

Paul Wesling received his BS in electrical engineering and his MS in materials science from Stanford University. Following assignments at GTE/Lenkurt Electric, ISS/Sperry-Univac, Datapoint Peripheral Products (VP - Product Integrity), and Amdahl (mainframe testing), he joined Tandem Computers in Cupertino (now part of Hewlett Packard) in 1985. He designed several multi-chip module prototypes, managed Tandem's Distinguished Lectures series, and organized a number of advanced technology courses for his Division and also for the IEEE. He managed a grant from the National Science Foundation for the development of multimedia educational modules. Paul retired from HP in 2001, and then served for 10 years as the Communications Director for the IEEE's S.F. Bay Area Council.

As vice president of publications from 1985 through 2008, he supervised four archival journals and a newsletter for IEEE's Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology (CPMT) Society. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, and received the IEEE Centennial Medal, the Board's Distinguished Service award, the Society Contribution Award, and the IEEE's Third Millennium Medal. He has organized over 500 courses for the local IEEE chapter in the Santa Clara Valley, many of them held at Stanford (and, more recently, at Silicon Valley company facilities). An Eagle Scout, he served as scoutmaster of his local Boy Scout Troop for 15 years, was Advisor of a High-Adventure Crew, and enjoys backpacking, fly fishing, guitar and amateur radio (call sign: KM6LH). 

Please RSVP on Meetup so we can estimate food.

Event page provided by ACM