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Jay T. Last

  • Born: October 18, 1929, Butler, Pennsylvania

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0292
Interview Date: June 21, 2004
Location: Beverly Hills, California
Interviewer: David C. Brock
No. of pages: 132
Sponsor: Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

  Abstract of Interview

Jay T. Last begins the interview with a description of his family background and youth during the Great Depression and World War II. He reviews his undergraduate education at the University of Rochester and his graduate work in the von Hippel lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There he completed doctoral research on the structure of barium titanate under an IBM fellowship. He was later invited to join Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. He soon departed as one of the "Traitorous Eight" to form Fairchild Semiconductor, where he focused on the etching process for the mesa transistor. During this time, Last formed a close friendship with Jean A. Hoerni and began collecting African art. Last then supervised the creation of the integrated circuit. In 1961, he left Fairchild Semiconductor to join Teledyne to create more elaborate circuits. Teledyne mass-produced complex circuits for military, private corporations, and internal use. Last reviews the business climate of Silicon Valley that supported numerous spin-offs and discusses the dynamics of the American and international semiconductor industries. He then recounts his private investments, including that in Intel Corporation, and relates Gordon E. Moore's contributions to Intel Corporation. Last concludes with his personal involvement with the Archeological Conservancy, his African art collection, and publishing.


1951 B.S., Optics, University of Rochester
1956 Ph.D., Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  Professional Experience

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, Mountain View, California

1956 - 1957 Senior Technical Staff

Fairchild Semiconductor, Palo Alto, California

1957 - 1959 Senior Technical Staff, Cofounder

Fairchild Semiconductor, Palo Alto, California

1959 - 1961 Head of Integrated Circuit Development

Amelco Corporation, Gardenia, California

1961 - 1966 Director of Research and Development Cofounder

Teledyne Technologies, Inc., Gardenia, California

1966 - 1974 Vice President, Research and Development

Sierra Monitor Corporation, Milpitas, California

1980 - Present Director

Archeological Conservancy, Albuquerque, New Mexico

1980 - Present President

Hillcrest Press, Inc., Santa Ana, California

1982 - Present President

Think Outside, Inc., San Jose, California

1998 - Present Member, Board of Directors


1999 Hutchinson Medal, University of Rochester

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Childhood 1

Family History. Literary Interest. High School. Frank Preston. Hitchhiking to California. Independence as Youth. World War II.

Education 13

University of Rochester, Optics. Kodak Eastman Company. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Arthur von Hippel. Graduate Research. IBM Fellowship. Independence as Researcher. Research at the Metalografiska Institute. Career Choices. William B. Shockley. Hiring Practices.

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory 36

Compartmentalization of Research. Development of Processes. William B. Shockley's Management Style. Personal Relationships Among Fairchild Co-founders. Plan to Form Fairchild Semiconductor. Obtaining Financing. Arthur J. Rock.

Fairchild Semiconductor 56

Founding Fairchild Semiconductor. Planar Process. Weekly Meetings. Edward Baldwin. Finances. Rock Climbing. African Art Collection. Integrated Circuit at Fairchild Semiconductor. Production of Integrated Circuit. Management Structure of Fairchild Semiconductor. Contributions of Jean A. Hoerni.

Teledyne Incorporated 84

Founding of Teledyne Incorporated. Gordon E. Moore. Structure of Teledyne Incorporated. Analog Integrated Circuits. Kyocera Corporation. Financial Issues. Semiconductor Industry. Amelco Corporation. Products. Leaving Teledyne Incorporated. Venture Investments of Jay T. Last.

Conclusion 114

Socialization with Fairchild Cofounders. Investing in Intel Corporation. Gordon E. Moore. Material Technology and Semiconductor Innovation. Education. Art Collection. Archeological Conservancy. Academic Writing.

Index 127

  About the Interviewer

David C. Brock

David C. Brock is a senior research fellow with the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. As a historian of science and technology, he specializes in the history of semiconductor science, technology, and industry; the history of instrumentation; and oral history. Brock has studied the philosophy, sociology, and history of science at Brown University, the University of Edinburgh, and Princeton University.

In the policy arena Brock recently published Patterning the World: The Rise of Chemically Amplified Photoresists, a white-paper case study for the Center’s Studies in Materials Innovation. With Hyungsub Choi he is preparing an analysis of semiconductor technology roadmapping, having presented preliminary results at the 2009 meeting of the Industry Studies Association.

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