New Search

Leslie L. Vadasz

  • Born: September 12, 1936, Budapest, Hungary

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0311
Interview Dates: March 15, 2005 and April 19, 2005 and June 7, 2005
Locations: Los Altos, California; and Sonoma, California
Interviewers: David C. Brock and Christophe Lécuyer
No. of pages: 122
Sponsor: Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

  Abstract of Interview

Leslie L. Vadasz begins the first interview by describing his childhood in Budapest during World War II. Vadasz developed an early interest in mathematics and literature, and began an undergraduate mechanical engineering program before continuing in solid state physics at McGill University in Montreal. Vadasz worked on metal oxide semiconductor transistors at Transitron Corporation before joining Fairchild Semiconductor, where he helped develop the silicon gate process. In the second interview, Vadasz details the early efforts to produce memory devices at Intel Corporation, including erasable programmable read-only memory. Vadasz continues with the transition of Intel Corporation into a divisionalized structure and international extensions, at which time he became Vice President. Vadasz recounts his role as general manager of the microcomputer components division and its interactions with the semiconductor industry in the third interview. Vadasz began serving on the Board of Directors in 1988 and describes its place in assisting Intel management. He also explains the foundation of Intel Capital. Vadasz concludes the interview with remarks on the importance of technical knowledge in both developmental and managerial work.


1961 B.S.E.E., Electrical Engineering, McGill University
1990 AMP Harvard Business School

  Professional Experience

Transitron Corporation, Wakefield, Massachusetts

1961 - 1964 Technical Staff, Research and Development

Fairchild Semiconductor

1964 - 1968 Technical Staff, Research and Development

Intel Corporation

1968 - 1972 Technical Staff, Research and Development

Intel Corporation

1972 - 1975 Director, Engineering

Intel Corporation

1975 - 1979 Vice President

Intel Corporation

1976 - 1977 Assistant General Manager, Microcomputer Components Division

Intel Corporation

1977 - 1979 General Manager, Microcomputer Components Division

Intel Corporation

1979 - 1991 Senior Vice President

Intel Corporation

1979 - 1991 Director, Corporate Strategic Staff

Intel Corporation

1986 - 2002 General Manager, Systems Group

Intel Corporation

1988 - 2002 Member, Board of Directors

Intel Corporation

1991 - 2003 Executive Vice President

Intel Corporation

2002 - Present Director Emeritus, Board of Directors

Intel Capital

1991 - 2003 President

Harvard Business School

1991 Lecturer, System Group

Harvard Business School

2003 Lecturer, Internet Law Program

ZettaCore Inc., Englewood, Colorado

2003 - Present Member, Board of Directors


1977 Elected Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
1991 - 1996 Member, National Research Council Computer Science and Telecommunications Board
1997 - 2002 Member, Presidential Advisory Committee for Information Technology

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Childhood and Education 1

Family background. Youth in Budapest. World War II. Interest in Mathematics. High School. Undergraduate work in mechanical engineering. Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Emigration to Canada. Undergraduate work at McGill University.

Early Career 19

Materials Processing at Transitron Electronic Corporation. Fairchild Semiconductor. Complementary Transistor Logic (CTL). Shift Toward Design of Microcomputer by Component Manufacturers. Gordon E. Moore. Metal Oxide Semiconductor Technology Group. Personal Work on Metal Oxide Semiconductor Technology.

Formation of Intel Corporation 39

Andrew S. Grove. Semiconductor Memory. Director of Metal Oxide Semiconductor Engineering. Manufacturing-Design Communication. Marketing Role in Design. Microprocessor. Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory. Contribution to Microprocessor Production. Federico Faggin. Personal and Professional Interactions with Andrew Grove.

Expansion and Growth of Intel Corporation 67

Divisionalization of Intel. Establishment of Israel Facility. Memory. Vice President of Intel Corporation. Microcomputer Marketing and Design. General Manager of Microcomputer Component Division. Senior Vice President and Director of Corporate Strategic Staff Positions. Planning Process. Focus on Microprocessors. Board of Directors.

Intel Capital 97

Investment to Accelerate Semiconductor Market Penetration. Executive Support of Intel Capital. Networking Among Funded Firms. Digital Rights Management. Wi-Fi. Retirement. Broadband Communications Network. Conclusion.

Index 118

  About the Interviewers

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.

Christophe Lécuyer

Christophe Lécuyer is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and he received a Ph.D. in history from Stanford University. He was a fellow of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology and has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Virginia. Before becoming a senior research fellow at CHF, Lécuyer was the program manager of the electronic materials department. He has published widely on the history of electronics, engineering education, and medical and scientific instruments, and is the author of Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930–1970 (2005).

Hear It Firsthand

The Center for Oral History captures and preserves the stories of notable figures in chemistry and related fields, with over 425 oral histories that deal with various aspects of science, of scientists, and of scientific practices. For more information please visit CHF’s Oral History Program or e-mail oralhistory@

Annual Report

Annual Report
Take a look back at a year of preservation, research, and outreach in CHF’s annual report to supporters.

Support CHF

Help us preserve and share the history of chemistry and related sciences. Make a tax-deductible tax-deductible gift online.