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Episode Details

series: Silicon Valley: American Experience

air date: 6/04/13 2:00 AM

A startling announcement pulsated through a suburban garage in Santa Clara County, California, on October 4, 1957. There, some of the young founders of a new semiconductor company were busy talking to silicon suppliers, hounding realtors for office space, shopping for desks and poring over the names of young PhDs they hoped to poach from rival companies when they heard the shocking news: the Soviet Union had just launched the first artificial satellite into orbit around the earth. The group's leader, Robert Noyce, watched Sputnik flash across the darkened sky. He could not have known that he would play a key role in helping America win the space race. Noyce's innovation, the integrated circuit, would make an impact far beyond the Apollo program. It would shape the way Americans live, making possible smart phones and digital video recorders, pacemakers and microwaves. In telling the story of Noyce and the integrated circuit, this film looks at the monumental impact the microchip had on modern life and reveals the pivotal role Noyce played in transforming a fertile farmland into one of the most creative places on earth -- the hub of technological ingenuity we now know as Silicon Valley

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