We are entering a new era driven by technology. That being said, we didn’t get to this inflection point without innovation over the last 50+ years. Here are just a handful of the major breakthroughs over that time:
1961 – The silicon chip was invented by two American electrical engineers, Jack Kilby, and Robert Noyce. Their creation revolutionized and miniaturized technology and paved the way for the development of the modern computer. Until the chip was invented, most electrical devices were constructed using large, power-hungry vacuum tube technology. The development of transistors partially solved the problem, but these still had to be wired to circuit boards. Kilby and Noyce hit on the solution almost simultaneously, combining separate components in an integrated circuit made of a semiconductor material. Intel founder Noyce, working in Palo Alto, California, favored silicon and can thus be credited as the man who put the silicon in “Silicon valley.”
1964 – Roger Easton begins experiments that lead to the development of GPS (global positioning system), a ubiquitous feature of modern life. What began as a way of tracking satellites like Sputnik became a way for satellites to track us here on the surface of Earth.
1967 – Graduate student James Goodnight joins a project at North Carolina State University. The goal was to create a statistical analysis system (SAS) used by agricultural departments at colleges and universities. In 1976, SAS Institute became an independent, private business led by Goodnight.
1969 – Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to step onto the lunar surface of the moon.
ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) headed by J.C.R. Licklider is launched. Licklider’s idea of an intergalactic computer network, where everyone on the globe is interconnected with the ability to access programs and data at any site, from anywhere, begins to take shape.
1970 – Gordon Moore creates Moore’s Law, a computing concept which states that processor speeds, or overall processing power (the number of transistors on a CPU) for computers will double every two years.
Next week, I’ll share even more technological advances from the last 50 years or so. If you can’t wait until next week’s blog, be sure to check out my book, Blue Goldfish, which will dig a little deeper into technological advancements we’ve made since the 60’s.