updated 07:05 pm EDT, Fri September 23, 2011
Helped found model for a generation of start-ups
Julius Blank, one of the pioneers in computer chip manufacturing has died. Mr. Blank was a co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor, one of the first chip manufacturers and often thought of as a model for many high tech startups and early Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Blank was 86.
Blank graduated from City College in New York in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. In 1952, he joined Western Electric, where he helped design the equipment for making the first systems that allowed phone calls without any operator help.
In 1956, Blank joined Nobel Prize winning physicist William Shockley in his semi-conductor laboratory in Mountain View California. Shockley, ultimately became the chief advocate of eugenics, a type of race-based genetic engineering. Blank and seven of his colleagues left Shockley's lab abruptly the next year and founded Fairchild. Blank remained with Fairchild until 1969, when he left to become an investor and consultant. His partners, who had left previously, went on to found numerous successful start-ups including Intel, AMD, and National Semiconductor.
Although history has fully never explained why, Blank and his peers became known as the "Traitorous Eight." [via NY Times]