Gordon Moore

2004 San Mateo County History Maker

Gordon Moore is co-founder of Intel Corporation and Chairman Emeritus of the Corporation’s Board of Directors. Prior to Intel, Gordon co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957. A California native, Moore earned his B.S. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. in Chemistry and Physics from the California Institute of Technology.

In 1968 Moore co-founded Intel, serving initially as Executive Vice President. He became President and Chief Executive Officer in 1975 and held that post until elected Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1979. In 1987 he relinquished the CEO title and was named Chairman Emeritus in 1997.

He is most widely known for his 1965 prediction that the number of transistors the semi-conductor industry would be able to place on a computer chip would double every 18 months. What was intended as a rule of thumb quickly became known as “Moore’s Law” and a guiding principle for the delivery of ever more powerful chips at proportionately lower costs. He updated Moore’s Law in 1975 from a doubling of chip capacity every 18 months to once every two years.

Moore is less well known for his philanthropic work even though he has been contributing to science, technology, education, and conservation projects for decades. He is currently the Chairman of the Executive Committee for Conservation International and a Director of Gilead Sciences, Inc. He is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology from 1995 until the beginning of of 2001 and continues as a Senior Trustee. He received the National Medal of Technology in 1990.

Gordon and Betty Moore are the co-founders of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which seeks to develop outcome-based projects that will improve the quality of life for future generations.