[ExI] shockley's lab

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Aug 5 20:16:24 UTC 2014


I am explaining to Isaac why this spot is ground zero for the entire electronics revolution, 391 San Antonio Road in Mountain View:


 Anders took all these photos except this one:


 Astonishing, appalling decay in a building where the integrated circuit was born:


After Shockley went crazy, several of his employees rebelled and started their own company called Fairchild Semiconductor.  The Milpitas annex of Fairchild invented the LCD.   The Mountain View lab later became a Mexican vegetable and produce stand, then later a Halal butcher shop.  Clearly the last occupants were economizing on signs, by repurposing the taped-lettered La Fiesta Super Market and painting over La Fiesta rather than getting a ladder and peeling off the tape:


 About 20 yrs ago, there was a big debate at the local historical society.  They just couldn’t decide if the lab in which the integrated circuit was invented was worthy of preservation.  They saved a 1950s era neon sign of a diving woman in front of a local motel, this being a fine example of suburban tackiness.  The one-piece bathing suit and rubber bathing cap were all the rage in those benighted times.  The historical society saved a hotdog stand on the periphery of San Jose State U, which was shaped like an orange.  Indeed.  It dated back to the 1930s as a hotdog stand.  The orange décor was added in the late 40s.  This made it historic by the Silicon Valley’s standards.  Both the tacky diving woman and the orange hotdog stand were saved.  But Shockley’s lab, which spawned our modern world failed to make the cut.  Merely inventing our modern world was deemed insufficiently significant from the historical society’s point of view. 

 Someone came up with the money to do this:


 Knowing that I was on hallowed ground, I removed my shoes and covered my head in accordance with Exodus chapter 3 verse 5.  None of the local bushes were on fire, but I felt a burning within my heart, at how truthy was this place.  Deeming myself unworthy of touching this sacred ground with my bare feet, I employed a bit if cardboard.  Being temporarily without a yarmulke, I pressed into service one of my socks:


I fall prostrate in humble supplication before the sacred shrine as my son plays on his i-Pad, pretending to not know me:


 I am astonished that this decaying hulk is the actual site of the start of the revolution:


 There is a sketchy plan involves restoring the site as much as possible to its 1956 appearance and possibly building a structure above and around it to create a museum at the site.  Parking is limited, so the investors would need to buy the property to the north of the lab for a parking structure.  Saving this place in Mountain View will not be cheap, but there is money that thinks it is worth doing.  I don’t know the current status of the project.





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