By Zach Honig posted Apr 25th 2011 4:23PM
There's little question that the last 50 years have represented the most innovative half-century in human history, and today marks the anniversary of the invention that started it all: the silicon-based integrated circuit. Robert Noyce received the landmark US patent on April 25, 1961, going on to found Intel Corporation with Gordon E. Moore (of Moore's Law fame) in 1968. He wasn't the first to invent the integrated circuit -- the inventor of the pocket calculator Jack Kilby patented a similar technology on a germanium wafer for Texas Instruments a few months prior. Noyce's silicon version stuck, however, and is responsible for Moore's estimated $3.7 billion net worth, not to mention the success of the entire computing industry. Holding 16 other patents and credited as a mentor of Steve Jobs, Noyce was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1987, and continued to shape the computing industry until his death in 1990. If Moore's Law continues to hold true, as we anticipate it will, we expect the next 50 years to be even more exciting than the last. Let's meet back here in 2061.