News & Analysis

Gordon Moore dies, aged 94

26th March 2023
Mick Elliott

Gordon Moore, one of the great men of the electronics industry has died in Hawaii aged 94. The impact of his genius is seen around us every day.

He was a co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, two of the most influential companies in the semiconductor industry.

He is best known for his Moore’s Law which predicted that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every two years, though his achievements and contributions to the semiconductor are manifold.

Armed with a PhD in chemistry, Moore was recruited by William Shockley to join Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories. Moore was part of youthful team of engineers who became a “cause celebre” when they quit Shockley and established Fairchild Semiconductor, and henceforth became known as the “traitorous eight”.

In 1968 Moore along with Robert Noyce left Fairchild to found Intel. He was executive vice president until 1975 when he became president. In April 1979, Moore became chairman and chief executive officer, holding that position until April 1987, when he became chairman. He was named chairman emeritus in 1997 until he retired in 2006. Under Moore and Noyce along with early recruit Andy Grove, these were Intel’s halcyon days as the company pioneered first memory and then microprocessor technology.

Moore used his wealth to fund many philanthropic activities in conservation – as a keen fisherman, he was one of the first to warn on human pollution of the oceans – healthcare and science. In 2000, Moore and his wife established the Gordon and Betty Moore.

“Those of us who have met and worked with Gordon will forever be inspired by his wisdom, humility and generosity,” reflected foundation president Harvey Fineberg. “Though he never aspired to be a household name, Gordon’s vision and his life’s work enabled the phenomenal innovation and technological developments that shape our everyday lives. Yet those historic achievements are only part of his legacy. His and Betty’s generosity as philanthropists will shape the world for generations to come.”  

Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO, said, “Gordon Moore defined the technology industry through his insight and vision. He was instrumental in revealing the power of transistors, and inspired technologists and entrepreneurs across the decades. We at Intel remain inspired by Moore’s Law and intend to pursue it until the periodic table is exhausted. Gordon’s vision lives on as our true north as we use the power of technology to improve the lives of every person on Earth. My career and much of my life took shape within the possibilities fuelled by Gordon’s leadership at the helm of Intel, and I am humbled by the honour and responsibility to carry his legacy forward.” 

Frank D. Yeary, chair of Intel’s board of directors, said, “Gordon was a brilliant scientist and one of America’s leading entrepreneurs and business leaders. It is impossible to imagine the world we live in today, with computing so essential to our lives, without the contributions of Gordon Moore. He will always be an inspiration to our Intel family and his thinking at the core of our innovation culture.” 

Andy Bryant, former chairman of Intel’s board of directors, said, “I will remember Gordon as a brilliant scientist, a straight-talker and an astute businessperson who sought to make the world better and always do the right thing. It was a privilege to know him, and I am grateful that his legacy lives on in the culture of the company he helped to create.”

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