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How the valley start-up was invented

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Fifty years ago this weekend, silicon began its journey to the region that would one day be dubbed ``Silicon Valley'' in its honor. On Sept. 3, 1955, William Shockley -- the Nobel Prize-winning co-inventor of the transistor who enticed Gordon Moore, Bob Noyce, Eugene Kleiner, and more than a dozen other of the world's top young semiconductor researchers to come to the San Francisco Bay Area to work for him -- signed the contract that launched the valley's first all-silicon research lab-cum-company: Shockley Semiconductor Lab.

Getting a call from Shockley was like ``picking up the phone and talking to God,'' Bob Noyce, co-inventor of the integrated circuit and co-founder (with Moore) of Intel, once recalled.

William Shockley held more than 50 patents for electronic devices and by one estimate was personally responsible for nearly half the worthwhile ideas in solid-state electronics in the field's first dozen years.

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