Watch the Microchip Origin and Proto-Silicon Valley Documentary Tonight on PBS

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“TV’s Most-Watched History Series,” American Experience on PBS is premiering their ‘Silicon Valley’ documentary episode on Tuesday, February 5th.

Covering the story of Robert Noyce in the ashes of the Shockley Semiconductor Company and his conception of his Fairchild Company, building transistors and later, leading to his co-invention of the micro-processing chip.

As techies — or even lightly-moderate electronics users, we owe a lot to the microchip. Think about it: forget iPads or smartphones, even beepers or alarm clocks or Tamagotchis — they all use a variant of developments made by Noyce and his team.

In 1957, Noyce and seven other of the most groundbreaking scientists and engineers at the time — all employees at William Shockley’s Laboratory — conspired a plan to form their own transistor company.

Fairchild Company Founders

The men knew they were on the verge of creating an unprecedented, pioneering discovery in the world of electronics and jeez, were they right.

Setting up shop in the Santa Clara valley, the team laid down the foundation for what we now know as Silicon Valley and created a model of the electronic atmosphere as we know it today. Without their efforts, there would be no Apple, no Google, no Windows, no Angry Birds!

PBS is currently streaming all of chapter one (about 16 minutes,) and some other bonus footage from the film, which is also available for purchase via the program’s website. Check out one of the bonus clips below:

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