Intel chairman gives $15 million for ground-breaking "new materials" work under way at UC Berkeley

by Jose Rodriguez

Berkeley -- Gordon E. Moore, founder and chairman of Intel Corp., and his wife, Betty, have given $15 million to the University of California at Berkeley to advance a program with far-ranging implications for the future-the creation of entirely new materials for industry and medicine.

The Moores' generous gift is earmarked for the campus's "New Materials Initiative," a program that will harness the work of the world's top physicists, chemists and engineers, leading to the creation of new materials of all types.

"As a Cal alumnus, I'm proud to give to this exciting area of research with tremendous promise for society, technology and the California economy," said Moore, who is often considered the father of Silicon Valley. "The visions that have made California great must continue to be carried out in the future, and in new materials research, Berkeley offers one of the world's best environments for discovery."

The National Research Council recently ranked UC Berkeley's graduate programs in chemistry, mathematics and engineering among the best in the nation. Overall, the study placed more UC Berkeley graduate programs among the top three than any other university in the United States.

"This generous gift confirms the confidence placed in Berkeley by our state's most visionary business leaders," said Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien. "The fruits of Berkeley's new materials research will have a profound and positive impact on many aspects of the California economy."

The work to be supported by the Moore gift is among the most complex being undertaken at any university. Its goal is to develop stronger, lighter, smaller and longer-lasting materials than any ever known.

The results envisioned include artificial compounds harder than diamonds, magnetic devices for high-density information storage and lighter and stronger structural components for transportation.

In UC Berkeley laboratories, engineers are shuffling atoms to generate specific properties and enhanced performance. Chemists are going beyond nature to custom-design and synthesize materials for specific industrial, medical, and environmental applications.

Physicists, meanwhile, are designing and studying new materials for applications that range from detecting oil deposits to high-resolution mapping of electrical activity in patients' hearts.

"Gordon Moore's commitment to Berkeley's new materials initiative is consistent with his history as a pioneer and an innovator," said Tien.

Moore is credited with realizing the potential of the integrated circuit, possibly the most significant invention of the second half of the 20th century, and spawning the microprocessor. The basic integrated circuit is now in every microwave oven, radio, car, camera, television and telephone, while the microprocessor ushered in the information age.

In the 1950s, Moore was recruited by William Shockley, co-inventor of the transistor, to help start Shockley Semiconductor in what was then miles of apricot and cherry trees in the Santa Clara Valley. Along with Robert Noyce, co-inventor of the integrated circuit, Moore and six others formed Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957.

Among Fairchild's spinoffs was Intel Corp., founded by Moore and Noyce in 1968. Intel invented the first microprocessor in 1971, and in 1974 introduced the 8080 microprocessor chip, generally regarded as the founding microchip of the personal computer industry.

He graduated from UC Berkeley's College of Chemistry in 1950, and received a Ph.D. in both chemistry and physics from Caltech in 1954. Moore is also chairman of the Board of Trustees of Caltech.

The "New Materials Initiative" has a goal of raising $83 million for new and renovated teaching and research space. The initiative is one of UC Berkeley's highest priorities in its upcoming capital campaign.

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