Ten Best Chip Engineers

Not an easy one. The chip industry has been built on the shoulders of many genius engineers, sung and unsung.

Bob Noyce Jack Kilby Carver Mead Jean Hoerni Leo Esaki Gordon Moore Bob Widlar Ted Hoff Federico Faggin Robert Dennard.



  1. Peter,
    I think UK companies tended to keep very quiet about their design engineers for fear of losing them, while the West Coast engineers became celebrities.
    What might be very interesting is to compile a directory of ‘Designs Engineers’ Design Engineers’.
    Lee Evans is the first entry.

  2. Crushed as I am at being an unsung design genius engineer, I suspect many of us have candidates to add. How about Lee Evans, analog designer of the first really-low-Vos op amp, and a very successful single-chip A/D converter for the DVM market?

  3. Al Hi,
    You are absolutely right. if this were a list of chip designers it would include the names you mention.
    But the title is ‘best chip engineers’ and I have to admit to choosing those whose work have had the most effect on the industry.
    Best wishes

  4. Hi David;
    We’ve never met, unless it was while I was with EDN, but I’ve read your stuff and it’s mostly good. I do however take issue with this list. While it is presented as a generic “chip designer” list, it’s more a list of luminaries who developed digital breakthrough circuit innovations — and I don’t use breakthrough lightly. Yes Widlar is there for analog, and deservedly so, as is Hoerni (who I’m sure had analog circuits in mind for his planar process). In that context, I’m disappointed to see missing names like Dobkin, Gilbert & Brokaw. It’s not many names that are applied to a specific circuit, and it really has to be special — for example, Gilbert translinear cell, Brokaw bandgap reference. Hardly a power management/regulator circuit is built today that doesn’t draw on a Dobkin or Brokaw idea. And Gilbert’s translinear inventions are at the crux of many (most?) analog algebraic math circuits, which simplify real-world computation by incrediable amounts. No A/D converters, no oceans of data memory, no DSP, and no D/A converter. Wow! How elegant!
    Regards, Al Haun

  5. Hi Stephen,
    Many thanks for the very kind comment, much appreciated.
    A Christmas compendium of Ten Bests/Worsts in a book is a nice idea, but I wonder whether it would have a chance of selling enough copies for a publisher to think it worthwhile taking on.
    Best wishes

  6. Stephen Waddington

    Another cracking list David. Your list of top 10s is turning into an interesting series and prompting many a beer-fuelled debate. Are you reesearching a book for Christmas on the quiet? Best regards, Stephen

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