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Oral history interview with Jay T. Last

  • 2004-Jun-21

Oral history interview with Jay T. Last

  • 2004-Jun-21

Jay T. Last begins the interview with a description of his family background and youth during the Great Depression and World War II. He reviews his undergraduate education at the University of Rochester and his graduate work in the von Hippel lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There he completed doctoral research on the structure of barium titanate under an IBM fellowship. He was later invited to join Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. He soon departed as one of the “Traitorous Eight” to form Fairchild Semiconductor, where he focused on the etching process for the mesa transistor. During this time, Last formed a close friendship with Jean A. Hoerni and began collecting African art. Last then supervised the creation of the integrated circuit. In 1961, he left Fairchild Semiconductor to join Teledyne to create more elaborate circuits. Teledyne mass-produced complex circuits for military, private corporations, and internal use. Last reviews the business climate of Silicon Valley that supported numerous spin-offs and discusses the dynamics of the American and international semiconductor industries. He then recounts his private investments, including that in Intel Corporation, and relates Gordon E. Moore's contributions to Intel Corporation. Last concludes with his personal involvement with the Archeological Conservancy, his African art collection, and publishing.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 132 pages
  • 08:10:00
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewer

David C. Brock is a senior research fellow with the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. As a historian of science and technology, he specializes in the history of semiconductor science, technology, and industry; the history of instrumentation; and oral history. Brock has studied the philosophy, sociology, and history of science at Brown University, the University of Edinburgh, and Princeton University.In the policy arena Brock recently published Patterning the World: The Rise of Chemically Amplified Photoresists, a white-paper case study for the Center’s Studies in Materials Innovation. With Hyungsub Choi he is preparing an analysis of semiconductor technology roadmapping, having presented preliminary results at the 2009 meeting of the Industry Studies Association.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0292

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • October 18, 1929
  • Butler, Pennsylvania, United States
  • November 11, 2021
  • Los Angeles, California, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1951 University of Rochester BS Optics
1956 Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD Physics

Professional Experience

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory

  • 1956 to 1957 Senior Technical Staff

Fairchild Semiconductor Research and Development Laboratories

  • 1957 to 1959 Senior Technical Staff; Co-Founder
  • 1959 to 1961 Head of Integrated Circuit Development

Amelco Corporation

  • 1961 to 1966 Director, Research and Development; Co-Founder

Teledyne Technologies, Inc.

  • 1966 to 1974 Vice President, Research and Development

Sierra Monitor Corporation

  • 1980 to 2005 Director

Archaeological Conservancy (U.S.)

  • 1980 to 2005 President

Hillcrest Press, Inc.

  • 1982 to 2005 President

Think Outside, Inc.

  • 1998 to 2005 Member, Board of Directors


Year(s) Award
1999 Hutchinson Medal, University of Rochester

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PDF — 561 KB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

14 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads