Oral history interview with Harry Sello

Oral history interview with Harry Sello

  • 2004-Nov-04 (First session)
  • 2005-Jan-07 (Second session)
  • 2005-Mar-16 (Third session)
Headshot of Harry Sello
Science History Institute Collections, Photograph by Douglas Lockard

Harry Sello begins his oral history interview with a review of his childhood which included emigration from Russia. Sello became interested in chemistry and completed undergraduate work in organic chemistry before applying this knowledge to his Ph.D. research at the University of Missouri. William Shockley recruited him to Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. At Shockley and then at Fairchild Semiconductor, Sello worked on a variety of chemical aspects of semiconductor manufacturing. Sello concentrated on the transfer of silicon transistor technology to Societa Generale Semiconduttore in Italy, negotiating cultural and industrial boundaries. In 1980, he began Harry Sello Associates after Fairchild Semiconductor was sold to Schlumberger Exploration. Sello concludes the interview with reflections on his current role as an expert witness.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 209 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute
Digitization funder
  • Audio synchronization made possible through the generous funding of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

About the Interviewers

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.

Christophe Lécuyer is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and he received a PhD in history from Stanford University. He was a fellow of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology and has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Virginia. Before becoming a senior research fellow at CHF, Lécuyer was the program manager of the electronic materials department. He has published widely on the history of electronics, engineering education, and medical and scientific instruments, and is the author of Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930–1970 (2005).

Physical location

Oral history number 0300

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • March 20, 1921
  • Chernihiv, Ukraine
  • April 04, 2017
  • Menlo Park, California, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1942 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign AB Chemistry
1944 University of Missouri MA Physical Chemistry
1948 University of Missouri PhD Physical Chemistry

Professional Experience

Shell Development Company

  • 1948 to 1956 Research Chemist

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory

  • 1956 to 1959 Senior Staff

Fairchild Semiconductor Research and Development Laboratories

  • 1959 to 1981 Head of pre-production engineering section, Semiconductor Research Laboratory
  • 1962 to 1964 Operations manager, Societa Generale Semiconduttore
  • 1966 to 1967 Manager of Materials and Processes Department, Semiconductor Research Laboratory
  • 1967 to 1968 Technical Planning Director, Research Laboratory
  • 1968 to 1980 Technical Director, International Marketing Division

Harry Sello and Associates

  • 1980 to 2006 President


Year(s) Award
1944 Sigma Xi, National Research Honorary
1948 Sigma Xi, National Research Honorary
1976 Chairman, International Committee, American Electronics Association
1982 Chairman, International Committee, American Electronics Association
1990 Export Executive of the Year, Northern California District Office, US Department of Commerce
2016 Pi Mu Epsilon, Mathematics Honorary

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PDF — 1.0 MB

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

12 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads