Photo of Carver A. Mead

Carver A. Mead

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Manufacturing

For his pioneering contributions to microelectronics that include spearheading the development of tools and techniques for modern integrated-circuit design, laying the foundation for fabless semiconductor companies, catalyzing the electronic-design automation field, training generations of engineers that have made the United States the world leader in microelectronics technology, and founding more than twenty companies.

Carver Mead on including his students in his research process

Growing up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, he was raised around local power stations and electrical machinery of his father’s work.rn

About his upbringing, Carver Andress Mead has said, “I’d save up the little money I made from trapping furs and doing the little things I could do back in the woods, and go down and buy a huge amount of electronics for a dollar back then. Then I could take it all apart and use the parts to make things.”

Into the 1960s, Dr. Mead’s studies at the California Institute of Technology led him to research in physics and technology of electron devices. His frustrations with the limitations of standard computers led his work in pioneering solid-state electronics and the design of large scale integrated circuits, complex silicon chips, that have contributed to today’s semiconductor and computer technologies.

Most recently, as a Gordon and Betty Moore Professor Emeritus of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech, Carver has called for the reconceptualization of modern physics, revisiting theoretical debates of Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein and others after later experiments and developments in instrumentation.

By Melissa Ayala