Craig Barrett is the retired CEO and chair of semiconductor giant Intel Corp., where he rose through the company’s ranks to become president in 1997 and CEO a year later. He was chair from 2005 to 2009. Barrett joined the company in 1974 after 10 years on the faculty of Stanford Engineering’s Materials Science and Engineering Department. He earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and PhD at Stanford. Barrett is coauthor of the textbook “Principles of Engineering Materials.” Today he is an advocate for improving education and a champion of technology as a path to higher social and economic standards worldwide.
Andreas “Andy” Bechtolsheim built the path-breaking SUN workstation while working as a doctoral student at Stanford in computer science and electrical engineering. He later became cofounder and chief system architect at Sun Microsystems. He also was CEO and a founder of Granite Systems, a gigabit ethernet switching company, from 1995 until 1996, when it was acquired by Cisco Systems. He managed Cisco’s gigabit systems business unit, which was responsible for the highest-volume modular switching platform in the industry. Bechtolsheim’s technology foresight is legendary. He was an early-stage investor in Google, VMware, Mellanox, Brocade and Magma Design, among many others. Today he is co-founder and chair of Arista Networks, a high-speed data center and cloud networking company.
Morris Chang is the founding chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), a pioneer of the dedicated integrated circuit foundry model. TSMC is the world’s largest silicon foundry. Born in China, Chang moved to Hong Kong during the Chinese Civil War and then to the U.S., where he attended Harvard and MIT. His employer, Texas Instruments, sent him to Stanford for his PhD in electrical engineering, which he earned in 1964. Chang returned to TI and devised the strategy of pricing semiconductors aggressively — sacrificing early profits to gain market share and long-term profits. By 1983, he had risen to group vice president responsible for TI’s global semiconductor business before leaving to lead General Instrument Corp. and, later, TSMC.
A trained mathematician, George Dantzig (1914-2005) is known as the "father" of linear programming and the “simplex algorithm.” Working during the midcentury heyday of industrial expansion intersecting with the rise of computing power, Dantzig developed the mathematical algorithms that helped countless organizations sort through myriad possibilities to optimize their complex systems for profit and efficiency. Dantzig joined the faculty at Stanford in 1966 in the departments of Operations Research and Computer Science. In 1973, he was appointed the C.A. Criley Professor of Transportation Sciences. Virtually every industry, from petroleum refining to the scheduling of airline flights, has been transformed by his work. The journal “Computing in Science and Engineering” named the simplex algorithm as one of the top 10 algorithms of the 20th century.
Theodore “Ted” Maiman (1927-2007) holds U.S. Patent 3,353,115 for the world’s first working laser. His creation, using a synthetic ruby and flashlamps, was first operated on May 16, 1960, at Hughes Research Laboratories. Today, the laser has a remarkable array of uses from surgery to shopping. Maiman earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering and his PhD in physics at Stanford. Maiman had a rare blend of advanced training in physics and engineering combined with significant laboratory experience. The design of Maiman’s laser was so simple it is estimated to have cost Hughes Research just $50,000 to produce, including the inventor’s salary — likely one of the greatest research bargains of all time.
Bradford Parkinson is chief architect of the now-ubiquitous Global Positioning System (GPS), whose design he led as a U.S. Air Force colonel in 1973. Parkinson received his PhD from Stanford in 1966 and became a professor in 1984. His pioneering work as a Stanford professor included GPS for aviation and other applications, including the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) used by the FAA. More recently, he led the NASA/Stanford Gravity Probe B program that validated Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity to an unprecedented accuracy. Parkinson is co-editor and author of the best-selling textbook “Global Positioning System: Theory and Applications.” He is a Stanford Engineering professor emeritus of aeronautics and astronautics.
Calvin “Cal” Quate is the brilliant mind behind acoustic and atomic force microscopy. The scanning acoustic microscope, invented with a colleague in 1973, has resolution exceeding optical microscopes, revealing structure in opaque or even transparent materials that are invisible to optics. Quate received his PhD from Stanford in 1950 and joined the faculty in 1961. Today he is a Stanford professor emeritus of electrical engineering and applied physics. In 1985, Quate read about a new type of microscope that could examine electrically conductive materials. When he dreamed up a related instrument that would work on non-conductive materials — including biological tissue — the atomic force microscope (AFM) was born. AFM traces surface contours using a needle to maintain constant pressure against the surface to reveal atomic detail. AFM is the foundation of the $100 million nanotechnology industry.
Stephen Timoshenko (1878-1972) was a renowned expert, teacher and writer widely regarded as the "father" of applied mechanics in the U.S. So great was his influence that his active years in the field became known as “the Timoshenko era.” Timoshenko came to Stanford in 1936 and stayed for the next two decades. He authored 13 popular textbooks; the best known of these, “Strength of Materials,” was first published in Russia in 1911. His “Engineering Mechanics” text was translated into over 10 languages. Many of Timoshenko’s personal research and theoretical contributions became classical subject matter in engineering courses long after his death. In 1957, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers established the Timoshenko Medal in his honor.