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It’s hard to believe the Valley was once a vast orchard. For an account of how it swapped farms for labs, see http://www.silvalonline.com/history.html. William Shockley, one of the inventors of the transistor while at Bell Laboratories, came to Palo Alto in the mid-1950s to set up the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. Shockley’s bizarre management practices—and his belief in eugenics—did not endear him to his staff. And if Shockley had had his way, the area might have become Germanium Valley—he believed it was a better semiconducting material than silicon. However, a group of his more silicon-oriented employees left the company to create Fairchild Semiconductor (http:
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