What is the Silicon Valley area

Silicon Valley Term Explanation and Definition

Silicon Valley is located in the southern region around the San Francisco Bay (also called the San Francisco Bay Area) in the United States in northern California. The Silicon Valley is about 80 km long and about 20 km wide and includes, in addition to the Santa Clara Valley, the city of San José, the southern half of the San Francisco peninsula and Sunnywale, which is roughly in the middle and is considered the center of Silicon Valley. Some technology companies have their headquarters in Sunnywale. Worldwide, Silicon Valley is considered the most important location for countless IT and high-tech companies. Many of these companies are now known worldwide and some international companies have also set up a branch in Silicon Valley.

The derivation of the name Silicon Valley

The name Silicon (German: silicon) is traced back to the large number of industrial companies that manufacture semiconductors and computers in Silicon Valley. Valley, on the other hand, refers to the Santa Clara Valley, which was originally known for its large number of orchards. In 1971 the American journalist chose Don. C. Hoefler used the term Silicon Valley as the title for a series of articles in the specialist journal Electronic News, after it was suggested to him by the entrepreneur Ralph Vaerst. Electronic News reported in its weekly editions not only on the electronics industry and its rapid development, but also on semiconductors, computers, software, communications, space travel and even television electronics. Since many of the companies at the time have expanded, the term Silicon Valley is now also being applied to similar areas. In the United States, the term Silicon Valley is colloquially used for the electronics and computer industries.

The making of Silicon Valley

Essentially, Frederick Emmons Terman and William Bradfort Shockley as well as Stanford University and its graduates play an important role in the development of Silicon Valley. Terman was an electrical engineer and dean of engineering at Stanford University, while Shockley initially worked as a physicist and entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. From 1963 Shockley taught as a professor of engineering at Stanford University.
In 1956 Shockley received the Nobel Prize in Physics together with Walter H. Brattain and John Bardeen. They were recognized for their research on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect. In the same year, Shockley founded the first company for electronic components (including transistors) in Silicon Valley, the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, and thus laid the foundation for Silicon Valley. For his transistors, Shockley used silicon as a semiconductor, which is still used today, and developed the bipolar transistor with a combination of three alternating semiconductor layers. This is controlled by electrical current and contains a charge carrier that contributes to the transport of the current. The bipolar transistor is designed for switching and amplifying signals with a higher current strength and voltage. Dissatisfied with Shockley's personnel management, eight employees left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in 1957 and founded their own semiconductor manufacturing company, Fairchild Semiconductor, in Silicon Valley.
Terman is now considered the father of Silicon Valley. He was of the opinion that the unused land belonging to the university would be ideal for the settlement of companies. Through a program he initiated, he wanted to encourage university graduates to set up businesses and settle in the Stanford University catchment area and made funds available to them for this purpose. In 1939 Terman also supported William Hewlett and David Packard, who founded their company in a garage after studying in Silicon Valley. With the Stanford Research Institute he founded in 1946 and the establishment of Stanford Industrial Park in 1951, Terman's program was expanded and a research and industrial area was created next to Stanford University. The leasing of various smaller industrial buildings to technology companies at very favorable terms led to a capacity utilization around the university campus, so that more companies settled along Highway 101 towards San José.

School and advanced training in Silicon Valley

In 1954 the Honors Cooperative Program (HPC) was introduced, a part-time trainee program that still allows qualified engineers, scientists and IT specialists from local companies to study part-time at Stanford University. Degrees are e.g. B. possible in the fields of applied physics, statistics or biomedical informatics. In addition to Stanford University, there are a large number of other schools and branches of other universities in Silicon Valley. Many schools in the Silivon Valley offer a bilingual educational program from kindergarten through 12th grade. At international schools such as B. the German International School of Silicon Valley, not only the American High School Diploma can be obtained, but also an international Abitur, such as. B. the German International Abitur, which is also recognized in Germany.

The economic impact of Silicon Valley

Thanks to Shockley’s invention of the transistor, the main component of many electronic devices, the development went faster and faster. There were z. B. developed transistor radios and computers, computer technology was further developed and the first semiconductor chips were produced in the 1960s. With the development of the microprocessor, progress was unstoppable and the companies in Silicon Valley had their greatest successes in the 1970s and 1980s. With the emergence of the Internet, GPS and fiber optic technology, the development boom continued in the 1990s.
Thousands of electronics, software and computer companies have now settled in Silicon Valley. In addition to the New York metropolitan area and the metropolis of Washington, Silicon Valley is one of the largest high-tech centers in the United States and employs most of the workers in the high-tech sector. Although the semiconductor industry is still of great importance as an economic factor for this region, Silicon Valley has also become known over the years for innovations in software and Internet services. In recent years, many regions at home and abroad have tried to build on the success of Silicon Valley, but this has often not succeeded. New areas were planned, additional high-tech companies were established and targeted funding measures were implemented. The use of the terms “Silicon” or “Valley” in the name should also establish a connection to Silicon Valley.

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