Atlanta TEM and Computer Society Joint Meeting: The Origins of Silicon Valley: Why and How It Happened


Please join us for a joint meeting of the Atlanta Technology and Engineering Management and Computer Society Chapters, where we will be welcoming Paul Wesling.

  Date and Time




  • 250 14th Street, NW
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • United States 30318
  • Building: GTRI Conference Center
  • Room Number: 119 A/B/C
  • For more information, Contact David Bishop, TEM Chair

  • Co-sponsored by Atlanta Computer Society
  • Starts 19 March 2019 12:10 AM
  • Ends 09 April 2019 12:58 AM
  • All times are America/New_York
  • Admission fee ?
  • Register


Paul Wesling of IEEE


The Origins of Silicon Valley: Why and How It Happened

Why did Silicon Valley come into being? The story goes back to local Hams (amateur radio operators) trying to break RCA's tube patents, “angel” investors, the sinking of the Titanic, Fred Terman and Stanford University, local invention of high-power tubes, WW II and radar, William Shockley's mother living in Palo Alto, and the SF Bay Area infrastructure that developed -- these factors pretty much determined that the semiconductor and IC industries would be located in the Santa Clara Valley, and that the Valley would remain the world’s innovation center as new technologies emerged -- computers, then software, mobile, biotech, Big Data, VR, and now autonomous vehicles -- and it would become the model for innovation worldwide.

Paul Wesling, an IEEE Life Fellow and Distinguished Lecturer, has observed the Valley for decades as an engineer, executive, resident, and educator, and has presented this talk world-wide. He gives an exciting and colorful history of device technology development and innovation that began in Palo Alto, then spread across the Santa Clara Valley during and following World War II. You'll meet some of the colorful characters – Leonard Fuller, Lee De Forest, Bill Eitel, Charles Litton, Fred Terman, David Packard, Bill Hewlett, Russ Varian and others -- who came to define the worldwide electronics industries through their inventions and process development. You’ll understand some of the novel management approaches that have become the hallmarks of tech startups and high-tech firms, and the kinds of engineers/developers who thrive in this work environment. He’ll end by telling us about some current local organizations that keep alive the spirit of the Hams, the Homebrew Computer Club, and the other entrepreneurial groups where geeks gather to invent the future.

Post-talk reviews submitted by Stanford Historical Society members:
-- Excellent speaker!! Great grasp of materials and breadth of his knowledge.
-- The speaker was clear, the information was very interesting. It gave connections to companies’ origins that I previously did not know about.
-- This was one of the best speakers we have heard in a long time. He covered the "Silicon Valley" lecture with a perfect timeline and lots of good details.
-- Great speaker, interesting and pertinent topic, both informative and entertaining.


As vice president of publications for the IEEE Electronics Packaging Society for 22 years, Paul supervised four archival journals and a newsletter. He received the IEEE’s Centennial Medal, the Board's Distinguished Service award, the Society Contribution Award, and the IEEE's Third Millennium Medal.


6:00 Welcome and Dinner/Networking

6:20 Introductions - David Bishop and Barry Drake

6:30 Lecture: Paul Wesling

7:45 Q&A: Paul Wesling

8:00 Dismiss