Current Technical Session



IEEE Communications Society New York Chapter Technical Session

Co-sponsor: IEEE Computational Intelligence Society New York Chapter


The Origins of Silicon Valley: Why and How It Happened

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Location: Fordham University – Leo Loweinstein, Room: LL 308

113 West 60th Street, New York, NY 10023

Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm


Why did Silicon Valley come into being? The story goes back to local Hams (amateur radio operators) trying to break RCA’s tube patents, Stanford “angel” investors, the sinking of the Titanic, Fred Terman and Stanford University, local invention of high-power tubes (gammatron, klystron), 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, software, mobile, biotech, Big Data, VR, and now autonomous vehicles — and it would become the model for innovation worldwide.
Paul Wesling, an IEEE Electronics Packaging Society Distinguished Lecturer, will give 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 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.


Speaker Biography:

— Paul Wesling, IEEE Life Fellow, BS-EE, MS-MatSci (Stanford U); retired from H-P/Tandem

— past VP-Publications, IEEE Electronics Packaging Society

Paul Wesling received his BS in electrical engineering and his MS in materials science from Stanford University. Following assignments at GTE/Lenkurt Electric, ISS/Sperry-Univac, Datapoint Peripheral Products (VP – Product Integrity), and Amdahl (mainframe testing), he joined Tandem Computers in Cupertino (now part of Hewlett Packard) in 1985. He designed several multi-chip module prototypes, managed Tandem’s Distinguished Lectures series, and organized a number of advanced technology courses for his Division and also for the IEEE. He managed a grant from the National Science Foundation for the development of multimedia educational modules. Paul retired from HP in 2001, and then served for 10 years as the Communications Director for the IEEE’s S.F. Bay Area Council.
As vice president of publications from 1985 through 2008, he supervised four archival journals and a newsletter for IEEE’s Electronics Packaging Society. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, and received the IEEE Centennial Medal, the Board’s Distinguished Service award, the Society Contribution Award, and the IEEE’s Third Millennium Medal. He has organized over 500 courses for the local IEEE chapter in the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley), many of them held at Stanford University (and, more recently, at Silicon Valley company facilities). An Eagle Scout, he served as scoutmaster of his local Boy Scout Troop for 15 years, was Advisor of a High-Adventure Crew, and enjoys backpacking, fly fishing, guitar and amateur radio (call sign: KM6LH).


PDH/CEU Credits

IEEE members are eligible to apply for 0.2 CEU/ 2.0 PDH credit



Dr. Yun Ye, Chair, ComSoc NY Chapter, Email:

Dr. Frank Hsu, Chair, CIS NY Chapter, Email: