Thursday, August 8, 2013

A time to eat, drink & talk about science!


Science on Tap

Thursday, September 5
5:30 pm
Cosmo Tapas
4200 Central Ave SE
When is a “Law” not a Law? When it’s Moore’s

Joe Cecchi
Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering
University of New Mexico

In 1965, Gordon Moore, who would go on to co-found Intel, published a paper in which he observed that from 1959 to 1965, the number of components in an integrated circuit (a.k.a. computer chip) doubled approximately every year. He further opined that it could go on “for at least 10 years[1].” Five years later, when this geometrical increase was still continuing, Cal Tech professor, Carver Mead, dubbed this forecast, “Moore’s Law.”

Predictions are always challenging, especially when they are about the future. But Moore’s Law has turned out to be essentially correct for more than 45 years! Was that destiny, or a self-fulfilling prophecy? And if it’s not a law, what is it and why does it matter? Has Moore’s Law become the de facto standard for all technological advancement as many would have us believe?

But don’t worry. Aside from a few gee whiz examples, this discussion will not be about numbers. Rather it will be about a world transformed by what is arguably the quintessence of technological achievement and unimaginably precise manufacturing.

[1] Gordon E. Moore, Cramming more components onto integrated circuits, Electronics, 38, April 19, 1965.

For the past 20 years, Joe Cecchi has been Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering at UNM.  After spending 15 years on the “dark side,” (chair and dean), Joe is happy to return to teaching and research in semiconductor manufacturing and nanotechnology.  He has authored more than 100 research publications and is an inventor on 8 patents, but he is most proud of the 25 masters and doctoral students whose work he supervised.  Joe received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Knox College and his masters and doctorate in physics from Harvard University.  Later in life, he also earned an MBA from UNM.  Joe’s research career started about the same time as Moore’s Law, and it has certainly made for “living in interesting times.”