Space and Diskdrives




The Ames Research centre is founded as a laboratory for aeronautics applications in Sunnyvale. Initially under the control of National Advisory Committee of Aviation (NACA0 it moved to the National Aeronautics and space Administration (NASA) in 1958. Amongst the most notable projects run from this site are the Pioneer spacecraft, of which pioneer 10 an 11 are the first manmade objects to leave our solar system, The Pioneer craft that landed on Venus, the Lunar Prospector, the Kepler observatory and SOFIA, a modified Boeing 747 carrying a telescope. NASA AMES was instrumental in the flight software for Space shuttle, the international space station and the software that controls the two mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. It also hosts some of the most powerful computers currently in existence such as the Columbia supercomputer and the Pleiades system.


Moffet Blvd . Mountain View


Alexander M. Poniatoff starts AMPEX in Redwood City. Initially a manufacturer of small electric motors and generators, they ventured off in the audio, and later video, recording and playback technology. AMPEX became the de-facto standard for studio and broadcast registration and playback equipment. The site is now part of the Stanford Medical Hospital but the AMPEX sign is a protected landmark


500 Broadway Street. Redwood City


The brothers Varian (Russel and Sigurd) , and associates start  Varian Associates in  San Carlos, just south of San Francisco, to develop and sell the Klystron tube and other high frequency components. They would move to Palo Alto in the early 50’s to occupy a building in the then new Stanford Industrial Park. Originally focusing on the klystron and its applications as radar and TV transmission tube, Varian Associates would also enter other field such as particle accelerators for medical purposes, radiation equipment and x-ray equipment. When the semiconductor boom began, Varian was heavily involved in the development of the first ion-implantation equipment that today is crucial for semiconductor manufacturing.

RAMAC platter


IBM opens a laboratory at 99 Notre Dame Avenue in San Jose. The fundamental research done in this lab culminated in the development of the hard disk drive.


The Berkeley National Lab begins operating the Bevatron Particle accelerator, then the largest particle accelerator in the world. This synchrotron allowed elementary particles to be accelerated to very high speeds, and then smash them into each other, allowing the study of the fundamental building blocks. Many a discovery was done here, amongst which the anti-proton, and the research done with this machine yielded 4 Nobel prizes. The machine was decommissioned in the 90’s and is currently being dismantled.

© Vincent Himpe 2016