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Fred Terman at Stanford: Building a Discipline, a University, and Silicon Valley 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0804749145
ISBN-10: 0804749140
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Stewart Gillmor has chronicled a grand saga, illuminating how Fred Terman—pragmatic engineer, inspiring teacher, visionary academic administrator—catalyzed the extraordinary rise of Stanford to the top rank of universities, and its symbiotic creation of far-reaching economic and social capital. This fine book, comprehensive and acutely insightful, documents the transforming power of intellectual leadership." —Dudley Herschbach,Harvard University, Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1986


"This is more than the biography of an important contributor to the development of Stanford and "Silicon Valley"; it is a well-researched and detailed account of the development and maturation of one of the
world's great universities." —Gordon Moore,Co-Founder, Intel Corp.

From the Inside Flap

Fred Terman was an outstanding American engineer, teacher, entrepreneur, and manager. Terman was also deeply devoted to his students, to engineering, and to Stanford University. This biography focuses on the weave of personality and place across time—it examines Terman as a Stanford faculty child growing up at an ambitious little regional university; as a young electrical engineering professor in the heady 1920s and the doldrums of the Depression; as an engineering manager and educator in the midst of large-scale wartime research projects and the postwar rise of Big Science and Big Engineering; as a university administrator on the razor’s edge of great expectations and fragile budgets; and, finally, as a senior statesman of engineering education. The first doctoral student of Vannevar Bush at M.I.T., Terman was himself a prodigious teacher and adviser to many, including William Hewlett and David Packard. Terman was widely hailed as the magnet that drew talent together into what became known as Silicon Valley.
Throughout his life, Fred Terman was constant in his belief that quality could be quantified, and he was adamant that a university’s success must, in the end, be measured by the success of its students. Fred Terman’s formula for success, both in life and for his university, was fairly simple: hard work and persistence, systematic dedication to clearly articulated goals, accountability, and not settling for mediocre work in yourself or in others.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (September 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804749140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804749145
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,648,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Clouser on July 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This biography of Fred Terman was thorough, detailed, and well-documented. The author did a fine job in piecing together the biograhical data into an enjoyable narrative. At times it is very scientific and gets into real science, at others its heart warming and all about love, family -- the stuff that really matters.

What is really amazing is the amount of documentation -- letters, notes, historical records, sketches, etc -- that not only the author dug up, but apparently Fred kept and then donated to the University. I learned about a lot of other things Fred donated to the University too -- such as his house and his book royalties. It goes without saying, but I learned a lot about Fred.

Although I am a Cornellian and not a Cardinal, I believe that this book should be required reading for every freshman entering both Stanford and Cornell, in the summer prior to their matriculation. Not only does this tell a story of a real person, with weaknesses, faults, and strengths, it tells a story of a human who perservered through terrible, life-threatening illnesses to become a leader who changed not only Stanford and Palo Alto and also catalyzed Silicon Valley, but the world. Moreover, it also is a story of family, of things good in life that I believe is still a value in the Valley and was partially responsible for enabling it to springboard off of Fred's initiatives. Finally, it is a story of an entrepreneur, whose vision, perseverance, and care enabled him to achieve greatness, not through himself, but through others, and he reveled in it.

As a Ph.D.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Terman is one of those enormously significant people in U.S. history who are generally overlooked, his mentor Vannevar Bush who built much of MIT and more is another example. Terman's probably the core reason Stanford is a famous school with huge impact in the California economy and the U.S. economy, well beyond electronics (venture capital, high tech firm formation and culture, innovation, pension fund investment in high tech firms/incubation, tech parks, etc.). The author's focuses are different than my own interests so it's kind of a slog often enough while a family member of Terman's would relish it as would a former student.
It's the only biography of Terman though and anyone trying to build a more relevant university, to stimulate high tech/new tech work, develop industry clusters, make grads more employable, or get a much better understanding of the electronics and computer industries would find this an essential read. Vannevar Bush's biography "Endless Frontier" and Jennet Conant's "Tuxedo Park" are excellent companion pieces to seeing how this ferment and industry-government research partnerships began in the 1930's-1940's.
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Format: Hardcover
THHIS IS NOT A REVIEW, BUT A CORRECTION IN YOUR LISTINGS OF ONE OF MY OTHER BOOKS. You mis-spell my author's name in one of my books now out of print. in my book Coulomb and the Evolution of Physics and Engineering in Eighteenth-Century France, you have my name listed as spelled Gilmor, and Gillmour. INCORRECT. Correct author's name

C. Stewart Gillmor, as in four of my other books you list.
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Excellent book.
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