story of Silicon Valley
old America was made in New York or Detroit, modern America is made in
Silicon Valley. But what is "Silicon Valley", where is it? And why is
is where it is?
San José,in the heart of Silicon Valley
It is not made of silicon; and
it is not a river valley; but forgetting that, Silicon Valley is
probably the most famous valley in the world. Although it is not the
place where the first computer was built (that was Manchester,
England), Silicon Valley, near San Francisco, was the birthplace
modern computer industry.
For this, we can say thankyou
to scientists at the universities in California, and to the Hippies of
It was in the nineteen-sixties that American "youth
really began. California, of course, already existed; but the Sixties
Generation rediscovered it.
At the time there were really two
different forms of youth
culture; the "Beach Boy" culture on
the one hand
, and the anti-establishment
hippies and radical
students on the other hand; and they all dreamed of California.
For the Beach Boys, that meant southern
California, where they could sing about surfing and cars; for the Hippies and radicals, it meant
San Francisco, "flower power" and revolutionary new ideas. The campuses
at Berkeley and Stamford, near San Francisco, were hot-beds of new
ideas, new technology, new culture, and new ways of living.
When they finished university, many of the
best students did not look for jobs with big companies like Ford or
Exxon. Instead they wanted to be free and run
operations.... and stay in California, not far from San Francisco.
Silicon Valley is thus a group of small towns, including Palo Alto and
San José, a few miles south of San Francisco.
The high-technology industry was already present
around San Francisco. Intel had been founded in 1968, and in the same
year the first computer mouse was built at Stamford University. In
1970, Xerox opened a research center in Palo Alto. There were also
other electronics companies, like Hewlett
Packard, and Fairchild, the world's first "semiconductor" company.
Then, in 1976, an electronics
student called Steve Jobs started a small computer company
garage; he gave it the same name as the Beatles' record company: Apple
Very soon, more
companies, like Seagate and Google appeared. "Silicon Valley" had
arrived. There was even a sort of primitive Internet connecting many addresses in
Silicon Valley, called the Arpanet.
Today, Silicon Valley is still the home
of the computer industry; it is still full of high technology, but it
is not the only center for high-tech in the USA. Today here
are computer firms all over the USA.... and all over the world; but
Silicon Valley still has the largest concentration of high-tech
companies and research centers.
Microsoft, the world's biggest high-tech
company, is not based in Silicon Valley. It is further north, near
Seattle in the state of Washington
the place where a person is born -
young people -
on the one hand:
on one side - anti-establishment:
who reject the "established" system of society - radical:
different, revolutionary -
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Silicon valley... Where is it, and why is it where it is ?
Here are the answers
to some questions. Using information from the text, make up possible
questions to fit the answers. As you will notice, some of the questions
use question words, others do not.
In Manchester, England
In Silicon Valley, near San Francisco.
The Beach Boys.
Did the best students....
No, they preferred to stay in California.
In Palo Alto
It was a sort of primitive Internet.
No, there are high-terch firms all over the USA now.
Further north, in Seattle.
Ideas for teachers and students
For information on how to form questions in English, see http://linguapress.com/grammar/question-structure.htm
Pay attention to the use of passives and compound-nound, which are common features of technical writing. For example:
It is not made of...
The first computer was built
Intel had been founded ...
Silicon valley / computer industry / youth culture / sixties generation / flower power / high-technology industry, etc.
EFL teachers: Help develop this resource by contributing extra teaching
materials or exercises.
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