George Leitmann on rocket test track, Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake

George Leitmann on rocket test track, Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake, mid-1950s (Image credit: Bancroft Library)

Bancroft Library oral history, podcast highlights Berkeley Engineering achievements

UC Berkeley's Oral History Center recently highlighted the history of mechanical engineering professor emeritus George Leitmann, as well as Berkeley Engineering's contribution to the rise of the semiconductor industry and Silicon Valley.

George Leitmann

Leitmann joined the faculty at UC Berkeley in 1957 and has had a distinguished career as professor of engineering science, specializing in optimal control and dynamic game theory where he is considered to be a leading authority in their applications. These include economics, planning, environmental management, uncertain systems, mechanical systems, operations research, and biological systems.

In 11 sessions, the Oral History Center recorded Leitmann talking about everything from his childhood in Vienna to Adolf Hitler and Sigmund Freud — both of whom he saw up close — to reconnaissance during World War II, rocket science, UC Berkeley administration, the riots at Berkeley in 1969, mathematics, the evolution of science and engineering instruction, the importance of family, and the kindness of dogs, among many other subjects.

A public university's role in the rise of Silicon Valley

A new Bancroft Library podcast "Berkeley lightning: A public university’s role in the rise of Silicon Valley" highlights the contributions of Berkeley Engineering to the rise of the semiconductor industry in what became known as Silicon Valley in the 1960s and 1970s.

In contrast to the influential entrepreneurial spirit of a private university like Stanford, Berkeley’s status as a public institution had a different impact on Silicon Valley. The podcast focuses on the development of the first widely used design program for prototyping microchips. Originally designed by and for students, the software spread like lightning in part because Berkeley, as a public institution, made it available free of charge. The world has not been the same since. 

Topics: Berkeley Engineering in the News, EECS, Materials science, Mechanical engineering, Computing, Design, Devices & inventions, Industry, Research, Students, Faculty, Alumni