A History of Silicon Valley

This biography is an appendix to my book "A History of Silicon Valley"


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(Copyright © 2009 Piero Scaruffi)

Peter Schultz

Peter Schultz (Ohio, 1956) graduated in biochemistry from CalTech in 1984. After one year of research at the MIT, he joined the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1985. He became a pioneer in combinatorial chemistry. Schultz and Stephen Fodor of the Affymax Research Institute, a pharmaceutical company founded by Zaffaroni in Palo Alto, started Affymetrix in Santa Clara in 1992 to produce "gene-chips", the biological equivalent of electronic chips, by printing a huge number of DNA molecules on a silicon wafer. The first DNA chip came out in 1994. In 1994 Zaffaroni and Schultz founded Symyx in Santa Clara (at the Affymetrix building) to apply Affymetrix's technique of combinatorial chemistry to the task of discovering new materials. While at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Schultz had developed a technique that mirrors what Nature does: create a large number of variations and then select the fittest ones. Symyx's process enabled the simultaneous testing of a vast number of chemical compounds in one experiment, hoping to reduce the amount of time needed to discover the material that is needed for an electronic or chemical application. Schultz moved to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1994 and to the Scripps Research Institute in 1999. Schultz also became director of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation.
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