Lecture Series: Russell Varian – From Halcyon through Stanford to the Origins of Silicon Valley

What does the Royal Air Force’s victory in the Battle of Britain have in common with the establishment of Silicon Valley and Castle Rock State Park? Russell Varian. Join Henry Lowood, curator of Stanford University’s History of Science & Technology Collections, as he surveys the brief but remarkable life of Russell Varian – from his upbringing in the Utopian community of Halcyon, California to his invention of the klystron, the first tube that could generate electromagnetic waves at microwave frequencies. Discover the contributions of this remarkable man to California’s electronics industry and environmental movement before his untimely death in 1959.

About the Speaker: Henry Lowood is curator for history of science & technology collections and film & media collections at Stanford Libraries. Trained in the history of science and technology with a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, over a period of more than 35 years, he has combined interests in history, technological innovation and the history of digital games and simulations to head several long-term projects at Stanford, including How They Got Game: The History and Culture of Interactive Simulations and Videogames in the Stanford Humanities Lab and Stanford Libraries and the Silicon Valley Archives in the Stanford Libraries. He led Stanford’s work on game and virtual world preservation in the Preserving Virtual Worlds project funded by the U.S. Library of Congress and the Institute for Museum and Library services and the Game Citation Project also funded by IMLS. He is also the author of numerous articles and essays on the history of Silicon Valley and the development of digital game technology and culture. With Michael Nitsche, he co-edited The Machinima Reader (2011) and, with Raiford Guins, Debugging Game History: A Critical Lexicon (2016), both for MIT Press. With Guins, he also co-edits the book series, Game Histories, for MIT Press.

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