John L. Moll died Tuesday, July 19th at the age of 89 in Palo Alto, California. He was at home at the Palo Alto Commons assisted living facility. John was born December 21st, 1921 in Wauseon, Ohio to Samuel and Esther Moll. He had five brothers, Alvin, Harry, Howard, Kenneth, Ernie and a sister, Violet.
John grew up on his parent’s farm, the son of Mennonites. He attended public schools where he did well and showed unusual talent for mathematics. He obtained a B.Sc. in
Physics in 1943 from The Ohio State University. From there, he went on to become a staff member at the RCA Labs, Lancaster, PA, from 1944 to 1945. At RCA he met Isabel Sieber, who was also on the technical staff, and they were married October 28th, 1944. They returned to Ohio State, where John obtained a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1952.
John was a Member of Technical Staff at the Bell Telephone Laboratories from 1952 to 1958. He assembled a group that did research aimed at development of semiconductor devices. Notable contributions during this period include modeling of solid-state switches, the development of physical arguments and of technology that suggested silicon rather than the then popular germanium to be the better semiconductor material, the Ebers-Moll equation, and the eponymous transistor model. Seminal technology developments included demonstrations of diffusion, oxide
masking, gettering, and practical contact metallurgy.
From 1958 to 1970, John was an Associate Professor, and then a Professor, of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University in. He also did consulting work for HP
Associates, Fairchild Camera and Hewlett Packard. At Stanford, he worked on silicon devices, including MOS devices and, also III-V materials and devices. In 1970, he
moved to Fairchild Semiconductor where he led work on Si ICs and III-V optoelectronic devices. From 1974 until his retirement in 1996 he worked for Hewlett Packard where he led work on development and device modeling of bipolar and MOS silicon devices, high temperature superconductor materials and integrated circuit design. During his career he wrote many scientific papers and several books including
“Physics of Semiconductors” and “Computer Aided design and VLSI device development”.
John received numerous awards for his work, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, 1964; Howard N. Potts Medal, Franklin Institute, 1967; the Ebers Award, IEEE Electron Devices Society, 1971; and the Benjamin Lamme Medal, Ohio State University, 1988. He received the IEEE Edison Medal in 1991, "for pioneering contributions to diffused and oxide-masked silicon devices, transistor analysis, the p-n-
p-n switch, and optoelectronics”, Eta Kappa Nu's Vladimir Karapetoff Eminent Members' Award in 1995 and the 1997 C&C Prize (group A) from the C&C Foundation of Japan. He was a Fellow of the IEEE; member of the American Physical Society; the National Academy of Engineering; and the National Academy of Sciences.
In addition to an exceptional career, John was an avid gardener, as circumstances permitted. He enjoyed a variety of games and activities with friends and children, ranging from Go to badminton, and he played poker almost to the end of his life.
John is survived by his three children and their spouses, Nick Moll and his wife Barbara Bekins of La Honda, California, Benjamin Moll and his wife Jill Deikman of
Davis, California and Diana Moll of Santa Cruz, California, three grandchildren, Ilana Moll and her husband David Brown of Rancho Cordova, California, Laurel Moll of Davis, California and Dexter Simmons of Santa Cruz, California and great grandchild Benjamin Brown of Rancho Cordova, California. He survived all his siblings, and was preceded in death by his wife Isabel, who died December 29th, 2007.
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