Robert H. Dennard

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Robert H. Dennard
Born(1932-09-05)September 5, 1932
DiedApril 23, 2024(2024-04-23) (aged 91)
Known forInventing DRAM, Dennard scaling
AwardsHarvey Prize (1990)
IEEE Edison Medal (2001)
IEEE Medal of Honor (2009)
Kyoto Prize (2013)
Robert N. Noyce Award (2019)
Scientific career
ThesisBehavior of the ferroresonant
series circuit containing
a square-loop reactor
Doctoral advisorLeo A. Finzi

Robert Heath Dennard (September 5, 1932 – April 23, 2024) was an American electrical engineer and inventor.[1]


Dennard was born in Terrell, Texas. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, in 1954 and 1956, respectively. He earned a Ph.D. from Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1958. His professional career was spent as a researcher for International Business Machines.[1]

In 1966 he invented the one transistor memory cell consisting of a transistor and a capacitor for which a patent[2] was issued in 1968. It became the basis for today's dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) and almost all other memory types such as SRAM and FLASH memory. Dennard was also among the first to recognize the tremendous potential of downsizing MOSFETs. The scaling theory he and his colleagues formulated in 1974 postulated that MOSFETs continue to function as voltage-controlled switches while all key figures of merit such as layout density, operating speed, and energy efficiency improve – provided geometric dimensions, voltages, and doping concentrations are consistently scaled to maintain the same electric field. This property underlies the achievement of Moore's Law and the evolution of microelectronics over the last few decades.[1]

In 1984, Dennard was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering for pioneering work in FET technology, including invention of the one transistor dynamic RAM and contributions to scaling theory.

Dennard died on April 23, 2024, at the age of 91.[3][1]

Awards and honors[edit]

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  1. ^ a b c d Lohr, Steve (May 16, 2024). "Robert Dennard, IBM Inventor Whose Chip Changed Computing, Dies at 91". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 17, 2024.
  2. ^ "Field-effect transistor memory".
  3. ^ "Robert Dennard Obituary - Death Notice and Service Information". May 2, 2024.
  4. ^ Russell, John (November 12, 2019). "SIA Recognizes Robert Dennard with 2019 Noyce Award". HPC Wire. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  5. ^ Taft, Darryl K. (June 24, 2013). "IBM Researcher Wins Kyoto Prize for DRAM Invention". eWeek. Archived from the original on October 26, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  6. ^ "Edison Medal", Awards, IEEE, 2001.
  7. ^ Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering, Franklin Institute, 2007, archived from the original on October 12, 2007.
  8. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  9. ^ "Dennard, Robert H", People, Computer History Museum, retrieved February 9, 2012.
  10. ^ National Medal of Technology recipients, 1988, archived from the original on August 12, 2006.

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