Early in 1959 while at Fairchild Semiconductor, Jean Hoerni invented the planar manufacturing process.
Hoerni, a native of Geneva, Switzerland, was among the eight men who left Shockley Semiconductor to found Fairchild Semiconductor. Hoerni left Fairchild in 1961 to found Teledyne's Amelco division. In 1963, he left to lead a Union Carbide research division. He founded the firm Intersil in 1967, and a later a firm called Telmos. He served as a consultant to semiconductor firms around the world.
Trained as a theoretical physicist, Hoerni held undergradute and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Geneva and another Ph.D. from Cambridge University. An avid high-altitude hiker, Hoerni created the Central Asia Institute to enable Greg Mortenson to build schools in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.