Statement on the Passing of Gordon Moore

Intel and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation announced last week that company co-founder Gordon Moore passed away peacefully at the age of 94.

In addition to Moore’s seminal role in co-founding Intel, one of the world’s pioneering technology companies, Moore predicted in 1965 that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every year – a prediction known now as Moore’s Law. In the 1990s, he often compared the number of transistors on chips manufactured each year to the number of ants on Earth, citing the calculations of the late naturalist E.O. Wilson.

Moore was a director of Conservation International for several years alongside Dr. Wilson. In 1998, Moore pledged $35 million to set up a Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, the largest private gift ever made to biodiversity conservation at that time.

In 2001, Wilson advised Gordon Moore’s $261 million gift to Conservation International to support species monitoring, biodiversity hot-spot identification, and research training stretching from Amazonia to the Congo. A “blueprint for the initiative” was developed in 2000 during the Defying Nature’s End conference organized by the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science then co-chaired by Moore and Wilson. Wilson subsequently identified and named an ant from Veracruz, Mexico, Pheidole mooreorum, after Gordon and Betty Moore in their honor. 

Close up of an ant.

Pheidole mooreorum, a Mexican ant species, identified and named by E.O. Wilson in honor of Gordon and Betty Moore.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s leadership as a conservation grant-maker has been tremendous, from the Andes-Amazon Fund to the Legacy Landscapes Fund to its contributions to the just-announced landmark Tribal Nations Conservation Pledge. 

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s leadership support was fundamental in launching the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation’s core program, the Half-Earth Project in 2016, and accelerating its science and education initiatives. Paula J. Ehrlich, President and CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation said, “Moore’s pioneering contributions to improving humanity’s relationship with nature cannot be overstated. He was an early ally and supporter of E.O. Wilson’s hopes for Half-Earth. His example lives on through our work.” 

The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation will always be appreciative of Gordon Moore’s vision, big thinking, and willingness to focus on the details embodied in Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s support of the Half-Earth Project Map and advancing our understanding of “the little things that run the world.”

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