Swiss-American physicist who invented the planar process, which led to the first integrated circuit. The Swiss-born Hoerni completed doctorates at Cambridge University and the University of Geneva before immigrating to the United States in 1952. In the early 1950s, while working at the California Institute of Technology, Hoerni was recruited by Nobel laureate William Shockley to join his new Shockley Transistor Laboratories. Hoerni and several of his colleagues soon formed a new company to develop their own integrated circuit. His planar process, which fused a layer of silicon dioxide onto a chip before applying the conducting metal circuitry, helped give his Fairchild Semiconductor company the leading edge in the semiconductor industry.