Hans Camenzind

Last updated
Hans R. Camenzind
Hans R. Camenzind

January 1, 1934
Zürich, Switzerland
DiedAugust 8, 2012
Los Altos, California, United States
Nationality Switzerland
Other namesHans Rudolph Camenzind
Alma mater Northeastern University
University of Santa Clara
Occupation Electrical Engineer, Inventor
Known forDevelopment of 555 timer IC
Spouse(s)Pia Camenzind

Hans R. Camenzind (1 January 1934 – 8 August 2012 [1] ) was a Swiss electronics engineer, famous for designing the 555 timer IC in 1971 under contract to Signetics. [2] He was the inventor on 20 US patents. Camenzind also wrote three books and numerous technical articles, [3] and lectured at the University of Santa Clara.


Background and education

Camenzind was born and raised in Zürich, Switzerland, where he went to college. In 1960 he moved to the United States, first receiving an MSEE from Northeastern University and then an MBA from the University of Santa Clara.


After six years doing research in the laboratories of PR Mallory [4] in the Boston area, Camenzind moved to the West Coast to join Signetics, [5] later acquired by Philips Semiconductors, and now spun off as NXP Semiconductors. But two years later Signetics lost its way and Camenzind took a leave of absence and worked from home. He then started Interdesign, a semiconductor design company, which he headed for seven years before selling out to Ferranti. Following the sale of Interdesign, Camenzind became an independent analog IC design consultant.

During his career Camenzind designed the first integrated class D amplifier, introduced the IC phase-locked loop, invented the semicustom IC, and created the legendary 555 timer. By 2006, he had designed 140 standard and custom ICs.


Camenzind wrote three books and numerous technical articles. His last book, Much Ado About Almost Nothing, published in February 2007, is a general audience book about the history of electronics. Other books include, Designing Analog Chips and, under the pen name John Penter, he also wrote, Circumstantial Evidence, a book about religion.

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  1. "Hans Camenzind, 555 timer inventor, dies | EE Times". Archived from the original on 2013-06-13. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
  2. CR4
  3. IEEE
  4. "THE 555 TIMER, An Interview with Hans Camenzind".
  5. Signetics directory