Mead has made many pioneering contributions in solid-state electronics, and was one of the leading forces in very large scale integration (VLSI) design methodology. His major innovations include the GaAs MESFET, a key amplifying device used in microwave communication systems from radio telescopes to home satellite dishes and cellular phones. Mead is also well known for pioneering computer-aided design of VLSI circuitry through his methodology of "structured custom design," an approach now used by all semiconductor companies. Mead's work with VLSI design has also included co-authoring the canonical text in the field with Lynn Conway in 1979, Introduction to VLSI Systems, a book that was the standard reference text for a generation of IC designers. He is the Gordon and Betty Moore professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), having taught there for over 40 years. Mead holds B.S. (1956), M.S. (1957), and Ph.D. (1959) degrees from Caltech in electrical engineering.