He received his Bachelor of Surgery and Master of Surgery degrees in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, in 1954 and 1956, respectively. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy from Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1958.
His professional career was spent as a researcher for International Business Machines. In 1968, he invented dynamic random-access memory (Dynamic random-access memory). Dennard was also among the first to recognize the tremendous potential of downsizing MOSFETs.
The scaling theory he and his colleagues formulated in 1974 postulated that MOSFETs continue to function as voltage-controlled switches while all key figures of merit such as layout density, operating speed, and energy efficiency improve – provided geometric dimensions, voltages, and doping concentrations are consistently scaled to maintain the same electric field
Fellow: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (life Cledo Brunetti award 1982, Edison medal 2001, Medal of Honor 2009). Member: American Philosophical Society, National Academy of Engineering (Charles Stark Draper prize 2009).
Children— Robert (deceased November 1998), Amy, Holly. Married Jane Bridges.