Since the late 1960s, synchrotron-based experimental techniques have been playing a key role in semiconductor research. Major milestones include the observation of intrinsic and extrinsic surface and interface states, the study of interface formation processes, band structure mapping and, more recently, the study of exotic correlation effects in low-dimensional systems. We briefly review these developments with special emphasis on the contributions of the University of Wisconsin Synchrotron Radiation Center (SRC) and on the corresponding environment.