There are few men whose insights and professional accomplishments have changed the world. Jack Kilby was one of these men. His invention of the monolithic integrated circuit - the microchip - laid the conceptual and technical foundation for the entire field of modern microelectronics. From Jack Kilby's first simple circuit has grown a worldwide integrated circuit market whose sales in 2007 totaled $219 billion.
Jack Kilby grew up in Great Bend, Kansas and joined TI in Dallas in 1958. During the summer of that year, working with borrowed and improvised equipment, he conceived and built the first electronic circuit in which all of the components, both active and passive, were fabricated in a single piece of semiconductor material half the size of a paper clip.
It was a relatively simple device that Jack Kilby showed to a handful of co-workers gathered in TI's semiconductor lab 50 years ago -- only a transistor and other components on a slice of germanium. Little did this group of onlookers know that Kilby's invention was about to revolutionize the electronics industry.
"As a new employee, I had no vacation time coming and was left alone to ponder the results of the IF amplifier exercise. The cost analysis gave me my first insight into the cost structure of a semiconductor house."
Jack Kilby received the Nobel Prize in Physics on December 10. 2000 for his part in the invention of the integrated circuit. To congratulate him, U.S. President Bill Clinton wrote, "You can take pride in the knowledge that your work will help to improve lives for generations to come."
Historical Timeline for Jack Kilby :