Jack Kilby

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Jack Kilby
Jack Kilby.jpg
Born(1923-11-08)November 8, 1923
DiedJune 20, 2005(2005-06-20) (aged 81)
Nationality United States
Alma mater University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Awards Nobel Prize in Physics (2000)
National Medal of Science (1969)
IEEE Medal of Honor (1986)
Charles Stark Draper Prize (1989)
Computer Pioneer Award (1993)
Kyoto Prize (1993)
Harold Pender Award (2000)
Scientific career
Fields Physics, electrical engineering
Institutions Texas Instruments

Jack St. Clair Kilby (November 8, 1923 – June 20, 2005) was an American electrical engineer who took part (along with Robert Noyce) in the realization of the first integrated circuit while working at Texas Instruments (TI) in 1958. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics on December 10, 2000. [1] To congratulate him, American President Bill Clinton wrote, "You can take pride in the knowledge that your work will help to improve lives for generations to come." [2]

Robert Noyce American businessman and engineer

Robert Norton Noyce, nicknamed "the Mayor of Silicon Valley," was an American physicist who co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel Corporation in 1968. He is also credited with the realization of the first monolithic integrated circuit or microchip, which fueled the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name.

Integrated circuit electronic circuit manufactured by lithography; set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece of semiconductor material that is normally silicon. The integration of large numbers of tiny MOS transistors into a small chip results in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller, faster, and less expensive than those constructed of discrete electronic components. The IC's mass production capability, reliability, and building-block approach to circuit design has ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors. ICs are now used in virtually all electronic equipment and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones, and other digital home appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the small size and low cost of ICs.

Texas Instruments American semiconductor designer and manufacturer

Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) is an American technology company that designs and manufactures semiconductors and various integrated circuits, which it sells to electronics designers and manufacturers globally. Its headquarters are in Dallas, Texas, United States. TI is one of the top-10 semiconductor companies worldwide, based on sales volume. Texas Instruments's focus is on developing analog chips and embedded processors, which account for more than 80% of their revenue. TI also produces TI digital light processing technology and education technology products including calculators, microcontrollers and multi-core processors. To date, TI has more than 45,000 patents worldwide.


Kilby is also the co-inventor of the handheld calculator and the thermal printer, for which he has the patents. He also has patents for seven other inventions. [3]

Calculator electronic device used to perform operations of arithmetic

An electronic calculator is typically a portable electronic device used to perform calculations, ranging from basic arithmetic to complex mathematics.

Thermal printing

Thermal printing is a digital printing process which produces a printed image by selectively heating coated thermochromic paper, or thermal paper as it is commonly known, when the paper passes over the thermal print head. The coating turns black in the areas where it is heated, producing an image. Two-color direct thermal printers can print both black and an additional color by applying heat at two different temperatures.

Early life

Kilby was born in 1923 in Jefferson City, Missouri to Hubert and Vina Freitag Kilby. Both parents had Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Illinois, but it was his father's job as a manager of a local power company that brought the family from Jefferson City to Kansas, where he went from manager to president of the utility. [4] Kilby grew up and attended school in Great Bend, Kansas, graduating from the Great Bend High School. (Road signs at the entrances to the town commemorate his time there, and the Commons Area at Great Bend High School has been named The Jack Kilby Commons Area.)

Great Bend, Kansas City and County seat in Kansas, United States

Great Bend is a city in and the county seat of Barton County, Kansas, United States. It is named for its location at the point where the course of the Arkansas River bends east then southeast. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 15,995.

Great Bend High School

Great Bend High School is a public high school located in Great Bend, Kansas, serving students in grades 9-12. The school is in the Unified School District 428. The athletic teams are known as the Panthers and all athletic programs compete in the 5A division according to the KSHSAA.

Kilby received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where he was an honorary member of Acacia Fraternity. In 1947, he received a degree in electrical engineering. He earned his master of science in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 1950, while working at Centralab, a division of Globe-Union corporation in Milwaukee.

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign public research university in Urbana and Champaign, Illinois, United States

The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a public research university in Illinois and the flagship institution of the University of Illinois system. Founded in 1867 as a land-grant institution, its campus is located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana.

Electrical engineering Field of engineering that deals with electricity

Electrical engineering is a technical discipline concerned with the study, design and application of equipment, devices and systems which use electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. It emerged as an identified activity in the latter half of the 19th century after commercialization of the electric telegraph, the telephone, and electrical power generation, distribution and use.

University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee only other research university in the system, abbreviated UWM or occasionally UW–M

The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is a public urban research university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. It is the largest university in the Milwaukee metropolitan area and a member of the University of Wisconsin System. It is also one of the two doctoral degree-granting public universities and the second largest university in Wisconsin.


In mid-1958, Kilby, a newly employed engineer at Texas Instruments (TI), did not yet have the right to a summer vacation. He spent the summer working on the problem in circuit design that was commonly called the "tyranny of numbers", and he finally came to the conclusion that the manufacturing of circuit components en masse in a single piece of semiconductor material could provide a solution. On September 12, he presented his findings to company's management, which included Mark Shepherd. He showed them a piece of germanium with an oscilloscope attached, pressed a switch, and the oscilloscope showed a continuous sine wave, proving that his integrated circuit worked, and hence he had solved the problem. U.S. Patent 3,138,743 for "Miniaturized Electronic Circuits", the first integrated circuit, was filed on February 6, 1959. [5] Along with Robert Noyce (who independently made a similar circuit a few months later), Kilby is generally credited as co-inventor of the integrated circuit.

The tyranny of numbers was a problem faced in the 1960s by computer engineers. Engineers were unable to increase the performance of their designs due to the huge number of components involved. In theory, every component needed to be wired to every other component and were typically strung and soldered by hand. In order to improve performance, more components would be needed, and it seemed that future designs would consist almost entirely of wiring.

A semiconductor material has an electrical conductivity value falling between that of a conductor, such as metallic copper, and an insulator, such as glass. Its resistance decreases as its temperature increases, which is the behaviour opposite to that of a metal. Its conducting properties may be altered in useful ways by the deliberate, controlled introduction of impurities ("doping") into the crystal structure. Where two differently-doped regions exist in the same crystal, a semiconductor junction is created. The behavior of charge carriers which include electrons, ions and electron holes at these junctions is the basis of diodes, transistors and all modern electronics. Some examples of semiconductors are silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide, and elements near the so-called "metalloid staircase" on the periodic table. After silicon, gallium arsenide is the second most common semiconductor and is used in laser diodes, solar cells, microwave-frequency integrated circuits and others. Silicon is a critical element for fabricating most electronic circuits.

Mark Shepherd Jr. was the chairman and chief executive officer of Texas Instruments. He was in attendance at the demonstration of the integrated circuit by Jack Kilby on September 12, 1958.

Jack Kilby went on to pioneer military, industrial, and commercial applications of microchip technology. He headed teams that created the first military system and the first computer incorporating integrated circuits. He invented the handheld calculator (along with Jerry Merryman and James Van Tassel [6] ). He was also responsible for the thermal printer that was used in early portable data terminals.

Jerry Merryman

Jerry Dale Merryman was an American electrical engineer and inventor. He was a member of the team at Texas Instruments that developed the first pocket calculator in 1965.

In 1970, he took a leave of absence from TI to work as an independent inventor. He explored, among other subjects, the use of silicon technology for generating electrical power from sunlight. From 1978 to 1984 he held the position of Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

In 1983, Kilby retired from Texas Instruments.

Jack Kilby's original integrated circuit Kilby solid circuit.jpg
Jack Kilby's original integrated circuit

Later life

He died of cancer June 20, 2005 at the age of 81, in Dallas, Texas.

On December 14, 2005, Texas Instruments created the Historic TI Archives. The Jack Kilby family donated his personal manuscripts and his personal photograph collection to Southern Methodist University (SMU). The collection will be cataloged and stored at DeGolyer Library, SMU.

In 2008, the SMU School of Engineering, with the DeGolyer Library and the Library of Congress, hosted a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the birth of the digital age with Kilby's Nobel Prize-winning invention of the integrated circuit. Symposia and exhibits examined the many ways in which technology and engineers shaped the modern world. Kilby held an honorary doctorate of science from SMU and was a longtime associate of SMU through the Kilby Foundation.

Awards and honors

Recognition of Kilby's outstanding achievements have been made by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), including the election to IEEE Fellow in 1966, the IEEE David Sarnoff Award in 1966, [7] co-recipient of the first IEEE Cledo Brunetti Award in 1978, [8] the IEEE Centennial Medal in 1984 and the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1986. [9] He was co-recipient of the Franklin Institute’s Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1966. [10] In 1982 and 1989, he received the Holley Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). [11] He was elected to member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 1967, [12] received the Academy's Vladimir K. Zworykin Award in 1975, and was co-recipient of the first NAE's Charles Stark Draper Prize in 1989. [13] The Kilby Award Foundation was founded in 1980 in his honor, and the IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal was created in 1995.

Kilby is also the recipient of the nation's most prestigious honors in science and engineering: the National Medal of Science in 1969, and the National Medal of Technology in 1990. In 1982, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

In 1993, he was awarded the Kyoto Prize by the Inamori Foundation. He was awarded both the Washington Award, administered by the Western Society of Engineers and the Eta Kappa Nu Vladimir Karapetoff Award in 1999. In 2000, Kilby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his breakthrough discovery, and delivered his personal view of the industry and its history in his acceptance speech.

Kilby was awarded nine honorary doctorate degrees from universities including Southern Methodist University, the University of Miami, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Texas A&M University, Yale and Rochester Institute of Technology. The National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) in Taiwan awarded Kilby with a certificate of Honorary Professorship in 1998.

The Kilby Center, TI's research center for silicon manufacturing, is named after him.

The Jack Kilby Computer Centre at the Merchiston Campus of Edinburgh Napier University in Edinburgh is also named in his honor. [14]

Kilby patents

See also


  1. The Nobel Prize in Physics 2000. Nobelprize.org. Retrieved on 2013-11-21.
  2. "Jack Kilby". TI. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  3. "The Chip that Jack Built". IT Invention. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  4. https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/jack-st-clair-kilby/12125
  5. "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2000". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  6. Stengle, Jamie (March 7, 2019). "Jerry Merryman, co-inventor of handheld electronic calculator, dies at 86". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  7. "IEEE David Sarnoff Award Recipients" (PDF). IEEE . Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  8. "IEEE Cledo Brunetti Award Recipients" (PDF). IEEE. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  9. "IEEE Medal of Honor Recipients" (PDF). IEEE. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-22. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  10. "Franklin Laureate Database – Stuart Ballantine Medal 1966 Laureates". Franklin Institute. Archived from the original on 2012-12-10. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  11. "Holley Medal". American Society of Mechanical Engineers . Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  12. "NAE Members Directory – Mr. Jack S. Kilby". National Academy of Engineering . Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  13. "Recipients of The Charles Stark Draper Prize". National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  14. "School of Computing – Facilities & Resources". Edinburgh Napier University . Retrieved July 24, 2012.

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