Jack St. Clair Kilby

National Medal of Science

Engineering

For original conceptions and valuable contributions in the production and application of integrated circuits.

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Hardware

For his invention and contributions to the commercialization of the integrated circuit and the silicon thermal print-head; for his contributions to the development of the first computer using integrated circuits; and for the invention of the hand-held calculator, and gate array.

For original conceptions and valuable contributions in the production and application of integrated circuits.

For his invention and contributions to the commercialization of the integrated circuit and the silicon thermal print-head; for his contributions to the development of the first computer using integrated circuits; and for the invention of the hand-held calculator, and gate array.

VIEW STATISTICS +

Birth
November 8, 1923
Age Awarded
46 (Science)
67 (Technology)
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
First Integrated Circuit
Calculator
Awarded by
Richard Milhous Nixon (Science)
George H. W. Bush (Technology)
Education
University of Illinois
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Areas of Impact
Communication & Information
Affiliations
Jack Kilby Company
Texas Instruments
Other Prizes
Nobel Prize
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering
I

In the summer of 1958, an electrical engineer at Texas Instruments worked in a deserted office while most employees left on a two-week vacation period. As a new employee with no vacation, Jack St. Clair Kilby instead spent the summer inventing a technology that revolutionized modern computing: the monolithic integrated circuit-- the microchip that lies in the heart of every computer.

By incorporating all the necessary components for a complete electrical circuit onto a single piece of semiconductor material half the size of a paper clip, Kilby laid the foundation for the entire industry of microelectronics.

When his colleagues returned from vacation, the device was nothing more than a sliver of germanium with protruding wires, glued to a glass slide. But when Kilby pressed a switch, an unending sine curve moved across the oscilloscope screen. His invention worked. The microchip served as the backbone for Kilby’s subsequent inventions of the semi-conductor based thermal printer, gate array, and a circuit-based hand-held calculator, the Pocketronic.

By Jennifer Santisi

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