Jack St. Clair Kilby
National Medal of Science
For original conceptions and valuable contributions in the production and application of integrated circuits.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation
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.
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BirthNovember 8, 1923
Age Awarded46 (Science)
Country of BirthUSA
Key ContributionsFirst Integrated Circuit
Awarded byRichard Milhous Nixon (Science)
George H. W. Bush (Technology)
EducationUniversity of Illinois
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Areas of ImpactCommunication & Information
AffiliationsJack Kilby Company
Other PrizesNobel Prize
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering
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