Jack Kilby,

Jack St. Clair Kilby (November 8, 1923 – June 20, 2005) was a Nobel Prize laureate in physics in 2000 for his invention of the integrated circuit in 1958 while working at Texas Instruments (TI). He is also the inventor of handheld calculator and thermal printer.


Kilby's life began in Jefferson City, Missouri. He spent much of his early life in Great Bend, Kansas, and graduated from Great Bend High School. Road signs at the entrances to the town commemorate his time there.

Kilby received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1947 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He obtained his master of science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1950, while simultaneously working at Centralab in Milwaukee.

In the summer of 1958, Kilby was a newly employed engineer at Texas Instruments who 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 finally came to the conclusion that manufacturing the circuit components en masse in a single piece of semiconductor material could provide a solution. On September 12 he presented his findings to the management of Texas Instruments: 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 thus that he solved the problem. A patent for a "Solid Circuit made of Germanium", the first integrated circuit, was filed on February 6, 1959. In addition to the integrated circuit, Kilby also is noted for patenting the electronic portable calculator and the thermal printer used in data terminals. In total, he held about 60 patents.

From 1978 to 1985, he was Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University. In 1983, Kilby retired from Texas Instruments.

Kilby died June 20, 2005 when he was 81, in Dallas, Texas, following a brief battle with cancer.

Awards and honors
Kilby was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1969 and inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1982. He was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1990. The Kilby Award Foundation was founded in 1990 in his honor. He received the Eta Kappa Nu Vladimir Karapetoff Award in 1999. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 for his breakthrough discovery. The Kilby Center, TI's research center for silicon manufacturing, is named after him.The Jack Kilby Computer Centre at the Merchiston Campus of Napier University in Edinburgh is named in his honor. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) awarded Kilby with an honorary degree of Doctor of Science on October 14, 1986. A copy of this degree can be viewed in the Archives of the Wallace Library on RIT campus.

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