Jack Kilby

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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 the handheld calculator and thermal printer.



Kilby's life began in Great Bend, Kansas where he grew up and attended school. He graduated from 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.

Kilby received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he is an honorary member of Acacia Fraternity. In 1947, he received 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 mid-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, which included Mark Shepherd, 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. U.S. Patent 3,138,743 for "Miniaturized Electronic Circuits", the first integrated circuit, was filed on February 6, 1959. 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.

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