There are few living men whose insights and professional accomplishments have
changed the world. Jack Kilby is one of these men. His invention of the monolithic
integrated circuit - the microchip - some 30 years ago at Texas Instruments (TI) laid the
conceptual and technical foundation for the entire field of modern microelectronics. It
was this breakthrough that made possible the sophisticated high-speed computers and
large-capacity semiconductor memories of today's information age.
Mr. Kilby grew up in
Great Bend, Kansas. With B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from the
Universities of Illinois and Wisconsin respectively, he began his career in 1947 with the
Centralab Division of Globe Union Inc. in Milwaukee, developing ceramic-base, silk-screen
circuits for consumer electronic products.
In 1958, he joined TI in Dallas. During the summer of that year working with borrowed
and improvised equipment, he conceived and built the first electronic circuit in which all
of the components, both active and passive, were fabricated in a single piece of
semiconductor material half the size of a paper clip. The successful laboratory
demonstration of that first simple microchip on September 12, 1958, made history.
Jack Kilby went on to pioneer military, industrial, and commercial applications of
microchip technology. He headed teams that built both the first military system and the
first computer incorporating integrated circuits. He later co-invented both the hand-held
calculator and the thermal printer that was used in portable data terminals.
In 1970, he took a leave of absence from TI to work as an independent inventor
exploring, 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. At present, he maintains a schedule of
work and travel on industry and government consulting assignments throughout the world. He
also serves as director of several corporations.
Jack Kilby is the recipient of two of the nation's most prestigious honors in science
and engineering. In 1970, in a White House ceremony, he received the National Medal of
Science. In 1982, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, taking his
place alongside Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and the Wright Brothers in the annals of