Monday, June 20, 2005

Jack Kilby, Inventor of the Integrated Circuit, Dies at 81

Jack St. Clair Kilby, who invented the first monolithic integrated circuit in 1958 and laid the foundation for the field of modern microelectronics, has died at the age of 81.

Following military service in WWII, Kilby completed a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois in 1947. Upon graduation, he took a position with Centralab in Milwaukee, where he first worked with transistors, the building blocks for integrated circuits. While at Centralab, he pursued graduate studies in electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin and received a master's degree in 1950. He joined Texas Instruments in 1958. His first design for an integrated circuit was successfully tested on September 12, 1958. In 1960, Texas Instruments announced the first chips for customer evaluation. Two years later, TI won its first major integrated circuit contract to design and build a family of 22 special circuits for the Minuteman missile.

Kilby officially retired from TI in 1983, but he continued to do consulting work with the company. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000. In addition to his TI career, Mr. Kilby held the rank of Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University from 1978 to 1984.

"In my opinion, there are only a handful of people whose works have truly transformed the world and the way we live in it -- Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers and Jack Kilby," said TI Chairman Tom Engibous. "If there was ever a seminal invention that transformed not only our industry but our world, it was Jack's invention of the first integrated circuit."

Highlights of his life and work are posted on the TI website.

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