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Jack St. Clair
Jack St. Clair Kilby invented the first integrated circuit 50 years ago.

Jack St.Clair Kilby invented the integrated circuit (IC) in a TI lab 50 years ago, revolutionizing the face of modern technology and laying the groundwork for the digital age. Since 1958, Kilby's Nobel Prize-winning invention continues to impact the world, serving a vital role within the medical, public safety, automotive performance, entertainment, energy-efficiency and space-age technology sectors.

TI will acknowledge Kilby's life and the legacy he left behind, celebrating his unique vision within the world of engineering and photography with a variety of events around the Sept. 12 anniversary date:

Updated TI History of Innovation Web site. The Web site includes information about Kilby, his inventions and their impact, as well as a video about Kilby's life and inventions.

Meadows Museum at SMU. "Jack Kilby: The Eye of Genius – Photographs by the Inventor of the Microchip" will run through Sept. 21. The free exihibit displays several artifacts, including a collection of Kilby's photography, an original notebook, the Nobel Prize, and first microchip and calculator.

The Museum of Nature and Science. A microchip mini-exhibit will run through Oct. 19. The free display features items from the TI archives in contrast to their modern form, along with video footage.

Texas Instruments headquarters. TI will recreate Jack Kilby's original lab on site as it was the day he made this significant discovery. The lab will open on Sept. 12 at the SC Building in Dallas and later at the Kilby East Building, also in Dallas. The public can view the lab with a TI escort.

Great Bend, Kansas TI will make a donation towards Jack Kilby’s memorial statue in his hometown of Great Bend, Kan.

"We are proud to have Jack Kilby's legacy as part of our history at TI," said Rich Templeton, TI chairman, president and CEO. "Jack Kilby's invention paved the way for technology innovation that continues to impact our everyday lives. The IC provided the tool that makes it possible for our visionaries to unlock discoveries that will continue to solve the world's most critical problems."

Creating the first IC
Kilby's device was crude by today’s standards: a sliver of germanium less than an inch long, with protruding wires glued to a glass slide. Still, when Kilby applied electricity to the circuit, an unending sine wave undulated across his oscilloscope screen.

In that instant, Kilby demonstrated that he had solved the fundamental problems associated with miniaturization. He had successfully integrated all of the parts of an electronic circuit onto a single device made from the same semiconductor material. Kilby's invention made mass production possible and put the hand-soldering of thousands of discrete components to bed forever.

Impact of the IC
Today, engineers worldwide are creating innovative applications to help tackle many of the world's most pressing challenges. For example, portable health care equipment, previously unaffordable in many underdeveloped countries, is now available even in remote regions with aging populations. More energy-efficient consumer products with low-power consumption and recycled components are feeding the global "green movement." And vehicles with integrated brake, video and airbag safety systems are becoming safer.

The IC has made possible children's cherished toys, handheld and wireless video games, and educational resources, such as the Internet, portable electronics and graphing calculators.

Honored for his contributions
For his career accomplishments, which included more than 60 patents, Kilby not only received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000; he also won numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science and induction into the Inventors Hall of Fame.

Kilby inspired untold numbers of engineers. While accepting the Nobel Prize, he repeated a quip he attributed to another Nobelist that spoke volumes about his respect for the TI engineers who later refined his invention with groundbreaking applications.

"It reminds me of what the beaver told the rabbit as they stood at the base of Hoover Dam. 'No, I didn't build it myself, but it's based on an idea of mine.'"

With typical Kilby humility, he concluded his remarks by saying, "I am pleased to have had even a small part in helping turn the potential of human creativity into practical reality."


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