Jack Kilby

Jack St. Clair Kilby ( born November 8, 1923 in Jefferson City, Missouri, † 20 June 2005 in Dallas, Texas ) was an American engineer. He is considered, along with Robert Noyce as the inventor of the integrated circuit - for which he received the Nobel Prize for physics - and is referred to as the "father of the microchip ."


Kilby was born in Missouri in Jefferson City. Most of his early years he spent in Great Bend, Kansas where she completed the high school.

He received his Bachelor of Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana -Champaign in 1947 in electrical engineering. His master, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1950, while he worked in Milwaukee for Centralab, part of Globe Union Inc..

In 1958 he began working at Texas Instruments, where he had a newcomer no summer vacation. He had the lab itself and its considerations. This gave him time to deal with the Tyranny of numbers, by which is then in the computer design understood the problem that new designs becoming ever more components that could be wired increasingly difficult. He came to the conclusion that a solution through the use of semiconductors is possible. On July 24, 1958, he described in his lab diary for the first time his idea, transistors, resistors and capacitors to form a component merge.

On September 12, 1958, he presented a first copy of a working circuit on a semiconductor. Not much more than a piece of germanium with some cables on a piece of glass about the size of a paper clip, was all that could be seen first. As Kilby pressed a switch, appeared on the oscilloscope an endless sine curve. This saw the audience, among them the head of Texas Instruments, Mark Shepherd, that the problem was solved. On February 6, 1959, the U.S. patent 3,138,743 was filed for the first integrated circuit.

First was the integrated circuits not a commercial success, but in 1966 it was first put Kilby in the construction of a pocket calculators. The thenceforth held technical development towards ever smaller and more powerful "chips" astonished and delighted themselves Kilby.

From 1958 to 1970 he worked for Texas Instruments and was then given leave to continue working as an independent inventor can. From 1978 to 1984 he was professor of electrical engineering at Texas A & M University.

In 2000 he was awarded with the German - American Herbert Kroemer and the Russian Zhores I. Alferov the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to the development of the integrated circuit (IC). During his life he made 60 of his inventions patented and is considered the inventor of the pocket calculator and the thermal printer. In his last years he worked on solar energy technology.

The laboratory where Kilby 1958 worked in Texas is considered historical memorial. His invention of the integrated circuit is the basis of today's electronics. In 2004 ICs sold in the value of 179 billion dollars. They were incorporated into appliances, which together represent a value of 1.186 trillion U.S. dollars.

Kilby died on 20 June 2005 from cancer.

The IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal is named after him.



  • Jack S. Kilby: Invention of the integrated circuit. In: IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices. 23, No. 7, 1976, p 648-654.