Jack Kilby inventor of Integrated Circuits is no more

Nobel Laureate Jack Kilby invented the Integrated Circuits, working for Texas Instruments way back in 1958; it is another story that he got his Nobel Prize only in 2000!

Integrated Circuits (IC) form the basis of the huge global electronics industry worth more than trillion dollars. IC’s are used in a whole range of industries – cutting across computing, communications, entertainment, control and an array of equipment – ranging from office equipment to factory automation to healthcare. The present day software industry would be unthinkable without the IC’s that form the bedrock of modern day memory, microprocessors and DSP (that in turn constitute much of today’s PC’s and Mobile phones).

It is interesting to note that Jack, a mid-westerner from Kansas, could not get admission to MIT; he finally managed to get a Masters’ Degree from Wisconsin. It was another Silicon Valley pioneer Robert Noyce who is also credited to have invented IC’s independently, who got much of the limelight in the high-profile IT industry. Robert Noyce got his PhD from MIT, joined Shockley, the inventor of Transistors, and later started Intel along with Gordon Moore. In yet another twist of court trials between Kilby and Noyce, it took nearly forty years for the courts (something that sounds very familiar to many of us in India) to get Jack Kilby the credit for his invention. Jack was a Distinguished Professor at Texas A & M University after his retirement from Texas Instruments, when he finally got his Novel Prize in the year 2000!

Jack Kilby had spent time in Eastern India repairing military radios when Japanese were bombing the Allied; he did go back to School later and finished his Masters’ Degree before joining Texas Instruments at Dallas where he spent several decades.

Jack Kilby (81) died on June 20, 2005

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