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September 12, 2023
2 Min Read
Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments. PAUL BUCK / Stringer/AFP/Via Getty Images
While many people with a passing knowledge of technology remember that the first transistor emerged in 1947, probably fewer people realize the integrated circuit−next to the transistor arguably the most significant invention in the history of electronics─made its debut 65 years ago, on September 12, 1958. The person responsible for inventing the integrated circuit was Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments. September 12 is known as Jack Kilby Day.
The original IC was the size of a nickel, but advancements in processing and technology have shrunken the transistor to the size of a spice flake. ICs have become a crucial element in many of the electronics inventions over the years, and they will continue to be an important part of vehicles, servers, high-speed computing systems, portable electronics, mobile phones, and many more products and systems.
Kilby’s pioneering role in electronics went beyond the IC. He held more than 60 patents, including one for the portable electronic calculator, a staple for many students, which TI invented in 1967.
For his lifetime of achievements, Kilby won the Nobel Prize in 2000 for inventing the IC. This video shows Kilby’s Nobel Prize lecture:
Kilby passed away in June 2005. To honor his legacy, TI previously commemorated the 50th anniversary of the IC’s invention in 2008 by opening Kilby Labs at TI’s Dallas campus, where Kilby designed the chip. This research and development facility aims to create new ways to use the chip.
Design News would like to thank Fern Yoon, automotive system engineer and marketing director at Texas Instruments, for supplying the background information for this story.
Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News covering the electronics beat. He has many years of experience covering developments in components, semiconductors, subsystems, power, and other facets of electronics from both a business/supply-chain and technology perspective. He can be reached at [email protected].
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