Jack Kilby, whose 1958 invention led to today's ubiquitous microchip, dies at 81
AP Technology Writer
DALLAS — Nobel laureate Jack Kilby, whose 1958 invention of the integrated circuit ushered in the modern electronics age and made possible the microprocessor, has died after a battle with cancer.
Kilby died Monday at age 81 at his Dallas home, said Texas Instruments Inc., where he worked for many years.
Before the integrated circuit, electronic devices relied on bulky and fragile circuitry, including glass vacuum tubes. Afterward, electronics could become increasingly more complex, reliable and efficient: powering everything from the iPod to the Internet.
During his first year at Texas Instruments, using borrowed equipment, Kilby built the first integrated circuit into a single piece of semiconducting material half the size of a paper clip. Four years later in 1962, Texas Instruments won its first major integrated circuit contract, for the Minuteman missile.
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He earned degrees in electrical engineering from the universities of Illinois and Wisconsin, and began his career in 1947 with the Centralab Division of Globe Union Inc. in Milwaukee, developing ceramic-based, silk-screened circuits for electronic products.