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Technology

Integrated Circuit Inventor Jack Kilby Dead at 81 197

geekotourist writes " Jack Kilby , inventor of the integrated circuit, one winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics (Robert Noyce died in 1990), died June 20th after a brief battle with cancer. In 1958 he invented the foundation for a trillion dollar industry as a substitute for going on vacation." Update: 06/22 02:03 GMT by T : Kilby was 81, not 91 as the headline originally indicated.
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Integrated Circuit Inventor Jack Kilby Dead at 81

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  • God rest his soul, for without him, Slashdot would not be!
    • ... they could have at least published the notice in true slashdot form (you know, cut-n-paste the "Stephen King found dead" troll)

      I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Integrated Circuit Inventor Jack Kilby was found dead at 91 in his Maine home this morning. There wasn't any more details, but athorities think he was hacked to death with a blunt spoon by author Stephen King. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will be willing to provide an alibi for Stephen - even if you didn't enjoy his w

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Jack Kilby is an American giant without the educational pedigree: i.e., a degree from MIT, Harvard, Princeton, etc. He attended a public institution and studied a subject, engineering, that is supposed to match the dull IQ of plain folks.

      The truth of the matter is that education is only one of many prerequisites for earth-shattering technical success. The other components are an environment that encourages free thinking without the shackles of tradition (e.g. ancestor worship in China and the caste sys

      • by InfiniteWisdom ( 530090 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:58PM (#12877886) Homepage
        He attended a public institution and studied a subject, engineering

        He attended University of Illinois at Urbabna Champaign... I don't know about 1947, but today, UIUC is a top engineering school. #4 according to the 2006 USNews ranking. Nobody in their right mind would suggest that you *can't* be successful without a good education, but an overwhelming majority of people who have made groundbreaking discoveries have.

        free thinking without the shackles of tradition... living environment which is comfortable (i.e. where people do not lie, cheat, and steal)

        *Sob* I never reaized I was living in this paradise filled with saints. But you're right... I just looked out of the window and noticed the faint halos around all my fellow american's heads. Dear George W. Bush. Thank you for your unrelenting honesty, for not shovelling taxpayer's money into the pockets of a few cronies, and for eschewing religous and traditional shackles and allowing science to grow unfettered.

        Dude seriously though. Open your eyes a little. The US is being left behind in more fields than I can count. While we debate whether to teach Creationism in schools instead of evolution, an increasing fraction of significant breakthroughs these days are coming from Japan, South Korea and China. Funding agencies like NSF have had their budgets slashed to the point where researchers who's have several grants funded a year have been unable to get a single grant in the past several years. DARPA has decided to stop funding research that doesn't produce and "immediate military benefit". NASA is being forced to work on ambitious projects without being given adequate funds to pursue those without cancelling their science projects.

        This administration is pursuing a dangerously short-sighted policy, and while people like you are waving flags and sticking bumper stickers on your SUVs proclaiming how great America is, the rest of the world is rapidly catching up. Once existing grants run out (and we're at the point where that's starting to happen), graduate school enrollments will plummet and the wonderful research instututes that have kept America on top all this time will effectively have their throats cut.

        Blind patriotism like yours is counterproductive and dangerous.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Most people I know have never heard of UIUC. I think you're overstating its precieved prestige. When my parents were discussing universities with me, they heard of Harvard and Yale but do you think they know of Texas, Berkely, or UIUC? Most "common" people really haven't heard of these obviously serious and credible schools but popular media and culture teaches people only to blindly revere the schools of the elite rich.

          The fact that Jack Kilby went to measly state schools and, armed with his education and
          • Most people I know have never heard of UIUC. I think you're overstating its precieved prestige. When my parents were discussing universities with me, they heard of Harvard and Yale but do you think they know of Texas, Berkely, or UIUC? Most "common" people really haven't heard of these obviously serious and credible schools but popular media and culture teaches people only to blindly revere the schools of the elite rich.

            Who cares if you're parents or most of the people you know are uniformed about which s
        • It had a high reputation in the 1960s that Arthur C. Clarke sited HAL's invention there.
    • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:00PM (#12877890)
      God rest his soul, for without him, Slashdot would not be!

      First, I mean no disrespect to Kilby -- he clearly was an innovator of the first order and an accomplished inventor. But to say that without him, slashdot would not have happened is to misread the broad sweep of history in general and the history of chips in particular. So many great ideas bubble out of the context of the time, not the minds of some unique person. Eras are primed for particular inventions. Even the IC was essentially invented by two independent inventors [xnumber.com]-- don't forget Robert Noyce who also "invented" the chip. Kilby's chip may have come a few months earlier, but Noyce's chip was on silicon.

      At worst, without Kilby, the IC would have been delayed half a year and all of us with have slightly lower post-counts.
      • Kilby would never have made those claims for himself. From the Washington Posts's obit [washingtonpost.com] :

        "It's astonishing what human ingenuity and creativity can do," he said. "My part was pretty small, actually." Whenever people would mention that Kilby was responsible for the entire modern digital world, he liked to tell the story of the beaver and the rabbit sitting in the woods near Hoover Dam. "Did you build that one?" the rabbit asked. "No, but it was based on an idea of mine," the beaver replied.

  • by KennyP ( 724304 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:13PM (#12877674)
    I now know who to blame my "misspent youth" on for living in the basement in the late '70's with my OSI C1P computer.

    Thanks for everything!!!

    Visualize Whirled P.'s

    • Graduate of Great Bend High School [jackkilby.com], Great Bend, Kansas [wikipedia.org] (population 20,000), which is the county seat of Barton County, Kansas, which is named for Clara Barton. Great Bend is named thusly due to its location near a large bend in the Arkansas river (pronounced there as "Ahhr-Kansas").

      There are road signs visible to all people driving into Great Bend on the state highways that enter town, saying something to the effect of, "Great Bend, Birthplace of Nobel Prize Winner Jack Kilby".

      Great Bend's Paper, the Gre [gbtribune.com]
  • To see a man of his importance go but least his influence is seen everywhere. I don't think anyone can claim that they are not affected by his invention. Intergrated circuits chips can be found everywhere.
  • While it's sad to see him go, I have to wonder if his legacy isn't the easing of mankind's stress levels but accelerating it to the stratosphere. Computers have done wonders in improving our productivity, but at the cost of making humans part of the machine. We live according to the schedule of the computer rather than the other way around.

    Many nights I've sat here staring at this computer trying to think of a way to make my job easier. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is to toss the entire system
    • I'm a little confused.

      How have computers required us to live by their schedules? I have yet to use a computer which demands its users to accord to a strict schedule. If you are talking about IT, it's the same with any industry which requires maintenance; machines break at unfortunate times.

      I think it's pretty presumptuous to assume what a scientist wants or doesn't want. The asocialism that you describe is hardly something inherent to computers, but rather around the culture of the modern business world.
      • Slaves to humanity (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DigiShaman ( 671371 )
        Well that's just it. Computers allow for more work to be done in the same amount of given time. As such, if you wish to remain competitive in the work force so to stay employeed, we must use these tools to maintain an advantage.

        Basically, we are slaves to ourselves. We always have been, only we have become more efficient at it.
        • by benw1979 ( 779210 )
          Computers allow for more work to be done in the same amount of given time.

          Then shouldn't we be going home earlier?

          • You would think. But what happens when everyone but you has this technology? It's obvious. They will use this free time for more productivity in order to be on top of the competition. As such, we all most compete as well or be left bankrupt and without a job while everyone else is following suite.

            This is what I've been trying to convey in my original post.
    • Many nights I've sat here staring at this computer trying to think of a way to make my job easier. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is to toss the entire system out wholesale

      Amen to that, Brother. I'm working on it and will post my design for a disintegrated chip very soon now.

    • yes but you're confusing ICs and computers. ICs are also used in pocket calculators, videos, alarm clocks etc, those devices do not lead to the problems you mentioned.
      • Even another step past that, he's confusing a 'personal computer' with computers in general. I'm a research in semiconductor devices but I rarely 'use' the computer in my office. It's only function is to write papers, check email, and surf the internet. However computers run all the equipment in the lab, and run all the simulations for the theoretical people. I think the grandparent is using a computer for the wrong things or using it in the wrong way. Stop playing so much solitaire, and stop emailing so m
        • "I rarely 'use' the computer in my office. It's only function is to write papers, check email, and surf the internet. "

          Okay, I'm confused. Because the computer isn't doing scientific calculations, you're not actually using it?

          Not sure how you can avoid using the computer yet still .. err.. 'use' it to check e-mail and browse the internet.
      • IC's made computers possible. They led to further development into full processing units.

        While I'm sure the IC would have been developed without this man eventually, it could have taken a lot longer and this mans initiative prevented the delay.
    • by ldspartan ( 14035 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:27PM (#12877748) Homepage
      He probably thought of it as a way to increase efficiency and ultimately reduce our workload.

      More realistically, he was a smart person, and realized that humans like and need to work. Or should we all model ourselves after Paris Hilton?

      Increased workload? Less human contact? Bullshit. The microchip brought us manufacturing automation and advanced communications, amongst many other things. Faster and more transparent communication has brought us more individual involvement in world events.

      The problem is not in the computer, it is in your mind.
      • Hell yeah we should model ourselves after her! Don't forget girls, party all the time and always be super lame to everyone! :) ...stupid spoiled whore video playset comes with loseable cell phone, camcorder with night vision lens, fourteen hits of ecstacy.....
    • I don't imagine that Kilby thought it would lead to less human contact, less face to face time, and less free time for everyone. He probably thought of it as a way to increase efficiency and ultimately reduce our workload.

      1) Less human contact? What about cell phones and the Internet? IM and email? Satellites communications? The abilility for at a very low cost to communicate with anyone in the world over the Internet? Human beings are far more connected now then they were.

      2) Less face to face t

    • While it's sad to see him go, I have to wonder if his legacy isn't the easing of mankind's stress levels but accelerating it to the stratosphere. Computers have done wonders in improving our productivity, but at the cost of making humans part of the machine. We live according to the schedule of the computer rather than the other way around...How incredibly wrong he was.

      LOL buddy, brush those tears from your eyes, he didn't invent your nemesis (the computer), just the integrated circuit [wikipedia.org].
    • He probably thought of it as a way to increase efficiency and ultimately reduce our workload. I suspect he had no such grandiose visions. A man who is skilled in and passionate about his work will change his world without meaning to, though rarely will the ripples be so large. Probably he was seriously geeking out over the coolness of it, wondering how to sell it to his new pointy-haired boss and avoid getting assigned to a crap job, yet mindful that this STILL wouldn't impress any chicks...
    • I think you (and many other Slashdotters) have forgotten how new and immature these devices are. Perhaps part of the accelerating stress is the accelerating change; most people just cannot deal with it, and even those who can still have trouble with it.

      Our circuits and algorithms have made some things infinitely easier, while their current forms have made others incredibly hard. That is no reason to just shut it down and go home. It's going to require out-of-the-box thinking, and that usually comes from fr
    • He probably thought of it as a way to increase efficiency and ultimately reduce our workload.
      How incredibly wrong he was.


      Is it just me or did you attribute a thought to someone else and then claim that they were wrong?

      Wow. Were you simply not thinking, or do you do this all the time? I'm quite surprised. Perhaps you can demonstrate your technique by telling me what I'm thinking and how I'm so wrong about it.

      -Adam
    • It did decrease our workoad, the only thing we didnt forsee was that it would inevitably mean we could do more things in less amount of time, which was our choice, not the computers. If you look at the world fact book cia edition, it states that the technological revolution of the late 20th century has caused less and less people to be involved in the production of our food. As for the question if we are happy or not, i once posed this to my great grandparents and grandparent before they died, both stat
    • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @11:29PM (#12878345) Journal
      While it's sad to see him go, I have to wonder if his legacy isn't the easing of mankind's stress levels but accelerating it to the stratosphere. Computers have done wonders in improving our productivity, but at the cost of making humans part of the machine.

      We spend a smaller portion of our monthly budget on food than ever before, even as our average caloric intake has climbed nicely. While the proportion of money spent by the average household has not changed much, the square footage of the average house has shot through the roof.

      The actual amount of time spent at work, on average, has been fairly steady, to perhaps dropping some. What we can buy, and what we can do with our income is generally more and better than ever.

      Sorry. Go back to 1950. Houses are small, often unheated, or heated only with fireplaces. Air conditioning was still reserved for the "upper classes". TVs, if they existed, were black and white. Telephone coverage was spotty. Racism is/was alive and well. Food was expensive, unless you happened to be a farmer, and then, only certain types of food (what you grew) was cheap.

      I wouldn't want to go back, and neither would you. Go back to your relaxed, comfortable computer desk, and enjoy the comforts that they only dreamed of in 1958, and shut up.

      Computers have done wonders in improving our productivity, but at the cost of making humans part of the machine. We live according to the schedule of the computer rather than the other way around.

      Oh, man. This is just so much ball cheese. Take a look at manufacturing jobs in the 1950s. (You know, manufacturing, that's now highly automated, often done by robots controlled by microprocessors?) An assembly line is essentially a giant machine, often blocks long, comprised of mechanical, electrical, and human parts. Can you imagine seeing this massive bohemoth of a machine, surrounding you, towering above you, two or three stories high? Who's "part of the machine"? Who's lifestyle is more regimented - yours, or theirs?

      I write software that manages independent study programs for schools. The software I write enables teachers to teach, in the field, in homestudy programs by automating the generation of legally required progress reports and compliance paperwork. Rather than reducing flexibility, my software empowers teachers with more flexibility and power, saving as much as 10-20 hours per month per teacher doing administrative paperwork, so that they can... teach!

      Additionally, I usually work at home, on the couch, with my kids - it's a majority of my worktime. I get a successful career, I get to fly around to visit with clients with whom I have a good, close, friendly relationship, and I do it armed with my laptop and my (digital) cell phone.

      The effect isn't one of making either myself or the teachers live to the schedule of the computer, it's freeing us all from any set schedule whatsoever!

      I don't imagine that Kilby thought it would lead to less human contact, less face to face time, and less free time for everyone.

      Tell this to the ex-manufacturer bloke who now sells insurance, or runs a small business. Small businesses represent more of the US GNP than ever before. Small businesses are, by definition, close to their customers, and thus have more intimate relationships between the staff and the customers.

      Next time, have at least some information to comment on before you do so, eh? For a good, economic and environmental "State of the World", I highly recommend "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by Bjorn Lomborg.
      • Small businesses represent more of the US GNP than ever before.

        This is an interesting statement. I never heard anyone make it before.

        Do you mean it in the trivial sense of more $$$ than ever before?

        Or do you mean it in the more meaningful sense of larger % of GDP?

        I assume the latter. The front page of a Google search on "small business GDP" yielded one piece of real research [sba.gov]. Chart 1 (p. 7) of that report tells a different story. Small business' share GDP (relative to large business') drops steadily f
        • It was meant as a percentage of GNP. This is a case of differing definitions: what is a "Small Business"? My statistics (no, I don't have an online resource) are for "SMB" or "Small-Midsize Business" in comparison to the GNP, which is near 80%.

          Your statistics compare SMALL businesses against LARGE, apparently ignoring the "mid" tier altogether. (Havent' read the report in detail, but that's what my first skim seems to indicate)

          (sigh)

          Perhaps the old adage is correct; There are three kinds of lies: Lies, d
          • It was meant as a percentage of GNP.

            Good.

            This is a case of differing definitions: what is a "Small Business"? [...] Your statistics compare SMALL businesses against LARGE, apparently ignoring the "mid" tier altogether.

            Ahh, makes sense.

            (sigh)

            Perhaps the old adage is correct; There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies, and statistics.


            No need to *sigh*. I learned something. Going forward, I'll know that this distinction exists, and therefore be a better consumer of other people's numbers.
      • Racism is/was alive and well.

        How does technology solve racism?

        Additionally, I usually work at home, on the couch, with my kids - it's a majority of my worktime. I get a successful career, I get to fly around to visit with clients with whom I have a good, close, friendly relationship, and I do it armed with my laptop and my (digital) cell phone.

        So you give one example of a person who is able to use technology to get more quality time with his family and friends and that's supposed to apply to everyb

    • I'll just ignore the odd comments about living by the schedule of the machine thing, and comment on the less human contact thing.

      It's not true!

      While it may be true that *some* people have less face-to-face contact, I dare say it's not significantly less then anytime in the past.

      I'd say we have a lot more communication then ever before.

      Every day I communicate with people all across the globe; via Slashdot and other forums. I have conversations with people I would have never been able to meet, ever, even
    • I have to wonder if his legacy isn't the easing of mankind's stress levels but accelerating it to the stratosphere. Computers have done wonders in improving our productivity, but at the cost of making humans part of the machine.

      And Oppenheimer is a mass murder...

      All uses of all tools should not be automatically blamed on their inventor. That's not to say I think you're right about it anyhow.
    • Actually, he probably was a researcher with an idea that he pursued to its realization.

      He probably thought "hmm, I could do this," with little thought regarding its impact.

      I'm not sure how much research is done with some specific goal other than learning a bit more. I'm not sure that physicists find subatomic particles thinking "the top quark will change the world!"
    • You can't blame any technology on for how it's put to use. It's always humans that use any way and means they have to exploit everything more efficiently.

      Like they say...guns don't kill people, people kill people. And while controlling guns makes killing other people harder for most people, and thus will reduce the death toll, it certainly won't chnage anything about humans being what they are.

      The only way to make thiw world a better place is to get rid of mankind. And the only thing you have to do to ach

  • Condolences to his family. I didn't know him but I know people who did and they all said he was a kind and decent gentleman in addition to his technical brilliance.
  • by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:15PM (#12877691) Journal
    Workers don't need vacation! Now get back to work, you lazy oafs. I expect to see some more ground breaking inventions before I get back from the 19th hole.

    Sincerely,
    Your friendly neighborhood PHB
  • He was 81, not 91.
  • One of the very few men, in all of mankind's history who's influence is everywhere. Without him, our world would have been a lot different. God rest his soul. And lest I offend the athiests ;), may his recycled remains find use in some noble purpose. It is amazing how such a small invention has given rise to what we see today.
    • He was a pioneer, but without him the world would have been hardly different. Noyce independently invented the IC too. If it hadn't been Noyce, someone else would have done it. There were probably dozens of people who would have developed the IC within 5 years - it's just he was first.
  • Rest in peace Jack, and thanks.
  • by __aaptsy9143 ( 848834 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:19PM (#12877710)
    His name will forever be engraved in the J-K flip-flop. (That's right, J-K did not stand for John Kerry)
  • Many thanks, none of us would be here without your work. You certainly made a difference.
  • by Kaisum ( 850834 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:20PM (#12877713)
    So long and thanks for all the chips.
  • Hard to believe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by billdar ( 595311 ) * <yap> on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:24PM (#12877736) Homepage
    "one of the few people who can look around the globe and say to himself 'I changed how the world functions.'"

    That would be surreal. It makes me wonder if he was satified in the path his technology has taken... or just pissed about royalties.

  • 81, not 91. (Score:5, Informative)

    by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:26PM (#12877744) Homepage Journal
    From http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=528&e=1& u=/ap/20050622/ap_on_hi_te/obit_kilby [yahoo.com]

    "Jack St. Clair Kilby was born in 1923 in Great Bend, Kan. His father was the owner of a small electric company, and Kilby became interested in radio tubes while listening to big band radio in the 1940s."

    May he rest in peace.
  • Would we be where we are in technology today? Would someone else have thought of the concept of integrated circuitry? Maybe... what about a more efficient (or less efficient) one? Thank you, Jack.
  • He will be missed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ichbinderharlekin ( 892053 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:30PM (#12877769)
    Jack Kilby was a humble man. As the guest of honor at a co-op luncheon at TI he simply thanked everyone for honoring him with a hearty round of applause and sat down.

    Just to point out an interesting tidbit about his invention of the IC, he was a new employee at TI in 1958. While everyone else was on vacation he had to find something to work on, as he had no vacation time saved up yet. (In those days TI would normally shut down most operations for maintenance and most employees would take their vacation) As much as those around him told him that his idea would never work, he used his time to prove them all wrong.

    (history is just about the only thing you actually learn in those training days when you first start a job at a company like Texas Instruments)

    • history is just about the only thing you actually learn in those training days when you first start a job at a company like Texas Instruments

      I don't know firsthand, but I've heard that at the Arthur Andersen training days they teach you how to hold your liquor.
  • I saw the blatant typo on his age, but I'm glad some of you already corrected it. If only we all will have a long-lasting effect such as his after we perish. Let's look toward the future while celebrating the accomplishments of the people of the past.
  • by jpmkm ( 160526 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:35PM (#12877794) Homepage
    Half the comments so far are saying something to the effect of the world would be a completely different place if Kilby didn't invent the integrated circuit. Slashdot wouldn't exist, we wouldn't have personal computers, etc. Do you people honestly think that Jack Kilby was the ONLY person who could have possibly envisioned integrated circuits? Do you people honestly think that we would still be building computers with discrete components if it wasn't for Kilby? I'm not saying that what he did wasn't a major accomplishment and the integrated ciruit did indeed change the world. However, it is quite foolish to think that we would not have integrated circuits today if Jack Kilby hadn't invented them.
    • by putko ( 753330 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:39PM (#12877812) Homepage Journal
      Just look at Noyce, who had the same idea at the same time. It seems clear the time was ripe for the idea.

      This is so often the case. The entire human race wasn't sitting still, waiting for the guy to make the transistor -- just 99.999999% of us.
    • But still, he did it, and he did it before everyone else. So, he gets the honour and the accolades for it.

    • Your're right (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I remember early articles about the integrated circuit. It really was an evolutionary development; sort of what we would now call a hybrid IC. For sure, somebody would have come up with it within a few years. What I think was critical for the IC was a market. That market was provided by NASA. I think that, without NASA's technological drive, the IC would have taken quite a few more years to become common. What the IC provided was something that was rugged enough to withstand launch forces and was ligh
      • The USAF also needed ICs for Minuteman guidance systems. Intelligent missile guidance systems had already been designed years before. It took integrated circuit technology to make them small enough for practical use.
    • You know what they say -- if it wasn't for Edison, we'd all be surfing the web by candlelight.
  • Thank you
  • The materialistic things that i most enjoy in my life are a product of your invention. Man kind would not be where it is without you. Thank You and rest in peace.
  • A true hacker (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 5plicer ( 886415 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:44PM (#12877833)

    From the substitute for going on vacation [ti.com] article:

    "I ... built up a circuit using discrete silicon elements. Packaged grown-junction transistors were used. Resistors were formed by cutting small bars of silicon and etching to value. Capacitors were cut from diffused silicon power transistor wafers, metallized on both sides. This unit was assembled and demonstrated to Adcock on August 28, 1958."

    This guy was a true hacker! I wish I had the opportunity to meet him. Rest in peace Jack Kilby.

  • by jacquesm ( 154384 ) <j AT ww DOT com> on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:44PM (#12877835) Homepage
    and patents were 'for real'. People like this is what the patent system was made for, not the bunch of subverters that are out there right now switching fields and patenting the obvious, including mathematical formula and strings of bits.

    thank you mr. Kilby, for a career and a future.
  • Other news sources are reporting he was 81, not 91 as the heading states.
  • Everyone knows that aliens invented the IC.
  • by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:31PM (#12878087)
    JK's invention was more like what's known as a "hybrid" Ic, with little parts hooked together with very fine wires. It was Noyce at Fairchild that invented what is the "IC"-- a planar silicon device, with the components etched and diffused onto the surface. No discrete wires, no discrete components. See JK's patent 3,138,743 for details.
    • by jacquesm ( 154384 ) <j AT ww DOT com> on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:41PM (#12878130) Homepage
      hey there from another ancient hacker!

      I believe it was called a thin-film integrated circuit, and it definitely qualifies as the first step in integration, it just did not push it all the way through, to put multiple components on a single die. There had been some thermally coupled transistors on a single die before that time but there were no interconnects between them, so they did not qualify as a circuit.

      Intergrated Circuits have many components in a single carrier and as such Kilby's work definitely qualifies.

      You're absolutely right though in that Noyce's device was much closer to what we consider to be a 'chip' nowadays, especially since he used silicon, instead of noisy Germanium.

      Probably our current crop of smd's would look remarkably familiar along side one of those old thin film circuits.

      It's splitting hairs though :) But then again what else do ancient hackers do but code and split hairs on slash.

  • by rotenberry ( 3487 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:54PM (#12878193)
    I heard Jack Kilby speak at an MAA meeting a couple of years ago, and I was astonished to learn that all his IC patents (and, consequently, his Nobel Prize) were based on his notarized notebook entries and not on publications (those came later).

    In the last ten years as a software developer I have had only one employer require me to keep a bound notebook of my work, while the others did not. I kept a notebook anyway, but I had to pay for it myself.
    • I was astonished to learn that all his IC patents (and, consequently, his Nobel Prize) were based on his notarized notebook entries and not on publications (those came later).

      You shouldn't be astonished. This is the way it is done. If it is published, it's in the public domain and cannot be patented. Notebooks (paper and pen/pencil) is the way ideas have always been recorded for IP documentation (at least for the "hardware" innovation that I'm familiar with, like nanotech) and will probably continue

  • thank you (Score:2, Insightful)

    by earlums25 ( 554918 )
    i've read a couple of posts saying if kilby didn't invent the IC then someone else would have. maybe, however, he gets the credit (like newton and calculus without a formal proof). thank you jack kilby and i hope his family is doing well. you gave us a new way to view the world and if history is fair, you will be part of the academic and historical legacy for many, probally hundreds of years to come
  • by Laaserboy ( 823319 ) on Wednesday June 22, 2005 @12:13AM (#12878543)
    Jack Kilby is said to have invented the integrated circuit. This is not entirely correct for three reasons.

    1) Jack Kilby simply jumpered wires around a semiconductor. At the same time and before at Fairchild, Bob Noyce produced a planar process that we use today. Subsequently, TI used Noyce's process, not Kilby's.

    2) A lawyer at TI argued for years that Jack Kilby invented the IC. Fairchild was awarded the first patent for the IC, but eventually gave up [pbs.org]. Since the lawyer won the case despite all of the evidence against Kilby, the Nobel committee should have included the lawyer in the Nobel prize. He is partly responsible for it.

    3) If Intel (the eventual home of Noyce) were to claim that Noyce invented the IC, it would have given an expensive gift to Fairchild. Fairchild at one point could have sued Intel for all Noyce walked out with. It would create a mess. TI claimed all along that Kilby invented the IC. Corporate publicity won the day.
  • I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to meet him back in the early 70's through my girlfriends father who worked with him at TI. Even sadder though it how TI laid them both off as they approached retirement. Not sure how Mr Kirby handled it, but it devestated my gf's father. He never recovered from giving most of his professional carreer to TI and getting laid off.
    • I think Jack Kirby's main discontent lay having designed so many of Marvel's most popular characters and then not getting to see any of the money they went on to generate. Technically it may have been work-for-hire, I'm not familiar with the details of the case, but a lot of people thought Jolly Jack got a raw deal there.

      So far as I know, his experience of designing intergrated circuits was limited to those cool looking patterns that decorated most of the stuff in Reed Richards' lab. I mean they were rea

    • "...laid them both off as they approached retirement"

      This is _so_ not true. Jack had an office in the _KILBY BUILDING_ on TI's North Campus in Dallas. I have it on good authority that on the days when Jack was in the office young engineers were encouraged to just walk on in.

      Sorry about your FIL, but Jack was coming into TI on a regular basis until fairly recently.
  • While this guy did remarkable things, I was always puzzled why he (and his co-awardees) got the prize for physics. I just don't see where they advanced our understanding of physics. I've heard this prize compared to Bardeen et al, but those guys made some fundamental advances in condensed matter physics on their way to the transistor. Never could see anything like that in this case. Maybe the Nobel committee felt a need to recognize this achievement, and the physics prize seemed more appropriate than th
  • ... He put thousands of tube technicians out of work. Clearly he was terrorizing the American Economy.

    - Guy Grumpy.
    Former CEO, TubeMakers inc.

    Seriously, this man changed the world. We should have a statue of him built.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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