Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

June 22, 2005

Inventor of Modern Life Dies

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:00 pm

OK, so that might be a slight exaggeration. But not much. Electronic News reports:

Inventor of IC Kilby Dies

By Ed Sperling — Electronic News, 6/21/2005

Jack St. Clair Kilby, a retired engineer with Texas Instruments who invented the integrated circuit (IC) passed away Monday in Dallas following a brief battle with cancer. He was 81.

Kilby invented the first monolithic IC, which served as the foundation for modern microelectronics and drove the industry into a world of miniaturization and integration that continues today. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 for his role in the invention of the IC.

“In my opinion, there are only a handful of people whose works have truly transformed the world and the way we live in it — Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers and Jack Kilby,” said TI chairman Tom Engibous in a statement. “If there was ever a seminal invention that transformed not only our industry but our world, it was Jack’s invention of the first integrated circuit.”

But it was the man behind the invention that never ceased to amaze those who knew him.
“Ever practical and low-key, with good humor and quiet grace, Jack was a man with every right to be boastful, yet never was,” Engibous noted.

Kilby was always quick to credit the thousands of engineers who followed him for their impact on growing the industry and changing the world. But for all the changes that the IC wrought — everything from cell phones to computers to PDAs — Kilby was more of a creator of the devices than a user.

“For a guy who started it all, he certainly wasn’t a fanatic about using it,” said McGarity. “He had no cell phone, no PDA, and while he did use a computer he was better at describing what went on inside it than using it.”

Kilby held more than 60 patents for a variety of electronics inventions – among these were the handheld electronic calculator and the thermal printer, both of which he co- invented.

Read the rest.

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