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Jack Kilby, 1923-2005
In 1958 electrical engineer Jack Kilby revolutionized modern electronics by inventing “the monolithic integrated circuit,” commonly known as the microchip. Fascinated by electronics from childhood, Kilby had dreamed of studying at MIT. But when his scores on the school’s entrance exam fell short, he joined the army and served during World War II. He later earned degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin, with support from the G.I. Bill. Shortly after joining the staff of Texas Instruments in 1958, Kilby found a way to produce a tiny integrated circuit that eliminated the need for vast quantities of components that had to be joined to form elaborate circuits. When electronics manufacturers proved slow to adopt Kilby’s microchip technology, he demonstrated its commercial value by co-inventing the first handheld electric calculator. Kilby earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000 for his integrated circuit and ultimately held more than sixty patents.
Lewis Benjamin "Squire" Haskins Jr., c 1960
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