Thank You Mr. Chips

Mr. Chips - Jack Kilby

Mr. Chips - Jack Kilby

Yesterday, I was cleaning up the mess of my template, exploring and looking for the best place where I could fix its codes – aiming for a nice look that makes this blog presentable to all my visitors. And it was a success! The side bar format is now clean and looking good.

I am so very grateful to those who made this tool wonderful; like Bill Gates, gifted programmers and of course to Jason Banico who made Funchain easy to explore. But there is one you need to know, a man who shared a significant contribution to the era of information technology. 

Ever heard of Jack Kilby? Clue: His invention changed your/our life. Based on the story written by T.R. Reid (Washington Post). Jack Kilby  is from Kansas U.S.A. who has turned down by MIT because his math scores were too low and who never had much formal physics training yet received the Nobel Prize in Physics. This is slightly anomalous, because Jack St. Clair Kilby is not a physicist.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was willing to overlook that minor detail though, because Kilby did, after all, come up with the most valuable invention: the microchip. Jack Kilby’s idea sparked the information age.

The tiny silicon chip at the heart of all digital devices has arguably become the most important industrial commodity since crude oil. Without it, there could be no personal computer or cell phone, no Internet or PlayStations. The semiconductor integrated circuit has changed the world as fundamentally as did the light bulb, the telephone. But somehow the man who made the microchip has never achieved the recognition that Edison, Bell and Ford enjoyed.

Sitting in the semiconductor lab, Kilby came up with the answer: eliminate the wires. It was such a daring break with the history of electronic circuits that he first thought it couldn’t work. But he realized all the basic elements of a circuit could be made of the same material-silicon. And if all of the elements could be carved into a single slice of that material, then the interconnections could be laid down, or even printed, on a little silicon chip.

No wires, no soldering. And that meant a huge number of components could be compressed  into a tiny space. You could put a whole computer circuit on a chip the size of a baby’s fingernail.

On July 24, 1958, Kilby scrawled this idea in his lab notebook: The following circuit elements could be made on a single slice: resistors, capacitor, distributed capacitor, transistor. That’s the sentence that brought its author the Nobel Prize.


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