Barely fifty years ago a computer was a gargantuan, vastly expensive thing that only a handful of scientists had ever seen. The world’s brightest engineers were stymied in their quest to make these machines small and affordable until the solution finally came from two ingenious young Americans. Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce hit upon the stunning discovery that would make possible the silicon microchip, a work that would ultimately earn Kilby the Nobel Prize for physics in 2000. In this completely revised and updated edition of The Chip, T.R. Reid tells the gripping adventure story of their invention and of its growth into a global information industry. This is the story of how the digital age began.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of Technology eBook: The Chip|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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THE MONOLITHIC IDEA
The idea occurred to Jack Kilby at the height of summer, when everyone else was on vacation and he had the lab to himself. It was an idea, as events would prove, of literally cosmic dimensions, an idea that would be honored in the textbooks with a name of its own: the monolithic idea. The idea would eventually win Kilby the Nobel Prize in Physics. This was slightly anomalous, because Jack had no training whatsoever in physics; the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was willing to overlook that minor detail because Jack's idea did, after all, change the daily life of almost everyone on earth for the better. But all that was in the future. At the time Kilby hit on the monolithic idea-it was July 1958-he only hoped that his boss would let him build a model and give the new idea a try.
The boss was still an unknown quantity. It had been less than two months since Jack Kilby arrived in Dallas to begin work at Texas Instruments, and the new employee did not yet have a firm sense of where he stood. Jack had been delighted and flattered when Willis Adcock, the famous silicon pioneer, had offered him a job at TI's semiconductor research group. It was just about the first lucky break of Jack Kilby's career; he would be working for one of the most prominent firms in electronics, with the kind of colleagues and facilities that could help a hard-working young
engineer solve important problems. Still, the pleasure was tempered with some misgivings. Jack's wife, Barbara, and their two young daughters had been happy in Milwaukee, and Jack's career had blossomed there. In a decade working at a small electronics firm called Centralab, Kilby had made twelve patentable inventions (i...