Integrated circuit is 50 years old today

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by syscom3, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Integrated circuit is 50 years old today

    Integrated circuit is 50 years old today | News | Custom PC

    It’s half a century since the first integrated circuit was demonstrated by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments

    If it wasn’t for the invention of the integrated circuit, then computers today would probably be housed in huge mahogany cabinets with a baffling array of polished, brass valves, or at least be stuffed into huge boxes containing hand-soldered transistors. We owe a lot of thanks to the integrated circuit, or microchip, which is today celebrating its 50th birthday.

    The first microchip was first demonstrated by Jack Kilby from Texas Instruments on 12 September 1958. It might not be much to look at, but then Texas Instruments admits that Kilby often remarked that if he’d known he’d be showing the first working integrated circuit for the next 40-plus years, he would’ve ‘prettied it up a little.’ The chip worked, though, producing a sine wave on an oscilloscope screen at the demo.

    The integrated circuit itself is the germanium strip that you can see in the middle of the glass slide, and it measured 7/16in by 1/16in. With protruding wires, and just containing a single transistor, some resistors and a capacitor, it’s a primitive chip by today’s standards. However, it opened the gate for mass production of larger-scale chips that could contain more and more transistors without the need for complicated hand-soldering jobs.

    This was a major factor when it came to using lots of interconnected transistors, and in 1958 Texas Instruments was researching a new idea called the ‘micromodule,’ in which the components of a circuit all had the same size and shape, but still didn’t address the problems concerning high numbers of transistors.

    In July 1958, Kilby took it upon himself to find the answer to small-scale modules with large numbers of transistors. As a new recruit at Texus Instruments he wasn’t able to take a two-week leave while his other colleagues were off sunning themselves. Instead, he confined himself to his lab alone where he came up with the idea of fabricating all of a circuit’s components with a single block of the same material. Two months later, the first integrated circuit was demonstrated, and technology has never looked back.

    Kilby also kept very detailed notes on all of his work, and you can see the page about the first demonstration of the integrated circuit in the picture below, which is dated 12 September 1958. He later went on to develop the first handheld electronic calculator at Texas Instruments in 1967, and racked up a prestigious et of awards, including the Nobel Prize in physics, the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology.

    To mark the occasion, Texas Instruments has recreated the original lab where Kilby worked on the first integrated circuit at its HQ, which it hopes ‘will inspire future inventors and serve as a visual reminder of the power of science and technology combined with creativity.’ The company has also contributed to a fund to put up a statue of Kilby in his hometown of Great Bend, Kansas.
     
  2. JugBR

    JugBR Active Member

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    amazing, great post sys !
     
  3. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    It is amazing how far we have come since then.
     
  4. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Wow...interesting stuff!:D
     
  5. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Very cool syscom !
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Aside from the invention of the vacuum tube and the transistor, this device ranks as among the most important world changing inventions in history.
     
  7. wilbur1

    wilbur1 Active Member

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    Great story sys thanks :D
     
  8. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Yeah, just imagine what the computer you use would be like if it hadn't :shock:
     
  9. Torch

    Torch Well-Known Member

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    It' amazing on how far it's advanced. From starting in 78 with "donut" memory to what we have today. Had to use an ocilliscope to fix things now the machines call out a "fru", replace it concurrently with no cust impact or load code to it and its a done deal. Most of my job now is dealing with political bs in the industry and trying to "satisfy the customers needs"
     
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