From idea to invention: The origin story of the tiny chip that changed the world

How an ice storm in Kansas sparked Jack Kilby’s interest in electronics, fueling his work to develop the first integrated circuit

12 Sep 2022

In April 1938, a severe ice storm that blustered through central Kansas sent Jack Kilby down a remarkable path that would change our world forever.

Jack’s father, who ran a small electric company with customers scattered across the rural western part of Kansas, worked with amateur radio operators to communicate with areas where his customers had lost service.  

“My dad’s goal was to do whatever it took to run his business and to help people, but I thought that amateur radio was a fascinating subject,” said Jack, who was a young high school student at the time.1

“It sparked my interest in electronics, and that’s when I decided that this field was something I wanted to pursue.”

Watch the video to learn more about Jack’s story and the chip’s impact all around us, in technologies we touch every day.

Two decades later on Sept. 12, 1958, Jack unveiled the first working integrated circuit in a TI lab. That innovation eventually earned him a Nobel Prize in Physics and led our company to our passion today: to create a better world by making electronics more affordable through semiconductors.

1.) www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/2000/kilby/biographical/ 

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