Sunday, January 15, 2006

More on Jack Kilby

"I was sitting at a desk, probably stayed there a little longer than usual," Kilby said in an interview posted on TI's Web site. "Most of it formed pretty clearly during the course of that day. There was some slight skepticism (from his supervisors), but basically they realized its importance." Kilby put together a prototype — one transistor and other components on a slice of germanium about half the size of a paperclip. On Sept. 12, he demonstrated his integrated circuit for TI management. It was publicly unveiled on March 6, 1959 [at a press conference in New York; one notes that on March 6, 1865 Lincoln's second inaugural ball is held in the Patent Office. see; TI's public unveiling precedes Faircild's patent application filing.]

It must have been the right moment for the invention, because someone else had been working on it, too — Robert Noyce, then of Fairchild Semiconductor. Noyce put his on silicon, solving some of the potential manufacturing problems of Kilby's design, and filed for a patent about six months after Kilby. Both patents, slightly different, were granted, which set off legal battles until the two agreed to cross-license to each other.

To calibrate on 1959, Physicist Richard Feynman gave his nanotechnology lecture, at the American Physical Society on 29 December 1959, exploring the idea of building things at the atomic and molecular scale.

Richard Feynman amazed physicists with his vision of the future. 'Consider the final question as to whether, ultimately - in the great future - we can arrange atoms the way we want; the very atoms, all the way down! What would happen if we could arrange atoms one by one the way we want them?' Feynman was speaking at a meeting of the American Physical Society. The idea of nanotechnology was born. He imagined the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica written on the head of a pin. It will take untill 1990 before engineers of IBM will be able to move single atoms around.


[IPBiz post 1148]


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