Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Integrated Ciruit

Yesterday we showed a picture of the Eniac, which was the first modern computer. The individual computation elements in this computer were vacuum tubes. They made the computer large, expensive, and prone to breaking down every day or so. People soon realized that the vacuum tubes could be replaced by Shockley's transistor, which was very reliable. The problem remained, however, that tens of thousands of these transistors had to be manually soldered together, and all the solder connections were prone to failure.

In 1958 Jack Kilby had a brilliant idea. Instead of building individual transistors on a piece of Silicon and then wiring them together to make a useful computer, Kilby showed that you could build ALL the transistors on a single piece of silicon at the same time. This idea became the modern integrated circuit. It got rid of both the vacuum tubes and the wires and solder.


  1. This is such an interesting week. Thanks, PJM.

  2. Is that Colonel Klink???

  3. I love this weeks theme!
    Have you ever thought of doing an old radio week?
    Graham, St. John's

  4. my husband is giddy with these transistor photos and info . . . he's a techie from the 50s/60s/70s. I'm going 'ho hum' lets get back to cowboys and indians. The Great Depression? World War II, maybe? just proves you can't please all the people all of the time -- even tho you are doing a great job trying! : )

  5. Looks like an 'Operation' player wh took the game way too seriously.

  6. I work in the building where Jack Kilby invented the integrated circuit - his old office has been preserved (complete with full ashtray and shopping list) as it was back in the day.

    The story is he had just started work and, as he had not accumulated any vacation yet, had to come in while the rest of the facility was on summer vacation. He occupied his time fiddling around and that's when he came up with the inspiration for the integrated circuit.


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