A sliver of germanium glued to a glass slide served as the prototype for the first integrated circuit, created here in Lake Highlands.

A sliver of germanium glued to a glass slide served as the prototype for the first integrated circuit, created here in Lake Highlands.

The foundation for smart phones and a thousand other modern electronic devices was crafted one summer day in 1958. Jack Kilby, a young Texas Instruments engineer who lacked vacation privileges enjoyed by his senior coworkers — while fiddling around with wires and transistors and glue — created the life-changing integrated circuit, or microchip. Kilby later received the Nobel Prize in Physics, and TI opened the Kilby Center in 1997. He kept an office there almost until the time of his death in 2005. “He was an inspiration to the young engineers,” TI spokesperson Kim Quirk has said. “We called him the gentle giant. He was very tall and a very kind and brilliant man. He’s pretty much a legend around here.”

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