Ms. EDWARDS of Maryland. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
September 12 of this year came and went with little mention of the 50th anniversary of one of the most important events of the 20th century. We owe a debt to Congressman Hall for introducing the resolution to remind us of the great importance of Jack Kilby's experiment and for giving us the opportunity to celebrate the positive contributions of the electronics industry to our well-being.
Jack Kilby knew he was on to something important. He turned down offers from other leading electronics companies to go to Texas Instruments in May 1958, because Texas Instruments was the one company that would let him work full time on miniaturization of electronics. Just 4 months later, he demonstrated what others had been unable to do, that it was possible to create an integrated circuit by combining a transistor, a capacitor and resistors.
All this happened within a year of the Sputnik, the Russian satellite that was a wake-up call regarding the state of American science and engineering. There were computers then, but they were a mass of vacuum tubes and wires that filled a room but provided very little computing power. Radios, television and communications equipment also existed, but, once again, were fairly complicated devices with limited utility.
The miniaturization that Jack Kilby espoused revolutionized electronics. Thanks to the efforts of others, including Bob Noyce and his colleagues at Fairchild, integrated circuits rapidly moved from germanium to widely available silicon.
Early integrated circuit applications allowed mankind to reach the moon by the end of the 1960s. It completely changed the face of national defense. It allowed Jack Kilby to intent the calculator. It made the Internet possible. It allowed electronics to be the future of automobiles, airplanes, entertainment, medical equipment and manufacturing controls.
Before Jack Kilby died, the circuits he invented had become microscopic and had decreased in price by a factor of a million. During our lifetimes, they will continue to drop in price, increase in sophistication and be even more integral building blocks for life as we know it.
I am extremely pleased the leadership of this Committee on Science and Technology has seen fit to push this tribute to such an important set of achievements. I urge my colleagues to join with me in voting for this legislation that honors a group of individuals who truly changed the world for the better.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. HALL of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 1471, which honors the 50th anniversary of the invention of the integrated circuit by Jack St. Clair Kilby. On September 12, 1958, in a Dallas lab of Texas Instruments, Jack St. Clair Kilby gathered a small group of coworkers to unveil a stunning achievement. Before them sat a thin piece of metal attached to monitoring equipment.
When powered on, it became clear that the single piece of metal was doing the work of several simple electronic components, including transistors, capacitors and resistors. Jack had created the first microchip.
I go back a long ways with Texas Instruments. I knew very well Erik Johnson, who started Texas Instruments. I have talked with him personally on several occasions about TI and how he bought it. He said he bought it on a Saturday morning, and the next morning, Sunday morning, he was driving out to look at what he had bought and turned on his radio, because he had promised his wife he would be back in time to go to church with her. He turned on his radio, and the announcement was that the Japanese
were bombing Pearl Harbor.
I said to Erik Johnson, Mr. Johnson, as an engineer, you are wonderful, but as a matter of timing, you are perfect, because that launched the world into war and TI has been a major player in the victory that they achieved some 4 or 5 years later. This breakthrough is a similar breakthrough that they have had time and time again at TI.
For much of the 20th century, the electronics industry had relied on vacuum tubes as the basis for its design. By 1958, these bulky and fragile devices were beginning to be widely replaced by transistors made of semiconducting metals, which were tougher, which were smaller, which produced less heat. These features allowed electrical engineers to design much more complicated systems.
However, as the number of components increased, engineers were having a harder time reliably connecting everything. Cutting edge devices might require connecting thousands of components to thousands of tiny wires by hand.
Jack Kilby solved that problem. Over the summer of 1958, Jack created a way to build all of the wires, transistors and other electrical components into a single piece of metal. In essence, electronics manufacturers could take a solid piece of metal and etch a complete, electronic device into it, no assembly required.
This breakthrough, the integrated circuit, revolutionized the world. Jack Kilby's work, as well as fellow integrated circuit pioneers, Geoffrey Drummer and Robert Noyce, heralded the beginning of an encompassing transformation of modern society. Their work paved the way for the modern electronics industry. Electronic devices that once required a small building and teams of engineers working around the clock now fit neatly into pocket.
Integrated circuits continue to be a cornerstone of the American economy and an important priority of our research and development institutions. Fifty years after the first demonstration of an integrated circuit, it's fitting that Congress recognizes achievement and the importance of this sector now and in the future.
I urge my colleagues to support H. Res. 1471.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.