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Artistic Invention

More often than not, engineers are not terribly artistic people. Of course, there are always exceptions to such blanket statements, but for the most part, engineers tend to use the parts of their brains associated with highly technical work. Even drawing for engineers is more about precision than artistry. That's why it's so surprising to many that Jack Kilby, the engineer who invented the microchip, was such an accomplished artist. Kilby was a photographer who had an eye for shapes, lighting and framing that brought him national acclaim. When he wasn't working at Texas Instruments, making it possible for handheld calculators and modern computers to exist, he was out in the field taking photographs of landscapes, industrial settings and manual laborers. His portraits of workers on ranches, oil fields and construction sites come across as deeply sensitive and sentimental, qualities not usually so forthcoming in the more mechanically inclined among us. Though Kilby was honored with a Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking engineering work, he was extremely proud of his accomplishments in photography, a sampling of which will be on display at the Meadows Museum, 5900 Bishop Blvd., in Jack Kilby: Photographs by the Inventor of the Microchip. For those more impressed with Kilby's technological contributions, his notebooks and design drawings from his time at Texas Instruments will also be featured. The show runs from July 12 until September 21. Visit for more information.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: July 12. Continues through Sept. 21, 2008


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