In early electronic computers, each circuit involved a vacuum tube. They were large, relatively slow, and consumed a lot of power.
Shockley, Brattain, and Bardeen created the semiconductor. Their circuits eliminated the need for vacuum tubes.
Kilby and Noyce discovered that semiconducting material held burned-in semiconductor circuits. Their printed circuits worked like the much larger metal counterparts. Furthermore, many circuits could be printed and tied together with a single piece of silicon.
These collections of circuits integrated on one chip are what we today refer to as microchips. You are reading this thanks to Kilby and Noyce’s invention.
Kilby worked for Texas Instruments. Noyce was one of the Traitorous Eight, the group who left the abusive, managerially incompetent Shockley. He was working at Fairchild Semiconductor, the firm funded by Doriot student Arthur Rock.
Kilby and Noyce never worked together but, at the same time, addressed the same problem. Kilby, tasked with shrinking the size of a semiconductor, thought of creating it from semiconducting material. He used geranium. Noyce realized that silicon worked better and that multiple circuits could be etched on one silicon wafer.
Their Integrated Circuit won the Nobel Prize in 2000 and went on to change the world. Noyce passed away in 1990 so only Kilby was eligible for the prize. Neither claimed sole credit nor disparaged the other.
Consequently, Kilby, a prolific innovator, was rewarded as an employee and led a comfortable life. Meanwhile, Noyce left Fairchild, co-founded Intel, and died a billionaire.