In 1958, Jack Kilby had this really crazy idea. In his first year working for Texas Instruments, he cobbled together a bunch of parts and decided to build an integrated circuit the size of a fingernail. That little circuit quickly brought an end to the switches and tubes that had been running computers since the early 1950's. You know the rest of the story.
Here is the AP story on Kilby's death. So long Jack, and thanks for all the chips.