Jay W. Lathrop was born in Bangor, ME in 1927 and grew up in Orono, Maine. He received the BS, MS, and PhD degrees in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1952 he joined the National Bureau of Standards that later became the Army’s Diamond Ordnance Fuze Laboratory. There, together with James Nall, he worked on the microminiaturization of solid-state circuits for the Department of Defense. In 1947 they presented the first paper on using photographic techniques in the fabrication of transistors and coined the term 'photolithography' to describe the process. In 1958 Lathrop joined Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX where he worked on integrated circuits with Jack Kilby. He joined Clemson University as a professor of electrical engineering in 1968. During the 1970s he co-invented (with Kilby) the solar chemical converter system of energy conversion.