Bell Labs

Last updated
Nokia Bell Labs
Subsidiary of Nokia
Industry Telecommunication, Information technology, Material science
Founded1925;94 years ago (1925) (as Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.)
Headquarters Murray Hill, New Jersey, U.S.
Key people
Marcus Weldon
Parent AT&T (1925–96)
Western Electric (1925–83)
Lucent (1996–2006)
Alcatel-Lucent (2006–16)
Nokia (2016–present)
Website www.bell-labs.com

Nokia Bell Labs (formerly named Bell Labs Innovations (1996–2007) [1] , AT&T Bell Laboratories (1984–1996) [2] and Bell Telephone Laboratories (1925–1984) [3] ) is an industrial research and scientific development company owned by Finnish company Nokia. With headquarters located in Murray Hill, New Jersey, the company operates several laboratories in the United States and around the world. Bell Labs has its origins in the complex past of the Bell System.

Research systematic study undertaken to increase knowledge

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S.A. (corporation) type of corporation in countries that mostly employ civil law

Société anonyme designates a type of corporation in countries that mostly employ civil law. Depending on language, it means anonymous company, anonymous partnership, share company, or joint-stock company, roughly equivalent to public limited company in common law jurisdictions. It is different from partnerships and private limited companies.

Nokia Finnish technology corporation

Nokia Corporation is a Finnish multinational telecommunications, information technology, and consumer electronics company, founded in 1865. Nokia's headquarters are in Espoo, in the greater Helsinki metropolitan area. In 2018, Nokia employed approximately 103,000 people across over 100 countries, did business in more than 130 countries, and reported annual revenues of around €23 billion. Nokia is a public limited company listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange. It is the world's 415th-largest company measured by 2016 revenues according to the Fortune Global 500, having peaked at 85th place in 2009. It is a component of the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index.

Contents

In the late 19th century, the laboratory began as the Western Electric Engineering Department and was located at 463 West Street in New York City. In 1925, after years of conducting research and development under Western Electric, the Engineering Department was reformed into Bell Telephone Laboratories and under the shared ownership of American Telephone & Telegraph Company and Western Electric.

Bell Laboratories Building (Manhattan) United States historic place

463 West Street is a 13-building complex located on the block between West Street, Washington Street, Bank Street, and Bethune Street in Manhattan, New York. It was originally the home of Bell Telephone Laboratories between 1898 and 1966. For a time, it was the largest industrial research center in the United States. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and further designated as a National Historic Landmark, as Bell Telephone Laboratories.

Western Electric Company was an American electrical engineering and manufacturing company that served as the primary supplier to AT&T from 1881 to 1996, and to the local Bell Operating Companies until 1984. The company was responsible for many technological innovations and seminal developments in industrial management. It also served as the purchasing agent for the member companies of the Bell System.

AT&T Corporation Subsidiary of AT&T that provides voice, video, data, and Internet telecommunications

AT&T Corporation, originally the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, is the subsidiary of AT&T Inc. that provides voice, video, data, and Internet telecommunications and professional services to businesses, consumers, and government agencies.

Researchers working at Bell Labs are credited with the development of radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, the photovoltaic cell, the charge-coupled device (CCD), information theory, the Unix operating system, and the programming languages C, C++, and S. Nine Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.

Radio astronomy subfield of astronomy that studies celestial objects at radio frequencies

Radio astronomy is a subfield of astronomy that studies celestial objects at radio frequencies. The first detection of radio waves from an astronomical object was in 1932, when Karl Jansky at Bell Telephone Laboratories observed radiation coming from the Milky Way. Subsequent observations have identified a number of different sources of radio emission. These include stars and galaxies, as well as entirely new classes of objects, such as radio galaxies, quasars, pulsars, and masers. The discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation, regarded as evidence for the Big Bang theory, was made through radio astronomy.

Transistor Basic electronics component

A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power. It is composed of semiconductor material usually with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals controls the current through another pair of terminals. Because the controlled (output) power can be higher than the controlling (input) power, a transistor can amplify a signal. Today, some transistors are packaged individually, but many more are found embedded in integrated circuits.

Laser Device which emits light via optical amplification

A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation". The first laser was built in 1960 by Theodore H. Maiman at Hughes Research Laboratories, based on theoretical work by Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow.

Origin and historical locations

Bell's personal research after the telephone

In 1880, when the French government awarded Alexander Graham Bell the Volta Prize of 50,000 francs (approximately US$10,000 at that time; about $270,000 in January 2019's dollars [4] ) for the invention of the telephone, he used the award to fund the Volta Laboratory (Alexander Graham Bell Laboratory) in Washington, D.C. in collaboration with Sumner Tainter and Bell's cousin Chichester Bell. [5] The laboratory was variously known as the Volta Bureau, the Bell Carriage House, the Bell Laboratory and the Volta Laboratory.

France Republic in Europe with several non-European regions

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Alexander Graham Bell scientist and inventor known for his work on the telephone

Alexander Graham Bell was a Scottish-born American inventor, scientist, and engineer who is credited with inventing and patenting the first practical telephone. He also co-founded the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in 1885.

The Volta Prize was originally established by Napoleon III during the Second French Empire in 1852 to honor Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist noted for developing the electric battery. This international prize awarded 50,000 French francs to extraordinary scientific discoveries related to electricity. The prize was instituted by the Ministry of Public Instruction with the personal funding of the French Emperor, the selection committee was usually constituted by members of the French Academy of Sciences.

It focused on the analysis, recording, and transmission of sound. Bell used his considerable profits from the laboratory for further research and education to permit the "[increased] diffusion of knowledge relating to the deaf": [5] resulting in the founding of the Volta Bureau (c. 1887) which was located at Bell's father's house at 1527 35th Street N.W. in Washington, D.C. Its carriage house became their headquarters in 1889. [5]

Alexander Melville Bell British linguist

Alexander Melville Bell was a teacher and researcher of physiological phonetics and was the author of numerous works on orthoepy and elocution.

In 1893, Bell constructed a new building close by at 1537 35th Street N.W., specifically to house the lab. [5] This building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972. [6] [7] [8]

National Historic Landmark formal designation assigned by the United States federal government to historic buildings and sites in the United States

A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Only some 2,500 (~3%) of over 90,000 places listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.

After the invention of the telephone, Bell maintained a relatively distant role with the Bell System as a whole, but continued to pursue his own personal research interests. [9]

Bell's 1893 Volta Bureau building in Washington, D.C. Volta Laboratory and Bureau nw22.jpg
Bell's 1893 Volta Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

Early antecedent

The Bell Patent Association was formed by Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Sanders, and Gardiner Hubbard when filing the first patents for the telephone in 1876.

Bell Telephone Company, the first telephone company, was formed a year later. It later became a part of the American Bell Telephone Company.

American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T) and its own subsidiary company, took control of American Bell and the Bell System by 1889.

American Bell held a controlling interest in Western Electric (which was the manufacturing arm of the business) whereas AT&T was doing research into the service providers. [10] [11]

In 1884, the American Bell Telephone Company created the Mechanical Department from the Electrical and Patent Department formed a year earlier.

Formal organization and location changes

The original home of Bell Laboratories beginning in 1925, 463 West Street, New York. Bell Laboratories West Street.jpg
The original home of Bell Laboratories beginning in 1925, 463 West Street, New York.

In 1896, Western Electric bought property at 463 West Street to station their manufacturers and engineers who had been supplying AT&T with their product. This included everything from telephones, telephone exchange switches, and transmission equipment.

In 1925, Bell Laboratories was developed to better consolidate the research activities of the Bell System. Ownership was evenly split between Western Electric and AT&T. Throughout the next decade the AT&T Research and Development branch moved into West Street.

Bell Labs also carried out consulting work for the Bell Telephone Company, U.S. government work, and a few workers were assigned to basic research. The first president of research at Bell Labs was Frank B. Jewett who stayed there until 1940. [12] [13] [14]

By the early 1940s, Bell Labs engineers and scientists had begun to move to other locations away from the congestion and environmental distractions of New York City, and in 1967 Bell Laboratories headquarters was officially relocated to Murray Hill, New Jersey.

Among the later Bell Laboratories locations in New Jersey were Holmdel, Crawford Hill, the Deal Test Site, Freehold, Lincroft, Long Branch, Middletown, Neptune, Princeton, Piscataway, Red Bank, Chester, and Whippany. Of these, Murray Hill and Crawford Hill remain in existence (the Piscataway and Red Bank locations were transferred to and are now operated by Telcordia Technologies and the Whippany site was purchased by Bayer [15] ).

The largest grouping of people in the company was in Illinois, at Naperville-Lisle, in the Chicago area, which had the largest concentration of employees (about 11,000) prior to 2001. There also were groups of employees in Indianapolis, Indiana; Columbus, Ohio; North Andover, Massachusetts; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Reading, Pennsylvania; and Breinigsville, Pennsylvania; Burlington, North Carolina (1950s–1970s, moved to Greensboro 1980s) and Westminster, Colorado. Since 2001, many of the former locations have been scaled down or closed.

Old Bell Labs Holmdel Complex. Located in New Jersey, about 20 miles south of New York. Bell Labs Holmdel.jpg
Old Bell Labs Holmdel Complex. Located in New Jersey, about 20 miles south of New York.

The Holmdel site, a 1.9 million square foot structure set on 473 acres, was closed in 2007. The mirrored-glass building was designed by Eero Saarinen. In August 2013, Somerset Development bought the building, intending to redevelop it into a mixed commercial and residential project. A 2012 article expressed doubt on the success of the newly named Bell Works site [16] however several large tenants had announced plans to move in through 2016 and 2017 [17] [18]

Discoveries and developments

Bell Laboratories logo, used from 1969 until 1983 Bell Laboratories logo.svg
Bell Laboratories logo, used from 1969 until 1983

Bell Laboratories was, and is, regarded by many as the premier research facility of its type, developing a wide range of revolutionary technologies, including radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, information theory, the operating system Unix, the programming languages C and C++, solar cells, the charge-coupled device (CCD), and many other optical, wireless, and wired communications technologies and systems.

1920s

In 1926, the laboratories invented an early example synchronous-sound motion picture system, in competition with Fox Movietone and DeForest Phonofilm. [19]

In 1924, Bell Labs physicist Walter A. Shewhart proposed the control chart as a method to determine when a process was in a state of statistical control. Shewhart's methods were the basis for statistical process control (SPC): the use of statistically based tools and techniques to manage and improve processes. This was the origin of the modern quality movement, including Six Sigma.

In 1927, a Bell team headed by Herbert E. Ives successfully transmitted long-distance 128-line television images of Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover from Washington to New York. In 1928 the thermal noise in a resistor was first measured by John B. Johnson, and Harry Nyquist provided the theoretical analysis; this is now termed Johnson noise. During the 1920s, the one-time pad cipher was invented by Gilbert Vernam and Joseph Mauborgne at the laboratories. Bell Labs' Claude Shannon later proved that it is unbreakable.

1930s

Reconstruction of the directional antenna used in the discovery of radio emission of extraterrestrial origin by Karl Guthe Jansky at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1932 Green Banks - Jansky Antena.jpg
Reconstruction of the directional antenna used in the discovery of radio emission of extraterrestrial origin by Karl Guthe Jansky at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1932

In 1931, a foundation for radio astronomy was laid by Karl Jansky during his work investigating the origins of static on long-distance shortwave communications. He discovered that radio waves were being emitted from the center of the galaxy. In 1931 and 1932, experimental high fidelity, long playing, and even stereophonic recordings were made by the labs of the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski. [20] In 1933, stereo signals were transmitted live from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. In 1937, the vocoder, an electronic speech compression device, or codec, and the Voder, the first electronic speech synthesizer, were developed and demonstrated by Homer Dudley, the Voder being demonstrated at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Bell researcher Clinton Davisson shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with George Paget Thomson for the discovery of electron diffraction, which helped lay the foundation for solid-state electronics.

1940s

The first transistor, a point-contact germanium device, was invented at Bell Laboratories in 1947. This image shows a replica. Replica-of-first-transistor.jpg
The first transistor, a point-contact germanium device, was invented at Bell Laboratories in 1947. This image shows a replica.

In the early 1940s, the photovoltaic cell was developed by Russell Ohl. In 1943, Bell developed SIGSALY, the first digital scrambled speech transmission system, used by the Allies in World War II. The British wartime codebreaker Alan Turing visited the labs at this time, working on speech encryption and meeting Claude Shannon. [21]

Bell Labs Quality Assurance Department gave the world and the United States such statisticians as Walter A. Shewhart, W. Edwards Deming, Harold F. Dodge, George D. Edwards, Harry Romig, R. L. Jones, Paul Olmstead, E.G.D. Paterson, and Mary N. Torrey. During World War II, Emergency Technical Committee – Quality Control, drawn mainly from Bell Labs' statisticians, was instrumental in advancing Army and Navy ammunition acceptance and material sampling procedures.

In 1947, the transistor, probably the most important invention developed by Bell Laboratories, was invented by John Bardeen, Walter Houser Brattain, and William Bradford Shockley (and who subsequently shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956). In 1947, Richard Hamming invented Hamming codes for error detection and correction. For patent reasons, the result was not published until 1950. In 1948, "A Mathematical Theory of Communication", one of the founding works in information theory, was published by Claude Shannon in the Bell System Technical Journal . It built in part on earlier work in the field by Bell researchers Harry Nyquist and Ralph Hartley, but it greatly extended these. Bell Labs also introduced a series of increasingly complex calculators through the decade. Shannon was also the founder of modern cryptography with his 1949 paper Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems .

Calculators

[22] [23]

  • Model I: A Complex Number Calculator, completed in 1939 and put into operation in 1940, for doing calculations of complex numbers.
  • Model II: Relay Computer / Relay Interpolator, [24] September 1943, for interpolating data points of flight profiles (needed for performance testing of a gun director). [25] This model introduced error detection (self checking). [26] [27]
  • Model III: Ballistic Computer, [28] June 1944, for calculations of ballistic trajectories
  • Model IV: Error Detector Mark II, March 1945, [29] improved ballistic computer
  • Model V: [30] General purpose electromechanical computer, of which two were built, July 1946 and February 1947 [31] [29] [32]
  • Model VI: 1949, an enhanced Model V

1950s

In 1952, William Gardner Pfann revealed the method of zone melting which enabled semiconductor purification and level doping.

The 1950s also saw developmental activity based upon information theory. The central development was binary code systems. Efforts concentrated more precisely on the Laboratories' prime mission of supporting the Bell System with engineering advances including N-carrier, TD Microwave radio relay, Direct Distance Dialing, E-repeaters, Wire spring relays, and improved switching systems. Maurice Karnaugh, in 1953, developed the Karnaugh map as a tool to facilitate management of Boolean algebraic expressions. In 1954, the first modern solar cell was invented at Bell Laboratories. As for the spectacular side of the business, in 1956 TAT-1, the first transatlantic telephone cable was laid between Scotland and Newfoundland, in a joint effort by AT&T, Bell Laboratories, and British and Canadian telephone companies. A year later, in 1957, MUSIC, one of the first computer programs to play electronic music, was created by Max Mathews. New greedy algorithms developed by Robert C. Prim and Joseph Kruskal, revolutionized computer network design. In 1958, the laser was first described, in a technical paper by Arthur Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes.

In 1959, Mohamed Atalla and Dawon Kahng invented the metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET), and presented their invention in 1960. [33] The MOSFET has achieved electronic hegemony and sustains the large-scale integrated circuits (LSIs) underlying today's information society.

1960s

The charge-coupled device was invented by George E. Smith and Willard Boyle Nobel Prize 2009-Press Conference KVA-19.jpg
The charge-coupled device was invented by George E. Smith and Willard Boyle

In December 1960, Ali Javan and his associates William Bennett and Donald Heriot successfully operated the first gas laser, the first continuous-light laser, operating at an unprecedented accuracy and color purity. In 1962, the electret microphone was invented by Gerhard M. Sessler and James Edward Maceo West. Also in 1962, John R. Pierce's vision of communications satellites was realized by the launch of Telstar. In 1964, the Carbon dioxide laser was invented by Kumar Patel. In 1965, Penzias and Wilson discovered the cosmic microwave background, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1978. [34] Frank W. Sinden, Edward E. Zajac, Kenneth C. Knowlton, and A. Michael Noll made computer-animated movies during the early to mid-1960s. Ken C. Knowlton invented the computer animation language BEFLIX. The first digital computer art was created in 1962 by Noll. In 1966, Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), a key technology in wireless services, was developed and patented by R. W. Chang. In 1968, Molecular beam epitaxy was developed by J.R. Arthur and A.Y. Cho; molecular beam epitaxy allows semiconductor chips and laser matrices to be manufactured one atomic layer at a time. In 1969, Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson created the computer operating system UNIX for the support of telecommunication switching systems as well as general purpose computing. From 1969 to 1971, Aaron Marcus, the first graphic designer involved with computer graphics, researched, designed, and programmed a prototype interactive page-layout system for the Picturephone. In 1969, the charge-coupled device (CCD) was invented by Willard Boyle and George E. Smith, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009. In the 1960s, the New York City site was sold and became the Westbeth Artists Community complex.

1970s

The C programming language was developed in 1972. The C Programming Language logo.svg
The C programming language was developed in 1972.

The 1970s and 1980s saw more and more computer-related inventions at the Bell Laboratories as part of the personal computing revolution. In 1972, Dennis Ritchie developed the compiled programming language C as a replacement for the interpreted language B which was then used in a worse is better rewrite of UNIX. Also, the language AWK was designed and implemented by Alfred Aho, Peter Weinberger, and Brian Kernighan of Bell Laboratories. In 1972, Marc Rochkind invented the Source Code Control System.

In 1970, A. Michael Noll invented a tactile, force-feedback system, coupled with interactive stereoscopic computer display. In 1971, an improved task priority system for computerized telephone exchange switching systems for telephone traffic was invented by Erna Schneider Hoover, who received one of the first software patents for it. In 1976, Optical fiber systems were first tested in Georgia and in 1980, the first single-chip 32-bit microprocessor, the Bellmac 32A was demonstrated. It went into production in 1982.

The 1970s also saw a major central office technology evolve from crossbar electromechanical relay-based technology and discrete transistor logic to Bell Labs-developed thick film hybrid and transistor–transistor logic (TTL), stored program-controlled switching systems; 1A/#4 TOLL Electronic Switching Systems (ESS) and 2A Local Central Offices produced at the Bell Labs Naperville and Western Electric Lisle, Illinois facilities. This technology evolution dramatically reduced floor space needs. The new ESS also came with its own diagnostic software that needed only a switchman and several frame technicians to maintain. The technology was often touted in the Bell Labs Technical Journals and Western Electric magazine (WE People).[ citation needed ]

1980s

Bell Laboratories logo, used from 1984 until 1995 Bell Labs logo, 1984-1995.png
Bell Laboratories logo, used from 1984 until 1995

In 1980, the TDMA and CDMA digital cellular telephone technology was patented. In 1982, Fractional quantum Hall effect was discovered by Horst Störmer and former Bell Laboratories researchers Robert B. Laughlin and Daniel C. Tsui; they consequently won a Nobel Prize in 1998 for the discovery. In 1985, [35] the programming language C++ had its first commercial release. [36] Bjarne Stroustrup started developing C++ at Bell Laboratories in 1979 as an extension to the original C language. [36]

In 1984, the first photoconductive antennas for picosecond electromagnetic radiation were demonstrated by Auston and others. This type of antenna became an important component in terahertz time-domain spectroscopy. In 1984, Karmarkar's algorithm for linear programming was developed by mathematician Narendra Karmarkar. Also in 1984, a divestiture agreement signed in 1982 with the American Federal government forced the break-up of AT&T: Bellcore (now Telcordia Technologies) was split off from Bell Laboratories to provide the same R&D functions for the newly created local exchange carriers. AT&T also was limited to using the Bell trademark only in association with Bell Laboratories. Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. became a wholly owned company of the new AT&T Technologies unit, the former Western Electric. The 5ESS Switch was developed during this transition. In 1985, laser cooling was used to slow and manipulate atoms by Steven Chu and team. In 1985, the modeling language A Mathematical Programming Language AMPL was developed by Robert Fourer, David M. Gay and Brian Kernighan at Bell Laboratories. Also in 1985, Bell Laboratories was awarded the National Medal of Technology "For contribution over decades to modern communication systems". During the 1980s, the operating system Plan 9 from Bell Labs was developed extending the UNIX model. Also, the Radiodrum, an electronic music instrument played in three space dimensions was invented. In 1988, TAT-8 became the first transatlantic fiber-optic cable. Bell Labs in Freehold, NJ developed the 1.3-micron fiber, cable, splicing, laser detector, and 280 Mbit/s repeater for 40,000 telephone-call capacity.

Arthur Ashkin invented optical tweezers that grab particles, atoms, viruses and other living cells with their laser beam fingers. A major breakthrough came in 1987, when Ashkin used the tweezers to capture living bacteria without harming them. He immediately began studying biological systems and optical tweezers are now widely used to investigate the machinery of life. [37]

1990s

Lucent Logo bearing the "Bell Labs Innovations" tagline Lucent Technologies logo.svg
Lucent Logo bearing the "Bell Labs Innovations" tagline

In the early 1990s, approaches to increase modem speeds to 56K were explored at Bell Labs, and early patents were filed in 1992 by Ender Ayanoglu, Nuri R. Dagdeviren and their colleagues. [38] . In 1994, the quantum cascade laser was invented by Federico Capasso, Alfred Cho, Jerome Faist and their collaborators. Also in 1994, Peter Shor devised his quantum factorization algorithm. In 1996, SCALPEL electron lithography, which prints features atoms wide on microchips, was invented by Lloyd Harriott and his team. The operating system Inferno, an update of Plan 9, was created by Dennis Ritchie with others, using the then-new concurrent programming language Limbo. A high performance database engine (Dali) was developed which became DataBlitz in its product form. [39]

In 1996, AT&T spun off Bell Laboratories, along with most of its equipment manufacturing business, into a new company named Lucent Technologies. AT&T retained a small number of researchers who made up the staff of the newly created AT&T Labs.

In 1997, the smallest then-practical transistor (60 nanometers, 182 atoms wide) was built. In 1998, the first optical router was invented.

2000s

Pre-2013 logo of Alcatel-Lucent, parent company of Bell Labs Alcatel Lucent Logo.svg
Pre-2013 logo of Alcatel-Lucent, parent company of Bell Labs

2000 was an active year for the Laboratories, in which DNA machine prototypes were developed; progressive geometry compression algorithm made widespread 3-D communication practical; the first electrically powered organic laser invented; a large-scale map of cosmic dark matter was compiled, and the F-15 (material), an organic material that makes plastic transistors possible, was invented.

In 2002, physicist Jan Hendrik Schön was fired after his work was found to contain fraudulent data. It was the first known case of fraud at Bell Labs.

In 2003, the New Jersey Institute of Technology Biomedical Engineering Laboratory was created at Murray Hill, New Jersey. [40]

In 2005, Jeong H. Kim, former President of Lucent's Optical Network Group, returned from academia to become the President of Bell Laboratories.

In April 2006, Bell Laboratories' parent company, Lucent Technologies, signed a merger agreement with Alcatel. On 1 December 2006, the merged company, Alcatel-Lucent, began operations. This deal raised concerns in the United States, where Bell Laboratories works on defense contracts. A separate company, LGS Innovations, with an American board was set up to manage Bell Laboratories' and Lucent's sensitive U.S. government contracts.

In December 2007, it was announced that the former Lucent Bell Laboratories and the former Alcatel Research and Innovation would be merged into one organization under the name of Bell Laboratories. This is the first period of growth following many years during which Bell Laboratories progressively lost manpower due to layoffs and spin-offs making the company shut down for a short period of time.

As of July 2008, however, only four scientists remained in physics research, according to a report by the scientific journal Nature. [41]

On 28 August 2008, Alcatel-Lucent announced it was pulling out of basic science, material physics, and semiconductor research, and it will instead focus on more immediately marketable areas, including networking, high-speed electronics, wireless networks, nanotechnology and software. [42]

In 2009, Willard Boyle and George Smith were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention and development of the charge-coupled device (CCD). [43]

2010s

Nokia Bell Labs entrance sign at New Jersey headquarters in 2016 Nokia Bell Labs sign.jpg
Nokia Bell Labs entrance sign at New Jersey headquarters in 2016

Gee Rittenhouse, former Head of Research, returned from his position as Chief Operating Officer of Alcatel-Lucent's Software, Services, and Solutions business in February 2013, to become the 12th President of Bell Labs. [44]

On 4 November 2013, Alcatel-Lucent announced the appointment of Marcus Weldon as President of Bell Labs. His stated charter was to return Bell Labs to the forefront of innovation in Information and communications technology by focusing on solving the key industry challenges, as was the case in the great Bell Labs innovation eras in the past. [45]

In July 2014, Bell Labs announced it had broken "the broadband Internet speed record" with a new technology dubbed XG-FAST that promises 10 gigabits per second transmission speeds. [46]

In 2014, Eric Betzig shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in super-resolved fluorescence microscopy which he began pursuing while at Bell Labs in the Semiconductor Physics Research Department. [47]

On 15 April 2015, Nokia agreed to acquire Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Labs' parent company, in a share exchange worth $16.6 billion. [48] [49] Their first day of combined operations was 14 January 2016. [50]

In September 2016, Nokia Bell Labs, along with Technische Universität Berlin Deutsche Telekom T-Labs and the Technical University of Munich achieved a data rate of one terabit per second by improving transmission capacity and spectral efficiency in an optical communications field trial with a new modulation technique. [51]

In 2018, Arthur Ashkin shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on "the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems" [37] which was developed at Bell Labs in 1980s.

PeriodName of PresidentLifetime
132013– Marcus Weldon b. 1968
122013–2013 Gee Rittenhouse
112005–2013 Jeong Hun Kim b. 1961
102001–2005 Bill O’Shea b. 1957
91999–2001 Arun Netravali b. 1946
81995–1999 Dan Stanzione b. 1945
71991–1995 John Sullivan Mayo b. 1930
61979–1991 Ian Munro Ross 1927–2013
51973–1979 William Oliver Baker 1915–2005
41959–1973 James Brown Fisk 1910–1981 [52]
31951–1959 Mervin Kelly 1895–1971
21940–1951 Oliver Buckley 1887–1959
11925–1940 Frank Baldwin Jewett 1879–1949

Nobel Prizes and Turing Award

Nine Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories. [53]

The Turing Award has been won four times by Bell Labs researchers.

Notable alumni

AlumniNotes
Javan ali.jpg Ali Javan Invented the gas laser in 1960.
Arno Penzias.jpg Arno Allan Penzias Discovered background radiation, with Robert W. Wilson, originating from the Big Bang and won the Nobel Prize in 1978 for the discovery.
Arthur Ashkin Has been considered as the father of the topical field of optical tweezers, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018.
Bishnu Atal Developed new speech processing and encoding algorithms, including fundamental work on linear prediction of speech and linear predictive coding (LPC), and the development of code-excited linear prediction (CELP) speech encoding, the basis for all speech communication codecs in mobile and Internet voice communications.
BjarneStroustrup.jpg Bjarne Stroustrup Was the head of Bell Labs Large-scale Programming Research department, from its creation until late 2002 and created the C++ programming language.
Brian Kernighan in 2012 at Bell Labs 2.jpg Brian Kernighan Helped create Unix, AWK, AMPL, and The C Programming Language (book)
Claire F. Gmachl Developed novel designs for solid-state lasers leading to advances in the development of quantum cascade lasers.
ClaudeShannon MFO3807.jpg
Claude Shannon Founded information theory with the publishing of A Mathematical Theory of Communication in 1948. He is perhaps equally well known for founding both digital computer and digital circuit design theory in 1937, when, as a 21-year-old master's degree student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he wrote his thesis demonstrating that electrical applications of Boolean algebra could construct any logical, numerical relationship. [60] Shannon contributed to the field of cryptanalysis for national defense during World War II, including his basic work on codebreaking and secure telecommunications. For two months early in 1943, Shannon came into contact with the leading British cryptanalyst and mathematician Alan Turing. Shannon and Turing met at teatime in the cafeteria. [61] Turing showed Shannon his 1936 paper that defined what is now known as the "Universal Turing machine"; [62] [63] this impressed Shannon, as many of its ideas complemented his own.
Clinton Davisson.jpg Clinton Davisson Davisson and Lester Germer performed an experiment showing that electrons were diffracted at the surface of a crystal of nickel. This celebrated Davisson-Germer experiment confirmed the de Broglie hypothesis that particles of matter have a wave-like nature, which is a central tenet of quantum mechanics. Their observation of diffraction allowed the first measurement of a wavelength for electrons. He shared the Nobel Prize in 1937 with George Paget Thomson, who independently discovered electron diffraction at about the same time as Davisson.
Corinna Cortes Head of Google Research, New York.
Daniel Chee Tsui.jpg Daniel Tsui Along with Robert Laughlin and Horst Störmer discovered new form of quantum fluid.
Stanford2010DavidMiller.png David A. B. Miller
Dawon Kahng.jpg Dawon Kahng Invented the MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor) with Mohamed Atalla in 1959. [33] [64] It revolutionized the electronics industry, [65] [66] and is the most widely used semiconductor device in the world. [67] [68]
Dennis Ritchie 2011.jpg Dennis Ritchie Created the C programming language and, with long-time colleague Ken Thompson, the Unix operating system.
Donald Cox Received the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal (1993)
Elizabeth Bailey Worked in technical programming at Bell Laboratories from 1960 to 1972, before transferring to the economic research section from 1972 to 1977.
Eric Betzig An American physicist who worked to develop the field of fluorescence microscopy and photoactivated localization microscopy. He was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for "the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy" along with Stefan Hell and fellow Cornell alumnus William E. Moerner.
Eric Schmidt at the 37th G8 Summit in Deauville 037.jpg Eric Schmidt Did a complete re-write with Mike Lesk of Lex, a program to generate lexical analysers for the Unix computer operating system.
Erna Schneider Hoover Invented the computerized telephone switching method.
Esther M. Conwell Studied effects of high electric fields on electron transport in semiconductors, member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Evelyn Hu Pioneer in the fabrication of nanoscale electronic and photonic devices.
Nobel Prize 2009-Press Conference KVA-27.jpg George E. Smith Led research into novel lasers and semiconductor devices. During his tenure, Smith was awarded dozens of patents and eventually headed the VLSI device department. George E. Smith shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics with Willard Boyle for "the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit—the CCD sensor, which has become an electronic eye in almost all areas of photography". [69]
Gil Amelio Amelio was on the team that demonstrated the first working charge-coupled device (CCD). Worked at Fairchild Semiconductor, and the semiconductor division of Rockwell International but is best remembered as a CEO of National Semiconductor and Apple Inc.
Harvey Fletcher "father of stereophonic sound". As Director of Research at Bell Labs, he oversaw research in electrical sound recording, including more than 100 stereo recordings with conductor Leopold Stokowski in 1931–1932. [70] [71]
Horst Stormer.jpg Horst Ludwig Störmer Along with Robert Laughlin and Daniel Tsui discovered new form of quantum fluid.
Hopcrofg.jpg John Hopcroft Received the Turing Award jointly with Robert Tarjan in 1986 for fundamental achievements in the design and analysis of algorithms and data structures.
Ingrid Daubechies (2005).jpg Ingrid Daubechies Developed the orthogonal Daubechies wavelet and the biorthogonal Cohen–Daubechies–Feauveau wavelet. She is best known for her work with wavelets in image compression (such as JPEG 2000) and digital cinema.
Jessie MacWilliams Developed the MacWilliams identities in coding theory.
John Mashey Worked on the PWB/UNIX operating system at Bell Labs from 1973 to 1983, authoring the PWB shell, also known as the "Mashey Shell". [72]
John M. Chambers Developed the statistical programming language S which is the forerunner to R.
Bardeen.jpg John Bardeen With William Shockley and Walter Brattain, the three scientists invented the point-contact transistor in 1947 and were jointly awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics.
2015-03-19 Jon Hall by Olaf Kosinsky-4.jpg Jon Hall Executive Director of Linux International, [73]
Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie.jpg Ken Thompson designed and implemented the original Unix operating system. He also invented the B programming language, the direct predecessor to the C programming language, and was one of the creators and early developers of the Plan 9 operating systems. Since 2006, Thompson has worked at Google, where he co-invented the Go programming language.
Laurie Spiegel Electronic musician and engineer known for developing the algorithmic composition software Music Mouse.
Margaret H. Wright Pioneer in numerical computing and mathematical optimization, head of the Scientific Computing Research Department and Bell Labs Fellow, president of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.
Max Mathews Wrote MUSIC, the first widely used program for sound generation, in 1957.
Atalla1963.png Mohamed Atalla Developed the silicon surface passivation process in 1957, [64] [74] and then invented the MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor), the first practical implementation of a field-effect transistor, with Dawon Kahng in 1959. [65] [66] [67] [68] This led to a breakthrough in semiconductor technology, [75] [76] and revolutionized the electronics industry. [65] [66]
Narendra Karmarkar Developed Karmarkar's algorithm.
Osamu Fujimura Japanese physicist, phonetician and linguist, recognized as one of the pioneers of speech science. Invented the C/D model of speech articulation.
Persi Diaconis 2010.jpg Persi Diaconis Known for tackling mathematical problems involving randomness and randomization, such as coin flipping and shuffling playing cards.
Andersonphoto.jpg Philip Warren Anderson In 1977 Anderson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his investigations into the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems, which allowed for the development of electronic switching and memory devices in computers.
Phyllis Fox Co-wrote the DYNAMO simulation programming language, principal author of the first LISP manual, and developed the PORT Mathematical Subroutine Library.
Richard Hamming Created a family of mathematical error-correcting code, which are called Hamming codes. Programmed one of the earliest computers, the IBM 650, and with Ruth A. Weiss developed the L2 programming language, one of the earliest computer languages, in 1956.
Robert Laughlin, Stanford University.jpg Robert Laughlin Along with Horst Störmer and Daniel Tsui discovered new form of quantum fluid.
Rob-pike-oscon.jpg Rob Pike A member of the Unix team and was involved in the creation of the Plan 9 and Inferno operating systems, as well as the Limbo programming language. Co-authored the books The Unix Programming Environment and The Practice of Programming with Brian Kernighan. Co-created the UTF-8 character encoding standard with Ken Thompson, the Blit graphical terminal with Bart Locanthi Jr. and the sam and acme text editors. Pike has worked at Google, where he co-created the Go and Sawzall programming languages.
Bob Tarjan.jpg Robert Tarjan Received the Turing Award jointly with John Hopcroft in 1986 for fundamental achievements in the design and analysis of algorithms and data structures.
Wilson penzias200.jpg Robert W. Wilson Discovered background radiation, with Arno Allan Penzias, originating from the Big Bang and won the Nobel Prize in 1978 for that.
Steve Bourne at SDWest2005.hires.jpg Steve Bourne Created the Bourne shell, the adb debugger and authored the book The Unix System. He also served as president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) (2000-2002), was made a fellow of the ACM (2005), received the ACM Presidential Award (2008) and the Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award (2017).
Professor Steven Chu ForMemRS headshot.jpg Steven Chu known for his research at Bell Labs and Stanford University in cooling and trapping of atoms with laser light, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, along with his scientific colleagues Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William Daniel Phillips. [77]
Steven Cundiff Was instrumental in the development of the first frequency comb that led to one half of the 2005 Nobel prize. [78] Also made significant contributions to the ultrafast dynamics of semiconductor nanostructures, including the 2014 discovery of the dropleton quasi-particle. [79]
Stuart Feldman Creator of the computer software program make for UNIX systems. He was also an author of the first Fortran 77 compiler, and he was part of the original group at Bell Labs that created the Unix operating system. [80]
TrevorHastiePic.jpg Trevor Hastie Known for his contributions to applied statistics, especially in the field of machine learning, data mining, and bioinformatics.
Zhenan Bao Development of the first all plastic transistor, or organic field-effect transistors which allows for its use in electronic paper. [81]
Brattain.jpg Walter Houser Brattain With fellow scientists John Bardeen and William Shockley, invented the point-contact transistor in December, 1947. [82] They shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention.
Nobel Prize 2009-Press Conference KVA-23.jpg Willard Boyle share the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics with George E. Smith for "the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit—the CCD sensor, which has become an electronic eye in almost all areas of photography".
William B. Snow made major contributions to acoustics from 1923–1940. Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), received its Gold Medal Award in 1968.
William Shockley, Stanford University.jpg William Shockley With John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, the three scientists invented the point-contact transistor in 1947 and were jointly awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Yann LeCun Recognized as a founding father of convolutional neural networks and for work on optical character recognition and computer vision. He received the Turing Award in 2018 with Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio for their work in deep learning.
Yoshua Bengio He received the Turing Award in 2018 with Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun for their work in deep learning.
Edward Lawry Norton.jpg Edward Lawry Norton Famous for the Norton's theorem.
Maurice Karnaugh Famous for the Karnaugh map.
Warren P. Mason Founder of distributed-element circuits, inventor of the GT quartz crystal, and many discoveries and inventions in ultrasonics and acoustics.
Sharon Haynie Developed DuPont's bio-3G product line and adhesives to close wounds.

Programs

On May 20, 2014, Bell Labs announced the Bell Labs Prize, a competition for innovators to offer proposals in information and communication technologies, with cash awards of up to $100,000 for the grand prize. [85]

Bell Labs Technology Showcase

The Murray Hill campus features a 3000 square foot exhibit, the Bell Labs Technology Showcase, showcasing the technological discoveries and developments at Bell Labs. The exhibit is located just off the main lobby and is open to the public. [86]

See also

Related Research Articles

Walter Houser Brattain American physicist

Walter Houser Brattain was an American physicist at Bell Labs who, along with fellow scientists John Bardeen and William Shockley, invented the point-contact transistor in December 1947. They shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention. Brattain devoted much of his life to research on surface states.

The Information Age is a historic period in the 21st century characterized by the rapid shift from traditional industry that the Industrial Revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on information technology. The onset of the Information Age can be associated with the invention of the transistor, particularly the MOSFET, which revolutionized modern technology and became the fundamental building block of digital electronics in the information age.

Herbert Kroemer Nobel laureate in physics

Herbert Kroemer, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1952 from the University of Göttingen, Germany, with a dissertation on hot electron effects in the then-new transistor, setting the stage for a career in research on the physics of semiconductor devices. In 2000, Kroemer, along with Zhores I. Alferov, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics "for developing semiconductor heterostructures used in high-speed- and opto-electronics". The other co-recipient of the Nobel Prize was Jack Kilby for his invention and development of integrated circuits and micro-chips.

Nick Holonyak American inventor

Nick Holonyak Jr. is an American engineer and educator. He is noted particularly for his 1962 invention of a light-emitting diode (LED) that emitted visible red light instead of infrared light; Holonyak was then working at General Electric's research laboratory in Syracuse, New York. He is a John Bardeen Endowed Chair Emeritus in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he has been since leaving General Electric in 1963.

Arthur Ashkin American physicist, Nobel laureate

Arthur Ashkin is an American scientist and Nobel laureate who worked at Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies. Ashkin has been considered by many as the father of optical tweezers, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 at age 96, becoming the oldest Nobel Laureate. He resides in Rumson, New Jersey.

Alfred Yi Cho is the Adjunct Vice President of Semiconductor Research at Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs. He is known as the "father of molecular beam epitaxy"; a technique he developed at that facility in the late 1960s. He is also the co-inventor, with Federico Capasso of quantum cascade lasers at Bell Labs in 1994.

AT&T Labs Research & development division of AT&T

AT&T Labs is the research & development division of AT&T. It employs some 1800 people in various locations, including: Bedminster NJ; Middletown, NJ; Manhattan, NY; Warrenville, IL ; Austin, TX; Atlanta, GA; San Francisco, CA; San Ramon, CA; and Redmond, WA. AT&T Labs – Research, the 450-person research division of AT&T Labs, is based in the Bedminster, Middletown, San Francisco, and Manhattan locations.

Federico Capasso, a prominent applied physicist, was one of the inventors of the quantum cascade laser during his work at Bell Laboratories. He is currently on the faculty of Harvard University. He has co-authored over 450 papers, edited four volumes, and holds over 60 US patents.

Fiber-optic communication Method of transmitting information from one place to another by sending pulses of light through an optical fiber

Fiber-optic communication is a method of transmitting information from one place to another by sending pulses of light through an optical fiber. The light forms an electromagnetic carrier wave that is modulated to carry information. Fiber is preferred over electrical cabling when high bandwidth, long distance, or immunity to electromagnetic interference are required.

Alcatel-Lucent French global telecommunications equipment company (2006-2016)

Alcatel-Lucent S.A. was a French global telecommunications equipment company, headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt, France. It was formed in 2006 by the merger of France-based Alcatel and U.S.-based Lucent, the latter being the successor of AT&T's Western Electric.

Dmitri Z. Garbuzov Russian physicist

Dmitri Z. Garbuzov was one of the pioneers and inventors of room temperature continuous-wave-operating diode lasers and high-power diode lasers.

Western Electric's Reading Works in Berks County, Pennsylvania was a manufacturer of integrated circuit and optoelectronic equipment for communication and computing. The work force grew to nearly 5,000 by 1985 making the Reading, Pennsylvania, facility one of Berks County's largest industrial employers. As a part of Western Electric and the Bell System, it changed its masthead many times during its life.

A transistor is a semiconductor device with at least three terminals for connection to an electric circuit. The vacuum-tube triode, also called a (thermionic) valve, was the transistor's precursor, introduced in 1907. The principle of a field-effect transistor was proposed by Julius Edgar Lilienfeld in 1925.

Ian Munro Ross FREng was an early pioneer in transistors, and for 12 years President of Bell Labs.

Bell Labs Holmdel Complex United States historic place

The Bell Labs Holmdel Complex, in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, United States, functioned for forty-four years as a research and development facility, initially for the Bell System and later Bell Labs. The centerpiece of the campus is an Eero Saarinen designed structure that served as the home to over 6,000 engineers and researchers. This modernist building, dubbed "The Biggest Mirror Ever" by Architectural Forum, due to its mirror box exterior, was the site of at least one Nobel Prize discovery, the laser cooling work of Steven Chu. The building has undergone renovations into a multi-purpose living and working space, dubbed Bell Works by its redevelopers. Since 2013 it has been operated by Somerset Development, who redeveloped the building into a mixed-use office for high-tech startup companies. The complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

Rod C. Alferness was president of The Optical Society in 2008.

John N. Shive American physicist

John Northrup Shive was an American physicist and inventor. He made notable contributions in electronic engineering and solid-state physics during the early days of transistor development at Bell Laboratories. In particular, he produced experimental evidence that holes could diffuse through bulk germanium, and not just along the surface as previously thought. This paved the way from Bardeen and Brattain's point-contact transistor to Shockley's more-robust junction transistor. Shive is best known for inventing the phototransistor in 1948, and for the Shive wave machine in 1959.

Dawon Kahng South Korean engineer

Dawon Kahng was a Korean-American electrical engineer and inventor, known for his work in solid-state electronics. He is best known for inventing the MOSFET, also known as the MOS transistor, with Mohamed Atalla in 1959. Atalla and Kahng developed both the PMOS and NMOS processes for MOSFET semiconductor device fabrication. The MOSFET is the most widely used type of transistor, and the basic element in most modern electronic equipment.

Mohamed Atalla mechanical engineer

Mohamed Atalla was an Egyptian-American engineer, physical chemist, cryptographer, inventor, and entrepreneur. His pioneering work in semiconductor technology laid the foundations for modern electronics. Most importantly, his invention of the MOSFET in 1959, along with his earlier surface passivation and thermal oxidation processes, revolutionized the electronics industry. He is also known as the founder of the data security company Atalla Corporation, which he founded after he invented the first hardware security module (HSM) in 1972. He received the Stuart Ballantine Medal and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his important contributions to semiconductor technology as well as data security.

Marcus Weldon British scientist

Marcus Weldon is the 13th President of Bell Labs. He also serves as the Corporate Chief Technology Officer of Nokia.

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Further reading

Coordinates: 40°41′00″N74°24′03″W / 40.683404°N 74.400744°W / 40.683404; -74.400744