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Bell Laboratories is the research and development
Research and development
The phrase research and development , according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, refers to "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of...

 subsidiary of the French-owned Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent is a global telecommunications corporation, headquartered in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France. It provides telecommunications solutions to service providers, enterprises, and governments around the world, enabling these customers to deliver voice, data, and video services...

 and previously of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T), half-owned through its Western Electric
Western Electric
Western Electric Company was an American electrical engineering company, the manufacturing arm of AT&T from 1881 to 1995. It was the scene of a number of technological innovations and also some seminal developments in industrial management...

 manufacturing subsidiary.
Bell Laboratories operates its headquarters at Murray Hill, New Jersey
Murray Hill, New Jersey
Murray Hill is an unincorporated area within portions of both Berkeley Heights and New Providence, located in Union County in northern New Jersey, United States....

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and has research and development facilities throughout the world.

Early namesake


The Alexander Graham Bell Laboratory, also variously known as the Volta Bureau, the Bell Carriage House, the Bell Laboratory and the Volta Laboratory, was created in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 by Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell was an eminent scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone....

.

In 1880, the French government
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 awarded Bell the Volta Prize
Volta Prize
The Volta Prize was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801–1802 to honor Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist noted for developing the battery. At that time Alessandro Volta was summoned to Paris to demonstrate his great discovery before the French Academy of Sciences...

 of 50,000 francs (approximately US$10,000 at that time, about $ in current dollars) for the invention of the telephone
Invention of the telephone
The invention of the telephone is the culmination of work done by many individuals, the history of which involves a collection of claims and counterclaims. The development of the modern telephone involved an array of lawsuits founded upon the patent claims of several individuals...

, which he used to found the Volta Laboratory, along with Sumner Tainter
Charles Sumner Tainter
Charles Sumner Tainter was an American scientific instrument maker, engineer and inventor, best known for his collaborations with Alexander Graham Bell, Chichester Bell, Alexander's father-in-law Gardiner Hubbard, and for his significant improvements to Thomas Edison's phonograph, resulting in the...

 and Bell's cousin Chichester Bell
Chichester Bell
Chichester A. Bell was a chemist, cousin to Alexander Graham Bell, and instrumental in developing improved versions of the phonograph.- Life :...

. His research laboratory 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".

The Volta Laboratory and the Volta Bureau were earlier located at Bell's father
Alexander Melville Bell
Alexander Melville Bell was a teacher and researcher of physiological phonetics and was the author of numerous works on orthoepy and elocution....

's house at 1527 35th Street in Washington, D.C., where its carriage house became their headquarters in 1889. In 1893, Bell constructed a new building (close by at 1537 35th St.) specifically to house it. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 in 1972.

Early antecedent


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

Formal organization


In 1925 Western Electric
Western Electric
Western Electric Company was an American electrical engineering company, the manufacturing arm of AT&T from 1881 to 1995. It was the scene of a number of technological innovations and also some seminal developments in industrial management...

 Research Laboratories and part of the engineering department of the American Telephone & Telegraph
American Telephone & Telegraph
AT&T Corp., originally American Telephone and Telegraph Company, is an American telecommunications company that provides voice, video, data, and Internet telecommunications and professional services to businesses, consumers, and government agencies. AT&T is the oldest telecommunications company...

 company (AT&T) were consolidated to form Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., as a separate entity. The first president of research was Frank B. Jewett
Frank B. Jewett
Frank Baldwin Jewett was a physicist and the first president of Bell Labs....

, who stayed there until 1940. The ownership of Bell Laboratories was evenly split between AT&T and the Western Electric Company. Its principal work was to design and support the equipment that Western Electric built for Bell System
Bell System
The Bell System was the American Bell Telephone Company and then, subsequently, AT&T led system which provided telephone services to much of the United States and Canada from 1877 to 1984, at various times as a monopoly. In 1984, the company was broken up into separate companies, by a U.S...

 operating companies, including telephone exchange switch
Telephone exchange
In the field of telecommunications, a telephone exchange or telephone switch is a system of electronic components that connects telephone calls...

es. Support work for the phone companies included the writing and maintaining of the Bell System Practices
Bell System Practices
The Bell System Practices is a multi-volume encyclopedia of technology information developed and formerly maintained by the Bell System's Bell Labs for use by its employees. Everything from accounting and human resources procedures to complete technical breakdowns of every product serviced by the...

 (BSP), a comprehensive series of technical manuals. Bell Labs also carried out consulting work for the Bell Telephone Companies
Bell Telephone Company
The Bell Telephone Company, a common law joint stock company, was organized in Boston, Massachusetts on July 9, 1877 by Alexander Graham Bell's father-in-law Gardiner Greene Hubbard, who also helped organize a sister company — the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company...

, and U.S. government work, including Project Nike
Project Nike
Project Nike was a U.S. Army project, proposed in May 1945 by Bell Laboratories, to develop a line-of-sight anti-aircraft missile system. The project delivered the United States' first operational anti-aircraft missile system, the Nike Ajax, in 1953...

 and the Apollo program. A few workers were assigned to basic research, and this attracted much attention, especially since they produced several Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 winners. Until the 1940s, the company's principal locations were in and around the Bell Labs Building
Bell Laboratories Building (Manhattan)
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 New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, but many of these were moved to New York suburban areas of New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

.

Among the later Bell Laboratories locations in New Jersey were Murray Hill
Murray Hill, New Jersey
Murray Hill is an unincorporated area within portions of both Berkeley Heights and New Providence, located in Union County in northern New Jersey, United States....

, Holmdel, Crawford Hill, the Deal Test Site
Deal Test Site
The Deal Test Site is located in Ocean Township, New Jersey.The Joe Palaia Park was originally started as the Foxburst Farm, a tract which is now the southern portion of the park. It was purchased by Western Electric, , in 1919. The site was later expanded with an additional purchase by AT&T in...

, Freehold
Freehold Borough, New Jersey
Freehold is a borough in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 12,052. It is the county seat of Monmouth County....

, Lincroft
Lincroft, New Jersey
Lincroft is a part of Middletown Township, in Monmouth County, New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the Lincroft census-designated place had a population was 6,135.-Geography:Lincroft is located at ....

, Long Branch
Long Branch, New Jersey
Long Branch is a city in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was 30,719.Long Branch was formed on April 11, 1867, as the Long Branch Commission, from portions of Ocean Township...

, Middletown, Neptune
Neptune Township, New Jersey
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 27,690 people, 10,907 households, and 6,805 families residing in the township. The population density was 3,366.8 people per square mile . There were 12,217 housing units at an average density of 1,485.4 per square mile...

, Princeton
Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton is a community located in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. It is best known as the location of Princeton University, which has been sited in the community since 1756...

, Piscataway, Red Bank
Red Bank, New Jersey
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 11,844 people, 5,201 households, and 2,501 families residing in the borough. The population density was 6,639.1 people per square mile . There were 5,450 housing units at an average density of 3,055.0 per square mile...

, and Whippany
Whippany, New Jersey
Whippany is an unincorporated area located within Hanover Township in Morris County, New Jersey. Whippany's name is derived from the Whippanong Native Americans, a tribe that once inhabited the area...

. Of these, Murray Hill, Crawford Hill and Whippany remain in existence (the Piscataway and Red Bank locations were transferred to and are now operated by Telcordia Technologies
Telcordia Technologies
Telcordia Technologies, formerly Bell Communications Research, Inc. or Bellcore, is a telecommunications research and development company based in the United States created as part of the 1982 Modification of Final Judgment that broke up American Telephone & Telegraph...

). The largest grouping of people in the company was in Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, at Naperville
Naperville, Illinois
Naperville is a city in DuPage and Will Counties in Illinois in the United States, voted the second best place to live in the United States by Money Magazine in 2006. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 141,853. It is the fifth largest city in the state, behind Chicago,...

-Lisle
Lisle, Illinois
Lisle is a village in DuPage County, Illinois, United States. The population was 22,930 at the 2011 census, and estimated to be 23,135 as of 2008. It is part of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor...

, in the Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 area, which had the largest concentration of employees (about 11,000) prior to 2001. There also were groups of employees in Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Columbus is the capital of and the largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio. The broader metropolitan area encompasses several counties and is the third largest in Ohio behind those of Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus is the third largest city in the American Midwest, and the fifteenth largest city...

; North Andover, Massachusetts
North Andover, Massachusetts
North Andover is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. North Andover is the home of Merrimack College, a private, Catholic four-year institution ....

; Allentown, Pennsylvania
Allentown, Pennsylvania
Allentown is a city located in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is Pennsylvania's third most populous city, after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and the 215th largest city in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 118,032 and is currently...

; Reading, Pennsylvania
Reading, Pennsylvania
Reading is a city in southeastern Pennsylvania, USA, and seat of Berks County. Reading is the principal city of the Greater Reading Area and had a population of 88,082 as of the 2010 census, making it the fifth most populated city in the state after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown and Erie,...

; and Breinigsville, Pennsylvania; Burlington, North Carolina (1950s–1970s, moved to Greensboro 1980s) and Westminster, Colorado
Westminster, Colorado
Westminster is a Home Rule Municipality in Adams and Jefferson counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. Westminster is a northwest suburb of Denver. The Westminster Municipal Center is located north-northwest of the Colorado State Capitol. The United States Census Bureau that the city population...

. Since 2001, many of the former locations have been scaled down, or shut down entirely.

Discoveries and developments


At its peak, Bell Laboratories was the premier facility of its type, developing a wide range of revolutionary technologies, including radio astronomy
Radio astronomy
Radio astronomy is a subfield of astronomy that studies celestial objects at radio frequencies. The initial detection of radio waves from an astronomical object was made in the 1930s, when Karl Jansky observed radiation coming from the Milky Way. Subsequent observations have identified a number of...

, the transistor
Transistor
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and power. It is composed of a semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current...

, the laser
Laser
A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of photons. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation...

, information theory
Information theory
Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and...

, the UNIX
Unix
Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

 operating system
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

, the C programming language
C (programming language)
C is a general-purpose computer programming language developed between 1969 and 1973 by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories for use with the Unix operating system....

 and the C++ programming language
C++
C++ is a statically typed, free-form, multi-paradigm, compiled, general-purpose programming language. It is regarded as an intermediate-level language, as it comprises a combination of both high-level and low-level language features. It was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup starting in 1979 at Bell...

. Seven Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

s have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.
  • 1937: Clinton J. Davisson
    Clinton Davisson
    Clinton Joseph Davisson , was an American physicist who won the 1937 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of electron diffraction. Davisson shared the Nobel Prize with George Paget Thomson, who independently discovered electron diffraction at about the same time as Davisson.-Early...

     shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for demonstrating the wave nature of matter.
  • 1956: John Bardeen
    John Bardeen
    John Bardeen was an American physicist and electrical engineer, the only person to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics twice: first in 1956 with William Shockley and Walter Brattain for the invention of the transistor; and again in 1972 with Leon Neil Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer for a...

    , Walter H. Brattain, and William Shockley
    William Shockley
    William Bradford Shockley Jr. was an American physicist and inventor. Along with John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain, Shockley co-invented the transistor, for which all three were awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics.Shockley's attempts to commercialize a new transistor design in the 1950s...

     received the Nobel Prize in Physics for inventing the first transistor
    Transistor
    A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and power. It is composed of a semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current...

    s.
  • 1977: Philip W. Anderson shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for developing an improved understanding of the electronic structure of glass and magnetic materials.
  • 1978: Arno A. Penzias and Robert W. Wilson
    Robert Woodrow Wilson
    For the American President, see Woodrow Wilson.Robert Woodrow Wilson is an American astronomer, 1978 Nobel laureate in physics, who with Arno Allan Penzias discovered in 1964 the cosmic microwave background radiation...

     shared the Nobel Prize in Physics. Penzias and Wilson were cited for their discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation
    Cosmic microwave background radiation
    In cosmology, cosmic microwave background radiation is thermal radiation filling the observable universe almost uniformly....

    , a nearly uniform glow that fills the Universe
    Universe
    The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

     in the microwave band of the radio spectrum.
  • 1997: Steven Chu
    Steven Chu
    Steven Chu is an American physicist and the 12th United States Secretary of Energy. Chu is known for his research at Bell Labs 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...

     shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for developing methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.
  • 1998: Horst Stormer, Robert Laughlin, and Daniel Tsui, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery and explanation of the fractional quantum Hall effect
    Fractional quantum Hall effect
    The fractional quantum Hall effect is a physical phenomenon in which the Hall conductance of 2D electrons shows precisely quantised plateaus at fractional values of e^2/h. It is a property of a collective state in which electrons bind magnetic flux lines to make new quasiparticles, and excitations...

    .
  • 2009: Willard S. Boyle, George E. Smith
    George E. Smith
    George Elwood Smith is an American scientist, applied physicist, and co-inventor of the charge-coupled device. He was awarded a one-quarter share in the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics for "the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit—the CCD sensor".Smith was born in White Plains, New York...

     shared the Nobel Prize in Physics together with Charles K. Kao
    Charles K. Kao
    The Honorable Sir Charles Kuen Kao, GBM, KBE, FRS, FREng is a pioneer in the development and use of fiber optics in telecommunications...

    . Boyle and Smith were cited for the invention of charge-coupled device
    Charge-coupled device
    A charge-coupled device is a device for the movement of electrical charge, usually from within the device to an area where the charge can be manipulated, for example conversion into a digital value. This is achieved by "shifting" the signals between stages within the device one at a time...

     (CCD) semiconductor imaging sensors.

1920s


During its first year of operation, facsimile (fax
Fax
Fax , sometimes called telecopying, is the telephonic transmission of scanned printed material , normally to a telephone number connected to a printer or other output device...

) transmission, invented elsewhere, was first demonstrated publicly by the Bell Laboratories. In 1926, the laboratories invented an early example synchronous-sound motion picture
Sound film
A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film. The first known public exhibition of projected sound films took place in Paris in 1900, but decades would pass before sound motion pictures were made commercially...

 system, in competition with Fox Movietone
Movietone sound system
The Movietone sound system is a sound-on-film method of recording sound for motion pictures that guarantees synchronization between sound and picture. It achieves this by recording the sound as a variable-density optical track on the same strip of film that records the pictures...

 and DeForest Phonofilm
Phonofilm
In 1919, Lee De Forest, inventor of the audion tube, filed his first patent on a sound-on-film process, DeForest Phonofilm, which recorded sound directly onto film as parallel lines. These parallel lines photographically recorded electrical waveforms from a microphone, which were translated back...

.

In 1924, Bell Labs physicist Dr. Walter A. Shewhart
Walter A. Shewhart
Walter Andrew Shewhart March 18, 1891 - March 11, 1967) was an American physicist, engineer and statistician, sometimes known as the father of statistical quality control.W...

 proposed the control chart
Control chart
Control charts, also known as Shewhart charts or process-behaviour charts, in statistical process control are tools used to determine whether or not a manufacturing or business process is in a state of statistical control.- Overview :...

 as a method to determine when a process was in a state of statistical control. Shewart's methods were the basis for statistical process control
Statistical process control
Statistical process control is the application of statistical methods to the monitoring and control of a process to ensure that it operates at its full potential to produce conforming product. Under SPC, a process behaves predictably to produce as much conforming product as possible with the least...

 (SPC) — the use of statistically-based tools and techniques for the management and improvement of processes. This was the origin of the modern quality movement, including the Six Sigma
Six Sigma
Six Sigma is a business management strategy originally developed by Motorola, USA in 1986. , it is widely used in many sectors of industry.Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing and...

 one.

In 1927, a Bell team headed by Herbert E. Ives
Herbert E. Ives
Herbert Eugene Ives was a scientist and engineer who headed the development of facsimile and television systems at AT&T in the first half of the twentieth century. He was also a critic of the special theory of relativity, and attempted to disprove the theory by means of logical arguments and...

 successfully transmitted long-distance 128-line television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 images of Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

 from Washington to New York. In 1928 the thermal noise in a resistor was first measured by John B. Johnson
John B. Johnson
John Bertrand "Bert" Johnson was a Swedish-born American electrical engineer and physicist...

, and Harry Nyquist
Harry Nyquist
Harry Nyquist was an important contributor to information theory.-Personal life:...

 provided the theoretical analysis. (This is now referred to as "Johnson noise".) During the 1920s, the one-time pad
One-time pad
In cryptography, the one-time pad is a type of encryption, which has been proven to be impossible to crack if used correctly. Each bit or character from the plaintext is encrypted by a modular addition with a bit or character from a secret random key of the same length as the plaintext, resulting...

 cipher
Cipher
In cryptography, a cipher is an algorithm for performing encryption or decryption — a series of well-defined steps that can be followed as a procedure. An alternative, less common term is encipherment. In non-technical usage, a “cipher” is the same thing as a “code”; however, the concepts...

 was invented by Gilbert Vernam
Gilbert Vernam
Gilbert Sandford Vernam was an AT&T Bell Labs engineer who, in 1917, invented the stream cipher and later co-invented the one-time pad cipher. Vernam proposed a teleprinter cipher in which a previously-prepared key, kept on paper tape, is combined character by character with the plaintext message...

 and Joseph Mauborgne
Joseph Mauborgne
In the history of cryptography, Joseph Oswald Mauborgne co-invented the one-time pad with Gilbert Vernam of Bell Labs. In 1914 he published the first recorded solution of the Playfair cipher...

 at the laboratories. Bell Labs' Claude Shannon later proved that it is unbreakable.

1930s


In 1931, a foundation for radio astronomy
Radio astronomy
Radio astronomy is a subfield of astronomy that studies celestial objects at radio frequencies. The initial detection of radio waves from an astronomical object was made in the 1930s, when Karl Jansky observed radiation coming from the Milky Way. Subsequent observations have identified a number of...

 was laid by Karl Jansky during his work investigating the origins of static on long-distance shortwave communications. He discovered that radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 waves were being emitted from the center of the galaxy
Galaxy
A galaxy is a massive, gravitationally bound system that consists of stars and stellar remnants, an interstellar medium of gas and dust, and an important but poorly understood component tentatively dubbed dark matter. The word galaxy is derived from the Greek galaxias , literally "milky", a...

. In 1931 and 1932, experimental high fidelity, long playing, and even stereophonic recordings were made by the labs of the Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra is a symphony orchestra based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. One of the "Big Five" American orchestras, it was founded in 1900...

, conducted by Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Anthony Stokowski was a British-born, naturalised American orchestral conductor, well known for his free-hand performing style that spurned the traditional baton and for obtaining a characteristically sumptuous sound from many of the great orchestras he conducted.In America, Stokowski...

. In 1933, stereo signals
Stereophonic sound
The term Stereophonic, commonly called stereo, sound refers to any method of sound reproduction in which an attempt is made to create an illusion of directionality and audible perspective...

 were transmitted live from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 In 1937, the vocoder
Vocoder
A vocoder is an analysis/synthesis system, mostly used for speech. In the encoder, the input is passed through a multiband filter, each band is passed through an envelope follower, and the control signals from the envelope followers are communicated to the decoder...

, the first electronic speech synthesizer was invented and demonstrated by Homer Dudley
Homer Dudley
Homer W. Dudley was a pioneering electronic and acoustic engineer who created the first electronic voice synthesizer for Bell Labs in the 1930s and led the development of a method of sending secure voice transmissions during World War Two....

. Bell researcher Clinton Davisson
Clinton Davisson
Clinton Joseph Davisson , was an American physicist who won the 1937 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of electron diffraction. Davisson shared the Nobel Prize with George Paget Thomson, who independently discovered electron diffraction at about the same time as Davisson.-Early...

 shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with George Paget Thomson
George Paget Thomson
Sir George Paget Thomson, FRS was an English physicist and Nobel laureate in physics recognised for his discovery with Clinton Davisson of the wave properties of the electron by electron diffraction.-Biography:...

 for the discovery of electron diffraction
Electron diffraction
Electron diffraction refers to the wave nature of electrons. However, from a technical or practical point of view, it may be regarded as a technique used to study matter by firing electrons at a sample and observing the resulting interference pattern...

, which helped lay the foundation for solid-state electronics.

1940s


In the early 1940s, the photovoltaic cell was developed by Russell Ohl
Russell Ohl
Russell Shoemaker Ohl was an American engineer who is generally recognized for patenting the modern solar cell ....

. In 1943, Bell developed SIGSALY
SIGSALY
In cryptography, SIGSALY was a secure speech system used in World War II for the highest-level Allied communications....

, the first digital scrambled speech transmission system, used by the Allies in World War II. In 1947, the transistor
Transistor
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and power. It is composed of a semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current...

, probably the most important invention developed by Bell Laboratories, was invented by John Bardeen
John Bardeen
John Bardeen was an American physicist and electrical engineer, the only person to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics twice: first in 1956 with William Shockley and Walter Brattain for the invention of the transistor; and again in 1972 with Leon Neil Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer for a...

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

, and William Bradford Shockley (and who subsequently shared the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 in Physics in 1956). In 1947, Richard Hamming
Richard Hamming
Richard Wesley Hamming was an American mathematician whose work had many implications for computer science and telecommunications...

 invented Hamming code
Hamming code
In telecommunication, Hamming codes are a family of linear error-correcting codes that generalize the Hamming-code invented by Richard Hamming in 1950. Hamming codes can detect up to two and correct up to one bit errors. By contrast, the simple parity code cannot correct errors, and can detect only...

s for error detection and correction
Error detection and correction
In information theory and coding theory with applications in computer science and telecommunication, error detection and correction or error control are techniques that enable reliable delivery of digital data over unreliable communication channels...

. For patent reasons, the result was not published until 1950. In 1948, "A Mathematical Theory of Communication
A Mathematical Theory of Communication
"A Mathematical Theory of Communication" is an influential 1948 article by mathematician Claude E. Shannon. As of November 2011, Google Scholar has listed more than 48,000 unique citations of the article and the later-published book version...

", one of the founding works in information theory
Information theory
Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and...

, was published by Claude Shannon in the Bell System Technical Journal
Bell System Technical Journal
The Bell System Technical Journal was the in-house scientific journal of Bell Labs that was published from 1922 to 1983.- Notable papers :...

. It built in part on earlier work in the field by Bell researchers Harry Nyquist
Harry Nyquist
Harry Nyquist was an important contributor to information theory.-Personal life:...

 and Ralph Hartley
Ralph Hartley
Ralph Vinton Lyon Hartley was an electronics researcher. He invented the Hartley oscillator and the Hartley transform, and contributed to the foundations of information theory.-Biography:...

, 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
History of cryptography
The history of cryptography begins thousands of years ago. Until recent decades, it has been the story of what might be called classic cryptography — that is, of methods of encryption that use pen and paper, or perhaps simple mechanical aids...

 with his 1949 paper Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems
Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems
Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems is a paper published in 1949 by Claude Shannon discussing cryptography from the viewpoint of information theory. It is one of the foundational treatments of modern cryptography...

.

Calculators

  • Model I: A Complex Number Calculator, completed January 1940, for doing calculations of complex numbers. See George Stibitz
    George Stibitz
    George Robert Stibitz is internationally recognized as one of the fathers of the modern digital computer...

    .
  • Model II: Relay Calculator or Relay Interpolator, September 1943, for aiming anti-aircraft guns
  • Model III: Ballistic Computer, June 1944, for calculations of ballistic trajectories
  • Model IV: Bell Laboratories Relay Calculator, March 1945, a second Ballistic Computer
  • Model V: Bell Laboratories General Purpose Relay Calculator, of which two were built, July 1946 and February 1947, which were general-purpose programmable computers using electromechanical relays
  • Model VI: November 1950, an enhanced Model V

1950s



In 1952 William Gardner Pfann
William Gardner Pfann
William Gardner Pfann was an inventor and materials scientist with Bell Labs. Pfann is known for his development of zone melting which is essential to the semiconductor industry. As stated in an official history of Bell Labs, "Timely invention of zone refining by W.G.Pfann .....

 revealed the method of zone melting
Zone melting
Zone melting is a group of similar methods of purifying crystals, in which a narrow region of a crystal is molten, and this molten zone is moved along the crystal...

 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 Visual Binary encoding, N-carrier, TD Microwave radio relay, Direct Distance Dialing
Direct distance dialing
Direct distance dialing or direct dial is a telecommunications term for a network-provided service feature in which a call originator may, without operator assistance, call any other user outside the local calling area. DDD requires more digits in the number dialed than are required for calling...

, E-repeaters, Wire spring relay
Wire spring relay
A wire spring relay is a type of relay, primarily manufactured by the Western Electric Company for use by the Bell System in electromechanical telephone exchanges. It was licenced for use around the world, and was commonplace in Japan...

s, and improved switching systems. Maurice Karnaugh, in 1953, developed the Karnaugh map
Karnaugh map
The Karnaugh map , Maurice Karnaugh's 1953 refinement of Edward Veitch's 1952 Veitch diagram, is a method to simplify Boolean algebra expressions...

 as a tool to facilitate management of Boolean algebraic expressions. In 1954, The first modern solar cell
Solar cell
A solar cell is a solid state electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect....

 was invented at Bell Laboratories. As for the spectacular side of the business, in 1956 TAT-1
TAT-1
TAT-1 was the first submarine transatlantic telephone cable system. It was laid between Gallanach Bay, near Oban, Scotland and Clarenville, Newfoundland between 1955 and 1956. It was inaugurated on September 25, 1956, initially carrying 36 telephone channels.-History:The first transatlantic...

, the first transatlantic telephone cable
Transatlantic telephone cable
A transatlantic telecommunications cable is a submarine communications cable running under the Atlantic Ocean. All modern cables use fibre optic technology....

 was laid between Scotland and Newfoundland, in a joint effort by AT&T
AT&T
AT&T Inc. is an American multinational telecommunications corporation headquartered in Whitacre Tower, Dallas, Texas, United States. It is the largest provider of mobile telephony and fixed telephony in the United States, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services...

, Bell Laboratories, and British and Canadian telephone companies. A year later, in 1957, MUSIC
MUSIC-N
MUSIC-N refers to a family of computer music programs and programming languages descended from or influenced by MUSIC, a program written by Max Mathews in 1957 at Bell Labs. MUSIC was the first computer program for generating digital audio waveforms through direct synthesis...

, one of the first computer programs to play electronic music
Electronic music
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology. Examples of electromechanical sound...

, was created by Max Mathews
Max Mathews
Max Vernon Mathews was a pioneer in the world of computer music.-Biography:...

. New greedy algorithm
Greedy algorithm
A greedy algorithm is any algorithm that follows the problem solving heuristic of making the locally optimal choice at each stagewith the hope of finding the global optimum....

s developed by Robert C. Prim
Robert C. Prim
Robert Clay Prim is an American mathematician and computer scientist.In 1941, Prim received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University. Later in 1949, he received his Ph.D. in Mathematics there also...

 and Joseph Kruskal
Joseph Kruskal
Joseph Bernard Kruskal, Jr. was an American mathematician, statistician, computer scientist and psychometrician. He was a student at the University of Chicago and at Princeton University, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1954, nominally under Albert W...

, revolutionized computer network
Computer network
A computer network, often simply referred to as a network, is a collection of hardware components and computers interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information....

 design. In 1958, the laser
Laser
A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of photons. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation...

 was first described, in a technical paper by Arthur Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes
Charles Hard Townes
Charles Hard Townes is an American Nobel Prize-winning physicist and educator. Townes is known for his work on the theory and application of the maser, on which he got the fundamental patent, and other work in quantum electronics connected with both maser and laser devices. He shared the Nobel...

.

1960s


In 1960, Dawon Kahng and Martin Atalla invented the metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET
MOSFET
The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor is a transistor used for amplifying or switching electronic signals. The basic principle of this kind of transistor was first patented by Julius Edgar Lilienfeld in 1925...

); the MOSFET has achieved electronic hegemony and sustains the large-scale integrated circuits (LSIs) underlying today's information society. In 1962, the electret microphone
Electret microphone
An electret microphone is a type of condenser microphone, which eliminates the need for a polarizing power supply by using a permanently charged material....

 was invented by Gerhard M. Sessler
Gerhard Sessler
Gerhard M. Sessler is a German inventor and scientist. Sessler invented together with James E. West the foil electret microphone at Bell Laboratories 1962 and the silicon microphone in 1983.He received his Ph.D. from the University of Göttingen in 1959...

 and James Edward Maceo West
James Edward Maceo West
James Edward Maceo West is an American inventor and acoustician. Along with Gerhard Sessler, West developed the foil electret microphone in 1962...

. In 1964, the Carbon dioxide laser
Carbon dioxide laser
The carbon dioxide laser was one of the earliest gas lasers to be developed , and is still one of the most useful. Carbon dioxide lasers are the highest-power continuous wave lasers that are currently available...

 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. Frank W. Sinden, Edward E. Zajac, and Kenneth C. Knowlton made computer-animated movies during the early to mid 1960s. In 1966, Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing
Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing
Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing is a method of encoding digital data on multiple carrier frequencies. OFDM has developed into a popular scheme for wideband digital communication, whether wireless or over copper wires, used in applications such as digital television and audio...

 (OFDM), a key technology in wireless services, was developed and patented by R. W. Chang. In 1968, Molecular beam epitaxy
Molecular beam epitaxy
Molecular beam epitaxy is one of several methods of depositing single crystals. It was invented in the late 1960s at Bell Telephone Laboratories by J. R. Arthur and Alfred Y. Cho.-Method:...

 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, the UNIX
Unix
Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

 operating system was created by Dennis Ritchie
Dennis Ritchie
Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie , was an American computer scientist who "helped shape the digital era." He created the C programming language and, with long-time colleague Ken Thompson, the UNIX operating system...

 and Ken Thompson. From 1969 to 1971, Aaron Marcus
Aaron Marcus
Aaron Marcus is an American user-interface and information-visualization designer, as well as a computer graphics artist.- Biography :...

, the first graphic designer in the world to work with computer graphics, researched, designed, and programmed a prototype interactive page-layout system for the Picturephone (TM). The Charge-coupled device
Charge-coupled device
A charge-coupled device is a device for the movement of electrical charge, usually from within the device to an area where the charge can be manipulated, for example conversion into a digital value. This is achieved by "shifting" the signals between stages within the device one at a time...

 (CCD) was invented in 1969 by Willard Boyle
Willard Boyle
Willard Sterling Boyle, was a Canadian physicist and co-inventor of the charge-coupled device. On October 6, 2009, it was announced that he would share the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics for "the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit—the CCD sensor".-Life:Born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, he...

 and George E. Smith
George E. Smith
George Elwood Smith is an American scientist, applied physicist, and co-inventor of the charge-coupled device. He was awarded a one-quarter share in the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics for "the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit—the CCD sensor".Smith was born in White Plains, New York...

, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009. In the 1960s, the New York City site
Bell Laboratories Building (Manhattan)
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...

 was sold and became the Westbeth Artists Community
Westbeth Artists Community
Westbeth Artists Housing, located at 463 West Street in the West Village neighborhood of the New York City borough of Manhattan, is the largest such community in the world. This low- to middle-income rental housing project was developed with the assistance of the J.M...

 complex.

1970s


The 1970s and 1980s saw more and more computer-related inventions at the Bell Laboratories as part of the personal computing revolution. In 1970 Dennis Ritchie
Dennis Ritchie
Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie , was an American computer scientist who "helped shape the digital era." He created the C programming language and, with long-time colleague Ken Thompson, the UNIX operating system...

 developed the compiled C programming language
C (programming language)
C is a general-purpose computer programming language developed between 1969 and 1973 by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories for use with the Unix operating system....

 as a replacement for the interpretive B which was then used in rewriting the UNIX
Unix
Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

 operating system (also developed at Bell Laboratories by Ritchie and Ken Thompson
Ken Thompson
Kenneth Lane Thompson , commonly referred to as ken in hacker circles, is an American pioneer of computer science...

). Additionally, the AWK programming language was designed and implemented by Alfred Aho, Peter Weinberger, and Brian Kernighan
Brian Kernighan
Brian Wilson Kernighan is a Canadian computer scientist who worked at Bell Labs alongside Unix creators Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie and contributed to the development of Unix. He is also coauthor of the AWK and AMPL programming languages. The 'K' of K&R C and the 'K' in AWK both stand for...

 of Bell Laboratories.

In 1970, A. Michael Noll
A. Michael Noll
A. Michael Noll is an American engineer, and professor emeritus at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. He was a very early pioneer in digital computer art and 3D animation and tactile communication.- Biography :Noll has a B.S.E.E...

 patented a tactile, force-feedback system, coupled with interactive stereoscopic computer display. In 1971, an improved task priority system for computerized switching system
Telephone exchange
In the field of telecommunications, a telephone exchange or telephone switch is a system of electronic components that connects telephone calls...

s for telephone traffic was invented by Erna Schneider Hoover
Erna Schneider Hoover
Dr. Erna Schneider Hoover is an American mathematician famous for inventing a method for prioritizing processes within stored program control switching systems while working at Bell Laboratories....

, who received one of the first software patent
Software patent
Software patent does not have a universally accepted definition. One definition suggested by the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure is that a software patent is a "patent on any performance of a computer realised by means of a computer program".In 2005, the European Patent Office...

s for it. In 1976, Fiber optics systems were first tested in Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 and in 1980, the first single-chip 32-bit
32-bit
The range of integer values that can be stored in 32 bits is 0 through 4,294,967,295. Hence, a processor with 32-bit memory addresses can directly access 4 GB of byte-addressable memory....

 microprocessor
Microprocessor
A microprocessor incorporates the functions of a computer's central processing unit on a single integrated circuit, or at most a few integrated circuits. It is a multipurpose, programmable device that accepts digital data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory, and...

, 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 the floor space required. The new ESS also came with its own diagnostic software that required 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).

1980s


In 1980, the TDMA
Time division multiple access
Time division multiple access is a channel access method for shared medium networks. It allows several users to share the same frequency channel by dividing the signal into different time slots. The users transmit in rapid succession, one after the other, each using its own time slot. This...

 and CDMA digital cellular telephone technology was patented. In 1982, Fractional quantum Hall effect
Fractional quantum Hall effect
The fractional quantum Hall effect is a physical phenomenon in which the Hall conductance of 2D electrons shows precisely quantised plateaus at fractional values of e^2/h. It is a property of a collective state in which electrons bind magnetic flux lines to make new quasiparticles, and excitations...

 was discovered by Horst Störmer
Horst Ludwig Störmer
Horst Ludwig Störmer is a German physicist who shared the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics with Daniel Tsui and Robert Laughlin. The three shared the prize "for their discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations"...

 and former Bell Laboratories researchers Robert B. Laughlin
Robert B. Laughlin
Robert Betts Laughlin is a professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University. Along with Horst L. Störmer of Columbia University and Daniel C. Tsui of Princeton University, he was awarded a share of the 1998 Nobel Prize in physics for their explanation of the fractional quantum Hall...

 and Daniel C. Tsui
Daniel C. Tsui
Daniel Chee Tsui is a Chinese-born American physicist whose areas of research included electrical properties of thin films and microstructures of semiconductors and solid-state physics...

; they consequently won a Nobel Prize in 1998 for the discovery. In 1983, the C++
C++
C++ is a statically typed, free-form, multi-paradigm, compiled, general-purpose programming language. It is regarded as an intermediate-level language, as it comprises a combination of both high-level and low-level language features. It was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup starting in 1979 at Bell...

 programming language was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup
Bjarne Stroustrup
Bjarne Stroustrup ; born December 30, 1950 in Århus, Denmark) is a Danish computer scientist, most notable for the creation and the development of the widely used C++ programming language...

 as an extension to the original C programming language also developed at Bell Laboratories.

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, the Karmarkar Linear Programming Algorithm
Karmarkar's algorithm
Karmarkar's algorithm is an algorithm introduced by Narendra Karmarkar in 1984 for solving linear programming problems. It was the first reasonably efficient algorithm that solves these problems in polynomial time...

 was developed by mathematician Narendra Karmarkar
Narendra Karmarkar
Narendra K. Karmarkar is an Indian mathematician, renowned for developing Karmarkar's algorithm. He is listed as an ISI highly cited researcher.- Biography :...

. Also in 1984, a divestiture agreement
Modification of Final Judgment
In United States telecommunication law, Modification of Final Judgment is the August 1982 agreement approved by the court settling United States v. AT&T, a landmark antitrust suit, originally filed on January, 14, 1949 and modifying the previous Final Judgment of January 24, 1956...

 signed in 1982 with the American Federal government forced the break-up of AT&T: Bellcore (now Telcordia Technologies
Telcordia Technologies
Telcordia Technologies, formerly Bell Communications Research, Inc. or Bellcore, is a telecommunications research and development company based in the United States created as part of the 1982 Modification of Final Judgment that broke up American Telephone & Telegraph...

) was split off from Bell Laboratories to provide the same R&D functions for the newly created local exchange carrier
Local exchange carrier
Local Exchange Carrier is a regulatory term in telecommunications for the local telephone company.In the United States, wireline telephone companies are divided into two large categories: long distance and local...

s. AT&T
AT&T
AT&T Inc. is an American multinational telecommunications corporation headquartered in Whitacre Tower, Dallas, Texas, United States. It is the largest provider of mobile telephony and fixed telephony in the United States, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services...

 also was limited to using the Bell trademark only in association with Bell Laboratories. Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., was then renamed AT&T Bell Laboratories, Inc., and became a wholly owned company of the new AT&T Technologies
AT&T Technologies
AT&T Technologies, Inc., was created in 1983 in preparation for the Bell System Divestiture, which became effective as of January 1, 1984. It assumed the corporate charter of Western Electric Co., Inc.-Creation:...

 unit, the former Western Electric
Western Electric
Western Electric Company was an American electrical engineering company, the manufacturing arm of AT&T from 1881 to 1995. It was the scene of a number of technological innovations and also some seminal developments in industrial management...

. The 5ESS Switch
5ESS Switch
The 5ESS Switch is a Class 5 telephone electronic switching system sold by Alcatel-Lucent. This digital central office telephone circuit switching system is used by many telecommunications service providers.-History:...

 was developed during this transition. In 1985, laser cooling
Laser cooling
Laser cooling refers to the number of techniques in which atomic and molecular samples are cooled through the interaction with one or more laser light fields...

 was used to slow and manipulate atoms by Steven Chu
Steven Chu
Steven Chu is an American physicist and the 12th United States Secretary of Energy. Chu is known for his research at Bell Labs 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...

 and team. In 1985, the AMPL modeling language
AMPL
AMPL, an acronym for "A Mathematical Programming Language", is an algebraic modeling language for describing and solving high-complexity problems for large-scale mathematical computation AMPL, an acronym for "A Mathematical Programming Language", is an algebraic modeling language for describing and...

 was developed by Robert Fourer
Robert Fourer
Robert Fourer is a prominent scientist working in the area of operational research and management science. He is currently a professor at Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences Department of Northwestern University. Robert Fourer is recognized as being the designer of the popular modeling...

, David M. Gay and Brian Kernighan at Bell Laboratories. Also in 1985, Bell Laboratories was awarded the National Medal of Technology
National Medal of Technology
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is an honor granted by the President of the United States to American inventors and innovators who have made significant contributions to the development of new and important technology...

 "For contribution over decades to modern communication systems". During the 1980s, the Plan 9 operating system
Plan 9 from Bell Labs
Plan 9 from Bell Labs is a distributed operating system. It was developed primarily for research purposes as the successor to Unix by the Computing Sciences Research Center at Bell Labs between the mid-1980s and 2002...

 was developed as a replacement for Unix
Unix
Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

 which was also developed at Bell Laboratories in 1969. Development of the Radiodrum
Radiodrum
The Radiodrum is a musical instrument played in three dimensional space using two drumsticks. It was developed at Bell Labs in the 1980s, originally to be a three dimensional substitute for the computer mouse. Currently it is used as a musical instrument similar to a MIDI controller in the sense...

, a three dimensional electronic instrument. In 1988, TAT-8
TAT-8
TAT-8 was the 8th transatlantic telecommunications cable,initially carrying 40,000 telephone circuits between USA, England and France. It was constructed in 1988 by a consortium of companies led by AT&T, France Telecom, and British Telecom...

 became the first fiber optic transatlantic cable.

1990s


In 1990, WaveLAN
WaveLAN
WaveLAN is a brand that describes two completely different families of wireless network solutions:* Pre-IEEE 802.11 WaveLAN, also called Classic WaveLAN* IEEE 802.11-compliant WaveLAN, also known as WaveLAN IEEE or ORiNOCO-History:...

, the first wireless
Wireless
Wireless telecommunications is the transfer of information between two or more points that are not physically connected. Distances can be short, such as a few meters for television remote control, or as far as thousands or even millions of kilometers for deep-space radio communications...

 local area network
Local area network
A local area network is a computer network that interconnects computers in a limited area such as a home, school, computer laboratory, or office building...

 (WLAN) was developed at Bell Laboratories. Wireless network technology would not become popular until the late 1990s and was first demonstrated in 1995. In 1991, the 56K modem
Modem
A modem is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information. The goal is to produce a signal that can be transmitted easily and decoded to reproduce the original digital data...

 technology was patented by Nuri Dağdeviren and his team. In 1994, the quantum cascade laser
Quantum cascade laser
Quantum cascade lasers are semiconductor lasers that emit in the mid- to far-infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum and were first demonstrated by Jerome Faist, Federico Capasso, Deborah Sivco, Carlo Sirtori, Albert Hutchinson, and Alfred Cho at Bell Laboratories in 1994.Unlike typical...

 was invented by Federico Capasso
Federico Capasso
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...

, Alfred Cho, Jerome Faist and their collaborators and was later greatly improved by the innovations of Claire Gmachl. Also in 1994, Peter Shor
Peter Shor
Peter Williston Shor is an American professor of applied mathematics at MIT, most famous for his work on quantum computation, in particular for devising Shor's algorithm, a quantum algorithm for factoring exponentially faster than the best currently-known algorithm running on a classical...

 devised his quantum factorization algorithm. In 1996, SCALPEL electron lithography
Lithography
Lithography is a method for printing using a stone or a metal plate with a completely smooth surface...

, which prints features atoms wide on microchips, was invented by Lloyd Harriott and his team. The Inferno operating system
Inferno (operating system)
Inferno is a distributed operating system started at Bell Labs, but is now developed and maintained by Vita Nuova Holdings as free software. Inferno was based on the experience gained with Plan 9 from Bell Labs, and the further research of Bell Labs into operating systems, languages, on-the-fly...

, an update of Plan 9, was created by Dennis Ritchie with others, using the new concurrent Limbo programming language
Limbo programming language
Limbo is a programming language for writing distributed systems and is the language used to write applications for the Inferno operating system...

. A high performance database engine (Dali) was developed which became DataBlitz in its product form.

AT&T spun off Bell Laboratories, along with most of its equipment-manufacturing business, into a new company named Lucent Technologies
Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent is a global telecommunications corporation, headquartered in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France. It provides telecommunications solutions to service providers, enterprises, and governments around the world, enabling these customers to deliver voice, data, and video services...

. AT&T retained a smaller number of researchers, who made up the staff of the newly-created AT&T Labs
AT&T Labs
AT&T Labs, Inc. is the research & development division of AT&T, where scientists and engineers work to understand and advance innovative technologies relevant to networking, communications, and information. Over 1800 employees work in six locations: Florham Park, NJ; Middletown, NJ; Austin, TX;...

. In 1997, the smallest practical transistor (60 nanometers, 182 atoms wide) was built. In 1998, the first optical router
Optical IP Switching
Optical IP Switching , is a novel method of creating transparent optical connections between network nodes using a flow-based approach.An IP flow is a collection of IP packets going from the same source to the same destination: the exchange of IP packets is the mechanism that allows the transport...

 was invented .

2000s


2000 was an active year for the Laboratories, in which DNA machine
DNA machine
A DNA machine is a molecular machine constructed from DNA. Research into DNA machines was pioneered in the late 1980s by Nadrian Seeman and co-workers from New York University...

 prototypes were developed; progressive geometry compression algorithm made widespread 3-D communication practical; the first electrically powered organic laser
Dye laser
A dye laser is a laser which uses an organic dye as the lasing medium, usually as a liquid solution. Compared to gases and most solid state lasing media, a dye can usually be used for a much wider range of wavelengths. The wide bandwidth makes them particularly suitable for tunable lasers and...

 invented; a large-scale map of cosmic dark matter
Dark matter
In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is matter that neither emits nor scatters light or other electromagnetic radiation, and so cannot be directly detected via optical or radio astronomy...

 was compiled, and the F-15 (material), an organic material that makes plastic transistors possible, was invented.

In 2002, physicist
Physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

 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
Murray Hill, New Jersey
Murray Hill is an unincorporated area within portions of both Berkeley Heights and New Providence, located in Union County in northern New Jersey, United States....

.

In 2005, Dr. Jeong Kim
Jeong H. Kim
Dr. Jeong-Hoon Kim is a Korean-American electrical engineer and administrator who, since 2005, has served as president of Bell Labs.Jeong Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea. He came to the U.S. from Korea with his father and stepmother at the age of 14. He began school in Anne Arundel County,...

, 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
Alcatel
Alcatel Mobile Phones is a brand of mobile handsets. It was established in 2004 as a joint venture between Alcatel-Lucent of France and TCL Communication of China....

. On December 1, 2006, the merged company, Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent is a global telecommunications corporation, headquartered in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France. It provides telecommunications solutions to service providers, enterprises, and governments around the world, enabling these customers to deliver voice, data, and video services...

, began operations. This deal raised concerns in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, 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 basic research, according to a report by the scientific journal Nature.

On August 28, 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.

See also

  • Alcatel-Lucent
    Alcatel-Lucent
    Alcatel-Lucent is a global telecommunications corporation, headquartered in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France. It provides telecommunications solutions to service providers, enterprises, and governments around the world, enabling these customers to deliver voice, data, and video services...

    —Parent company of Bell Laboratories
  • Bell System Technical Journal
    Bell System Technical Journal
    The Bell System Technical Journal was the in-house scientific journal of Bell Labs that was published from 1922 to 1983.- Notable papers :...

    —Published scientific journal of Bell Laboratories (1922–1983)
  • Bell Labs Technical Journal
    Bell Labs Technical Journal
    The Bell Labs Technical Journal is the in-house scientific journal for scientists of Bell Labs/Alcatel-Lucent. It is published quarterly by John Wiley & Sons. The editor is Alice E...

    —Published scientific journal of Bell Laboratories (1996–present)
  • Bell Labs Holmdel Complex
    Bell Labs Holmdel Complex
    The Bell Labs Holmdel Complex functioned for forty-four years as a research laboratory in basic physics research and was the home of several Nobel Prize winners. The centerpiece of the campus is an Eero Saarinen designed structure that served as the home to over 6,000 researchers...

  • History of mobile phones
    History of mobile phones
    The history of mobile phones charts the development of devices which connect wirelessly to the public switched telephone network. The transmission of speech by radio has a long and varied history going back to Reginald Fessenden's invention and shore-to-ship demonstration of radio telephony,...

    —Bell Laboratories conception and development of cellular phones
  • High speed photography
    High speed photography
    High speed photography is the science of taking pictures of very fast phenomena. In 1948, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers defined high-speed photography as any set of photographs captured by a camera capable of 128 frames per second or greater, and of at least three...

     & Wollensak
    Wollensak
    Wollensak was an American manufacturer of audio-visual products. At the height of their popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, many brands of movie cameras came with a Wollensak Velostigmat lens. Wollensak reel-to-reel tape recorders were prized for their robust construction and value.-History:The...

    Fastax high speed (rotating prism) cameras developed by Bell Labs
  • Arun Netravali
    Arun Netravali
    Arun N. Netravali is an Indian-American engineer who is a pioneer of digital technology including HDTV. He conducted seminal research in digital compression, signal processing and other fields. Netravali has been President of Bell Laboratories and Chief Scientist for Lucent Technologies.-Early...

    —Bell Laboratories engineer—former president of Bell Laboratories
  • Sound film
    Sound film
    A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film. The first known public exhibition of projected sound films took place in Paris in 1900, but decades would pass before sound motion pictures were made commercially...

    Westrex sound system for cinema films developed by Bell Labs
  • Walter A. Shewhart
    Walter A. Shewhart
    Walter Andrew Shewhart March 18, 1891 - March 11, 1967) was an American physicist, engineer and statistician, sometimes known as the father of statistical quality control.W...

    —Bell Laboratories engineer—"father of statistical quality control"
  • George Stibitz
    George Stibitz
    George Robert Stibitz is internationally recognized as one of the fathers of the modern digital computer...

    —Bell Laboratories engineer—"father of the modern digital computer"
  • "Worse is Better
    Worse is better
    Worse is better, also called the New Jersey style, was conceived by Richard P. Gabriel to describe the dynamics of software acceptance, but it has broader application. The idea is that quality does not necessarily increase with functionality. There is a point where less functionality is a...

    "—A software design philosophy also called "The New Jersey Style" under which UNIX and C were supposedly developed

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