For buildings named Bell Telephone Laboratories, see Bell Laboratories Building (Manhattan).
|Industry||Telecommunication, Information technology, Material science|
|Founded||1925; 95 years ago (1925) (as Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.)|
|Headquarters||Murray Hill, New Jersey, U.S.|
|Key people||Marcus Weldon|
Nokia Bell Labs (formerly named Bell Labs Innovations (1996–2007), AT&T Bell Laboratories (1984–1996) and Bell Telephone Laboratories (1925–1984)) is an American industrial research and scientific development company owned by Finnish company Nokia.
Bell Labs has its origins in the complex past of the Bell System.
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.
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 B, C, C++, and S.
Nine Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.
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) 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.
The laboratory was variously known as the Volta Bureau, the Bell Carriage House, the Bell Laboratory and the Volta Laboratory.
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": 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.
In 1893, Bell constructed a new building close by at 1537 35th Street N.W., specifically to house the lab.
This building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972.
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.
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.
Formal organization and location changes
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.
In 1925, Bell Laboratories was developed to better consolidate the research activities of the Bell System.
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.
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).
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.
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, but several large tenants had announced plans to move in through 2016 and 2017.
Discoveries and developments
|Ali Javan||Invented the gas laser in 1960.|
|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.|
|Arthur Hebard||Noted for leading the discovery of superconductivity in Buckminsterfullerene in 1991.|
|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 (CELP) speech encoding, the basis for all speech communication codecs in mobile and Internet voice communications.|
|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||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.|
|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. 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. Turing showed Shannon his 1936 paper that defined what is now known as the "Universal Turing machine"; this impressed Shannon, as many of its ideas complemented his own.|
|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 Tsui||Along with Robert Laughlin and Horst Störmer discovered new form of quantum fluid.|
|David A. B. Miller|
|Dawon Kahng||Invented the MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor) with Mohamed M. Atalla in 1959. It revolutionized the electronics industry, and is the most widely used semiconductor device in the world.|
|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||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.|
|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".|
|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.|
|Horst Ludwig Störmer||Along with Robert Laughlin and Daniel Tsui discovered new form of quantum fluid.|
|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||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.|
|Dr. John E. Abate||AT&T Fellow (1996) and Bell Telephone Labs Fellow (1990), awarded for: "Substantial and fundamental contributions, nationally and internationally, in the area of digital synchronization planning for public and private networks." He was a Distinguished MTS and Manager at AT&T's BTL during its golden age of innovation. His scientific contributions are cited in numerous articles on communications and astronautics systems. He was responsible for AT&T's network synchronization, digital network design and architecture, network planning and modeling of customer private networks, synchronization industry interface standards, and analysis of video and speech networks. In 1983, he founded the ANSI Standards Working Group responsible for developing synchronization standards for digital telecommunication networks within the United States. From 1983 to 1986, he served as its Chairman. From 1986 to 1989, he served as a member of the Panel for Basic Standards, Board on Assessment of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (formerly the National Bureau of Standards). He was cited in Who's Who in America, and in Who's Who in Science and Engineering. In 1992, he was awarded the NJIT Alumni Honor Roll Award.|
|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".|
|John M. Chambers||Developed the statistical programming language S which is the forerunner to R.|
|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.|
|Jon Hall||Executive Director of Linux International,|
|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. With Joseph Henry Condon he designed and built Belle, the first chess machine to earn a master rating. 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.|
|Mohamed M. Atalla||Developed the silicon surface passivation process in 1957, 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. This led to a breakthrough in semiconductor technology, and revolutionized the electronics industry.|
|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||Known for tackling mathematical problems involving randomness and randomization, such as coin flipping and shuffling playing cards.|
|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||Along with Horst Störmer and Daniel Tsui discovered new form of quantum fluid.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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||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).|
|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.|
|Steven Cundiff||Was instrumental in the development of the first frequency comb that led to one half of the 2005 Nobel prize. Also made significant contributions to the ultrafast dynamics of semiconductor nanostructures, including the 2014 discovery of the dropleton quasi-particle.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Walter Houser Brattain||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.|
|Willard Boyle||Shares 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||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||Received the Turing Award in 2018 with Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun for their work in deep learning.|
|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.|
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.
Bell Labs Technology Showcase
The Murray Hill campus features a 3,000-square-foot (280 m) 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.
- Bell Labs Holmdel Complex
- Bell Labs Technical Journal—Published scientific journal of Bell Laboratories (1996–present)
- Bell System Technical Journal—Published scientific journal of Bell Laboratories (1922–1983)
- Bell Labs Record
- Industrial laboratory
- George Stibitz—Bell Laboratories engineer—"father of the modern digital computer"
- History of mobile phones—Bell Laboratories conception and development of cellular phones
- High speed photography & Wollensak—Fastax high speed (rotating prism) cameras developed by Bell Labs
- Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
- Simplified Message Desk Interface
- Sound film—Westrex sound system for cinema films developed by Bell Labs
- TWX Magazine—A short-lived trade periodical published by Bell Laboratories (1944–1952)
- Walter A. Shewhart—Bell Laboratories engineer—"father of statistical quality control"
- "Worse is Better"—A software design philosophy also called "The New Jersey Style" under which UNIX and C were supposedly developed
- Experiments in Art and Technology—A collaboration between artists and Bell Labs engineers & scientists to create new forms of art.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell Labs.