Bell Labs

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Nokia Bell Labs
IndustryTelecommunication, information technology, material science
FoundedJanuary 1925; 97 years ago (1925-01) (as Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.)
HeadquartersMurray Hill, New Jersey, U.S.
Key people
Peter Vetter, Thierry Klein
ParentAT&T Corporation (1925–1996)
Western Electric (1925–1983)
Lucent (1996–2006)
Alcatel-Lucent (2006–2016)
Nokia (2016–present)

Nokia Bell Labs, originally named Bell Telephone Laboratories (1925–1984),[1] then AT&T Bell Laboratories (1984–1996)[2] and Bell Labs Innovations (1996–2007),[3] is an American industrial research and scientific development company owned by multinational company Nokia. With headquarters located in Murray Hill, New Jersey, the company operates several laboratories in the United States and around the world.

Researchers working at Bell Laboratories 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++, S, SNOBOL, AWK, AMPL, and others. Nine Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.[4]

Bell Labs had its origin in the complex corporate organization of the Bell Systems telephone conglomerate. In the late 19th century, the laboratory began as the Western Electric Engineering Department, located at 463 West Street in New York City. In 1925, after years of conducting research and development under Western Electric, a Bell subsidiary, the Engineering Department was reformed into Bell Telephone Laboratories and placed under the shared ownership of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T) and Western Electric. In the 1960s the laboratory was moved to New Jersey. It was acquired by Nokia in 2016.

Origin and historical locations[edit]

Bell's personal research after the telephone[edit]

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 $290,000 in January 2019's dollars)[5] 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.[6] 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":[6] 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.[6]

In 1893, Bell constructed a new building close by at 1537 35th Street N.W., specifically to house the lab.[6] This building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972.[7][8][9]

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.[10]

An oblique view of a large salmon colored two-story stone building, of some prominence
Bell's 1893 Volta Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

Early antecedent[edit]

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

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

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

American Bell held a controlling interest in Western Electric (which was the manufacturing arm of the business) whereas AT&T was doing research into the service providers.[11][12]

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

Formal organization and location changes[edit]

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

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

On January 1, 1925, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. was organized to consolidate the development and research activities in the communication field and allied sciences for the Bell System. Ownership was evenly shared between Western Electric and AT&T. The new company had existing personnel of 3600 engineers, scientists, and support staff. In addition to the existing research facilities of 400,000 square feet of space, its space was extended with a new building on about one quarter of a city block.[13]

The first chairman of the board of directors was John J. Carty, the vice-president of AT&T, and the first president was Frank B. Jewett,[13] also a board member, who stayed there until 1940.[14][15][16] The operations were directed by E. B. Craft, executive vice-president, and formerly chief engineer at Western Electric.

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[17]).

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

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

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,[18] but several large tenants had announced plans to move in through 2016 and 2017.[19][20]

Building Complex Location information, past and present[edit]

  • Crawford Hill, (HOH) Crawfords Corner Road, Holmdel, NJ (built 1930s, currently as exhibit and building sold, Horn antenna used for "Big Bang" theory.)
  • Holmdel, (HO) 101 Crawfords Corner, Holmdel, NJ (built 1959–1962, older structures in the 1920s, currently as private building called Bell Labs Works-Discovered extraterrestrial radio emissions, undersea cable research, satellite transmissions systems Telstar 3 and 4)
  • Indian Hill, (IH) 2000 Naperville Road, Naperville, Il (built 1966-Currently Nokia-Developed switching technology and systems.)[21]
  • Murray Hill, (MH) 600 Murray Hill, Murray Hill, NJ (built 1941–1945, currently as Nokia, Developed transistor, UNIX operating system and C programming language, Anechoic Chamber, several building sections demolished)
  • Short Hills, (HL) 101-103 JFK Parkway, Short Hills, NJ (Various departments such as Accounts Payable, IT Purchasing, HR Personnel, Payroll, Telecom and the Government group, and Unix Administration Systems Computer Center. Buildings exist without the overhead walkway between the two buildings and two different companies are located from banking and business analytics.)
  • Summit, (SF) 190 River Road, Summit, NJ (building was part of the UNIX Software Operations and became UNIX System Laboratories, Inc. In December 1991, USL combined with Novell. Location is a banking company.)
  • West St, ( ) 463 West Street, New York, NY (build 1898, 1925 until 1966 as Bell Labs headquarters, experimental talking movies, wave nature of matter, radar)
  • Whippany, (WH) 67 Whippany Road, Whippany, NJ (built 1920s, demolished and portion building as Bayer, Performed military research and development, research and development in radar, in guidance for the Nike missile, and in underwater sound, Telstar 1, wireless technologies.)[21]

Bell Labs locations listed in 1974 corporate directory[edit]

  • Allentown-Allentown, PA
  • Atlanta-Norcross, GA
  • Centennial Park-Piscataway, NJ
  • Chester-Chester, NJ
  • Columbus-Columbus, OH
  • Crawford Hill-Holmdel, NJ
  • Denver-Denver, CO
  • Grand Forks-MSR-Cavalier, ND [Missile Site Radar (MSR) Site]
  • Grand Forks-PAR-Cavalier, ND [Perimeter Acquisition Radar (PAR) Site]
  • Guilford Center-Greensboro, NC
  • Holmdel-Holmdel, NJ
  • Indianapolis-Indianapolis, IN
  • Indian Hill-Naperville, IL
  • Kwajalein-San Francisco, CA
  • Madison-Madison, NJ
  • Merrimack Valley-North Andover, MA
  • Murray Hill-Murray Hill, NJ
  • Raritan River Center-Piscataway, NJ
  • Reading-Reading, PA
  • Union-Union, NJ
  • Warren Service Center-Warren, NJ
  • Whippany-Whippany, NJ

Discoveries and developments[edit]

Bell Laboratories logo, used from 1969 until 1983

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


In 1926, the laboratories invented an early example synchronous-sound motion picture system, in competition with Fox Movietone and DeForest Phonofilm.[22]

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

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


Reconstruction of the directional antenna used in the discovery of radio emission of extraterrestrial origin by Karl Guthe Jansky at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1932

In 1931, a foundation for radio astronomy was laid by Karl Jansky during his work investigating the origins of static on long-distance shortwave communications. He discovered that radio waves were being emitted from the center of the galaxy. In 1931 and 1932, experimental high fidelity, long playing, and even stereophonic recordings were made by the labs of the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski.[23] In 1933, stereo signals were transmitted live from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. In 1937, the vocoder, an electronic speech compression device, or codec, and the Voder, the first electronic speech synthesizer, were developed and demonstrated by Homer Dudley, the Voder being demonstrated at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Bell researcher Clinton Davisson shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with George Paget Thomson for the discovery of electron diffraction, which helped lay the foundation for solid-state electronics.


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

In the early 1940s, the photovoltaic cell was developed by Russell Ohl. In 1943, Bell developed SIGSALY, the first digital scrambled speech transmission system, used by the Allies in World War II. The British wartime codebreaker Alan Turing visited the labs at this time, working on speech encryption and meeting Claude Shannon.[24]

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

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



  • Model I: A complex number calculator, completed in 1939 and put into operation in 1940, for doing calculations of complex numbers.
  • Model II: Relay Computer / Relay Interpolator,[27] September 1943, for interpolating data points of flight profiles (needed for performance testing of a gun director).[28] This model introduced error detection (self checking).[29][30]
  • Model III: Ballistic Computer,[31] June 1944, for calculations of ballistic trajectories
  • Model IV: Error Detector Mark II, March 1945,[32] improved ballistic computer
  • Model V:[33] General purpose electromechanical computer, of which two were built, July 1946 and February 1947[34][32][35]
  • Model VI: 1949, an enhanced Model V


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

The 1950s also saw developments based upon information theory. The central development was binary code systems. Efforts concentrated on the prime mission of supporting the Bell System with engineering advances, including the N-carrier system. TD microwave radio relay, direct distance dialing, E-repeater, wire spring relay, and the Number Five Crossbar Switching System.

In 1953, Maurice Karnaugh developed the Karnaugh map, used for managing of Boolean algebraic expressions. In 1954, the first modern solar cell was invented at Bell Laboratories. In 1956 TAT-1, the first transatlantic communications cable, was laid between Scotland and Newfoundland in a joint effort by AT&T, Bell Laboratories, and British and Canadian telephone companies. In 1957, Max Mathews created MUSIC, one of the first computer programs to play electronic music. Robert C. Prim and Joseph Kruskal developed new greedy algorithms that revolutionized computer network design. In 1958, a technical paper by Arthur Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes first described the laser. In 1959, Mohamed M. Atalla and Dawon Kahng invented the metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET).[36] The MOSFET has achieved electronic hegemony and sustains the large-scale integration (LSI) of circuits underlying today's information society.[citation needed]


The charge-coupled device was invented by George E. Smith and Willard Boyle

In December 1960, Ali Javan, PhD physicist from the university of Teheran, Iran with help by Rolf Seebach and his associates William Bennett and Donald Heriot successfully operated the first gas laser, the first continuous-light laser, operating at an unprecedented accuracy and color purity. In 1962, the electret microphone was invented by Gerhard M. Sessler and James Edward Maceo West. Also in 1962, John R. Pierce's vision of communications satellites was realized by the launch of Telstar. In 1964, the Carbon dioxide laser was invented by Kumar Patel and the discovery/operation of the Nd:YAG laser was demonstrated by J.E. Geusic et al.. Experiments by Myriam Sarachik provided the first data that confirmed the Kondo effect.[37] The research of Philip W. Anderson into electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems led to improved understanding of metals and insulators for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1977.[38] In 1965, Penzias and Wilson discovered the cosmic microwave background, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1978.[39] Frank W. Sinden, Edward E. Zajac, Ken Knowlton, and A. Michael Noll made computer-animated movies during the early to mid-1960s. Ken Knowlton invented the computer animation language BEFLIX. The first digital computer art was created in 1962 by Noll. In 1966, Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), a key technology in wireless services, was developed and patented by R. W. Chang. In 1968, Molecular beam epitaxy was developed by J.R. Arthur and A.Y. Cho; molecular beam epitaxy allows semiconductor chips and laser matrices to be manufactured one atomic layer at a time. In 1969, Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson created the computer operating system UNIX for the support of telecommunication switching systems as well as general purpose computing. From 1969 to 1971, Aaron Marcus, the first graphic designer involved with computer graphics, researched, designed, and programmed a prototype interactive page-layout system for the Picturephone. In 1969, the charge-coupled device (CCD) was invented by Willard Boyle and George E. Smith, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009. In the 1960s, the New York City site was sold and became the Westbeth Artists Community complex.


The C programming language was developed in 1972.

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

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

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


Bell Laboratories logo, used from 1984 until 1995

In 1980, the TDMA digital cellular telephone technology was patented. In 1982, Fractional quantum Hall effect was discovered by Horst Störmer and former Bell Laboratories researchers Robert B. Laughlin and Daniel C. Tsui; they consequently won a Nobel Prize in 1998 for the discovery. In 1985,[40] the programming language C++ had its first commercial release.[41] Bjarne Stroustrup started developing C++ at Bell Laboratories in 1979 as an extension to the original C language.[41]

The launching of the Bell Labs Fellows Award started in 1982 to recognize and honor scientists and engineers who have made outstanding and sustained R&D contributions at AT&T with a level of distinction.

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

Arthur Ashkin invented optical tweezers that grab particles, atoms, viruses and other living cells with their laser beam fingers. A major breakthrough came in 1987, when Ashkin used the tweezers to capture living bacteria without harming them. He immediately began studying biological systems using the optical tweezers, which are now widely used to investigate the machinery of life.[42] He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics (2018) for his work involving optical tweezers and their application to biological systems.

In the late 1980’s realizing that voiceband modems were approaching the Shannon limit on bit rate,  Richard D. Gitlin, Jean-Jacques Werner, and their colleagues, pioneered a major breakthrough by inventing DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) and creating the technology that enabled megabit transmission on installed copper telephone lines, thus facilitating the broadband era.[43]


Lucent Logo bearing the "Bell Labs Innovations" tagline

In the early 1990s, approaches to increase modem speeds to 56K were explored at Bell Labs, and early patents were filed in 1992 by Ender Ayanoglu, Nuri R. Dagdeviren and their colleagues.[44] In 1994, the quantum cascade laser was invented by Federico Capasso, Alfred Cho, Jerome Faist and their collaborators. Also in 1994, Peter Shor devised his quantum factorization algorithm. In 1996, SCALPEL electron lithography, which prints features atoms wide on microchips, was invented by Lloyd Harriott and his team. The operating system Inferno, an update of Plan 9, was created by Dennis Ritchie with others, using the then-new concurrent programming language Limbo. A high performance database engine (Dali) was developed which became DataBlitz in its product form.[45]

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

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

In 1992 Jack Salz, Jack Winters and Richard D. Gitlin provided the foundational technology to demonstrate that adaptive antenna arrays at the transmitter and receiver can substantially increase both the reliability (via diversity) and capacity (via spatial multiplexing) of wireless systems without expanding the bandwidth. [46] Subsequently, the BLAST system proposed by Gerard Foschini and colleagues dramatically expanded the capacity of wireless systems. [47] This technology, known today as MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output), was a significant factor in the standardization, commercialization, performance improvement, and spectacular growth of cellular and wireless LAN systems.


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

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

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

In 2003, the New Jersey Institute of Technology Biomedical Engineering Laboratory was created at Murray Hill, New Jersey.[48]

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

In April 2006, Bell Laboratories' parent company, Lucent Technologies, signed a merger agreement with Alcatel. On December 1, 2006, the merged company, Alcatel-Lucent, began operations. This deal raised concerns in the United States, where Bell Laboratories works on defense contracts. A separate company, LGS Innovations, with an American board was set up to manage Bell Laboratories' and Lucent's sensitive U.S. government contracts. In March 2019, LGS Innovations was purchased by CACI.[49]

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 briefly.

As of July 2008, however, only four scientists remained in physics research, according to a report by the scientific journal Nature.[50]

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.[51]

In 2009, Willard Boyle and George Smith were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention and development of the charge-coupled device (CCD).[52]


Nokia Bell Labs entrance sign at New Jersey headquarters in 2016

Gee Rittenhouse, former Head of Research, returned from his position as chief operating officer of Alcatel-Lucent's Software, Services, and Solutions business in February 2013, to become the 12th President of Bell Labs.[53]

On November 4, 2013, Alcatel-Lucent announced the appointment of Marcus Weldon as President of Bell Labs. His stated charter was to return Bell Labs to the forefront of innovation in Information and communications technology by focusing on solving the key industry challenges, as was the case in the great Bell Labs innovation eras in the past.[54]

In July 2014, Bell Labs announced it had broken "the broadband Internet speed record" with a new technology dubbed XG-FAST that promises 10 gigabits per second transmission speeds.[55]

In 2014, Eric Betzig shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in super-resolved fluorescence microscopy which he began pursuing while at Bell Labs in the Semiconductor Physics Research Department.[56]

On April 15, 2015, Nokia agreed to acquire Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Labs' parent company, in a share exchange worth $16.6 billion.[57][58] Their first day of combined operations was January 14, 2016.[59]

In September 2016, Nokia Bell Labs, along with Technische Universität Berlin, Deutsche Telekom T-Labs and the Technical University of Munich achieved a data rate of one terabit per second by improving transmission capacity and spectral efficiency in an optical communications field trial with a new modulation technique.[60]

In 2018, Arthur Ashkin shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on "the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems"[42] which was developed at Bell Labs in the 1980s.

In December 2019, Nokia announced the 2019 Bell Labs Fellows award recipients and citations:

  • Kendall William Harvey, groundbreaking innovation in and sustained contribution to advanced software for IP routing systems.
  • Kari Juhani Järvinen, developing outstanding audio technologies and successfully driving them into key standards (from GSM to UMTS to LTE and towards 5G), with significant impact on Nokia business.
  • Suresh Kalyanasundaram, outstanding contributions to cellular radio performance, from new physical layer algorithms to scheduler design.
  • Thomas Pfeiffer, advancing research and industrialization of optical access technologies and architectures.
  • Kurt Pynaert, passionate technology leadership, engineering and innovation contributing to Nokia's Fixed Access and End-to-End Solutions business.
  • Roland Ryf, groundbreaking optical designs and experimental results that have advanced Nokia's optical products and technical reputation.
  • Cinzia Sartori, highly impactful and sustained contributions to system architecture, network slicing and self-organizing networks in end-to-end mobile networks.
  • Lieven Trappeniers, sustained contributions in social communications, streaming media management, IoT systems and data analytics.


In 2020, Alfred Aho and Jeffrey Ullman shared the Turing Award for their work on compilers, starting with their tenure at Bell Labs during 1967–69.

In December 2020, Nokia announced the 2020 Bell Labs Fellows award recipients and citations:[61]

  • Fred Buchali, fundamental and sustained contributions to high-baud-rate systems and digital signal processing for optical transmission systems.
  • Devaki Chandramouli, seminal contributions to several generations of mobile network technologies and demonstrating excellence in leading technology development in industry standards bodies.
  • Giancarlo Gavioli, creation of industry-leading optical networks solutions and seminal contributions in communication theory and algorithmic development and dense integrated digital circuit implementation.
  • Jani Lainema, developing outstanding video technologies and driving those into the dominant global standards.
  • Klaus Ingemann Pedersen, outstanding contributions to radio resource management research and holistic end-to-end system-level performance modeling and analysis. 
  • Jorge Rabadan, consistent and sustained contribution to the development and standardization of Virtual Private Network technologies.
  • Shahriar Shahramian, seminal contributions to the field of mmWave integrated circuits and architectures with significant impact on wireless communication systems.

On, November 16, 2021, Nokia presented the 2021 Bell Labs Fellows Award Ceremony, six new members (Igor Curcio, Matthew Andrews, Bjorn Jelonnek, Ed Harstead, Gino Dion, Esa Tiirola) held at Nokia Batvik Mansion, Finland.[62]

Nobel Prizes, Turing Awards, Emmy Awards, Grammy Award, and Academy Award[edit]

Nine Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.[63]

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

The Emmy Award has been won five times by Bell Labs. One under Lucent Technologies, one under Alcatel-Lucent, and three under Nokia.

  • 1997: Primetime Engineering Emmy Award for "work on digital television as part of the HDTV Grand Alliance."[70]
  • 2013: Technology and Engineering Emmy for its "Pioneering Work in Implementation and Deployment of Network DVR" [71]
  • 2016: Technology & Engineering Emmy Award for the pioneering invention and deployment of fiber-optic cable.
  • 2020: Technology & Engineering Emmy Award for the CCD (charge-coupled device) was crucial in the development of television, allowing images to be captured digitally for recording transmission.
  • 2021: Technology & Engineering Emmy Award for the "ISO Base Media File Format standardization, in which our multimedia research unit has played a major role."[72]

The inventions of fiber-optics and research done in digital television and media File Format were under former AT&T Bell Labs ownership.

The Grammy Award has been won once by Bell Labs under Alcatel-Lucent.

  • 2006: Technical GRAMMY® Award for outstanding technical contributions to the recording field.

The Academy Award has been won once by E. C. Wente and Bell Labs.

  • 1937: Scientific or Technical Award (Class II) for their multi-cellular high-frequency horn and receiver.


The American Telephone and Telegraph Company, Western Electric, and other Bell System companies issued numerous publications, such as local house organs, for corporate distribution, for the scientific and industry communities, and for the general public, including telephone subscribers.

The Bell Laboratories Record was a principal house organ, featuring general interest content such as corporate news, support staff profiles and events, reports of facilities upgrades, but also articles of research and development results written for technical or non-technical audiences. The publication commenced in 1925 with the founding of the laboratories.

A prominent journal for the focussed dissemination of original or reprinted scientific research by Bell Labs engineers and scientists was the Bell System Technical Journal, started in 1922 by the AT&T Information Department. Bell researchers also published widely in industry journals.

Some of these articles were reprinted by the Bell System as Monographs, consecutively issued starting in 1920.[73] These reprints, numbering over 5000, comprise a catalog of Bell research over the decades. Research in the Monographs is aided by access to associated indexes,[74] for monographs 1–1199, 1200-2850 (1958), 2851-4050 (1962), and 4051-4650 (1964).

Essentially all of the landmark work done by Bell Labs is memorialized in one or more corresponding monographs. Examples include:

  • Monograph 1598 - Shannon, A Mathematical Theory of Communication, 1948 (reprinted from BSTJ).
  • Monograph 1659 - Bardeen and Brattain, Physical Principles Involved in Transistor Action, 1949 (reprinted from BSTJ).
  • Monograph 1757 - Hamming, Error Detecting and Error Correcting Codes, 1950 (reprinted from BSTJ).
  • Monograph 3289 - Pierce, Transoceanic Communications by Means of Satellite, 1959 (reprinted from Proc. I.R.E.).
  • Monograph 3345 - Schawlow & Townes, Infrared and Optical Masers, 1958 (reprinted from Physical Review).


Period Name of President Lifetime
2021– Thierry Klein
2021– Peter Vetter b. 1963
13 2013–2021 Marcus Weldon b. 1968
12 2013–2013 Gee Rittenhouse
11 2005–2013 Jeong Hun Kim b. 1961
10 2001–2005 Bill O'Shea b. 1957
9 1999–2001 Arun Netravali b. 1946
8 1995–1999 Dan Stanzione b. 1945
7 1991–1995 John Sullivan Mayo b. 1930
6 1979–1991 Ian Munro Ross 1927–2013
5 1973–1979 William Oliver Baker 1915–2005
4 1959–1973 James Brown Fisk 1910–1981[75]
3 1951–1959 Mervin Kelly 1895–1971
2 1940–1951 Oliver Buckley 1887–1959
1 1925–1940 Frank Baldwin Jewett 1879–1949

Notable alumni[edit]

Alumni Notes
Alistair E. Ritchie Bell Labs scientist and co-author of The Design of Switching Circuits on switching circuit theory. Father of Dennis M. Ritchie.
Alfred Aho Advanced compiler theory and wrote the well known Dragon Book with Jeffrey Ullman on compiler design.
Javan ali.jpg Ali Javan Invented the gas laser in 1960.
Arno Penzias.jpg Arno Allan Penzias Discovered background radiation, with Robert W. Wilson, originating from the Big Bang and won the Nobel Prize in 1978 for the discovery.
National-medal-of-technology-1993.png Amos E. Joel Jr. Was an American electrical engineer, known for several contributions and over seventy patents related to telecommunications switching systems. Joel worked at Bell Labs (1940–83) where he first undertook cryptology studies (collaboration with Claude Shannon), followed by studies on electronic switching system that resulted in the 1ESS switch (1948–60). He then headed the development of advanced telephone services (1961–68), which led to several patents, including one on Traffic Service Position System[78] and a mechanism for handoff in cellular communication (1972).[79] Received the *National Medal of Technology (1993). Inducted into the *National Inventors Hall of Fame (2008).
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.
Arun N. Netravali 2001 National Medal of Technology... Video signal interpolation using motion estimation Patent US4383272A
Bishnu Atal Developed new speech processing and encoding algorithms, including fundamental work on linear prediction of speech and linear predictive coding (LPC), and the development of code-excited linear prediction (CELP) speech encoding, the basis for all speech communication codecs in mobile and Internet voice communications.
BjarneStroustrup.jpg Bjarne Stroustrup Was the head of Bell Labs Large-scale Programming Research department, from its creation until late 2002 and created the C++ programming language.
Brian Kernighan in 2012 at Bell Labs 2.jpg Brian Kernighan Helped to create Unix, AWK, AMPL and authored along with Dennis Ritchie influential The C Programming Language book.
Claire F. Gmachl Developed novel designs for solid-state lasers leading to advances in the development of quantum cascade lasers.
ClaudeShannon MFO3807.jpg
Claude Shannon Founded information theory with the publishing of A Mathematical Theory of Communication in 1948. He is perhaps equally well known for founding both digital computer and digital circuit design theory in 1937, when, as a 21-year-old master's degree student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he wrote his thesis demonstrating that electrical applications of Boolean algebra could construct any logical, numerical relationship.[80] 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.[81] Turing showed Shannon his 1936 paper that defined what is now known as the "Universal Turing machine";[82][83] this impressed Shannon, as many of its ideas complemented his own.
Clinton Davisson.jpg Clinton Davisson Davisson and Lester Germer performed an experiment showing that electrons were diffracted at the surface of a crystal of nickel. This celebrated Davisson-Germer experiment confirmed the de Broglie hypothesis that particles of matter have a wave-like nature, which is a central tenet of quantum mechanics. Their observation of diffraction allowed the first measurement of a wavelength for electrons. He shared the Nobel Prize in 1937 with George Paget Thomson, who independently discovered electron diffraction at about the same time as Davisson.
Clyde G. Bethea "In 1970, Clyde G. Bethea earned an Electronics Technology (AASET) degree from New York Technical College. He was recruited by the Research Division of Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ, where his research career spanned over 35 years. He demonstrated innovation and expertise in the areas of advanced non-linear optics and laser physics addressing many complex challenges in industry. Throughout his career, Bethea received extensive training in Quantum Physics, Advanced Mathematics and Advanced Optical Systems at Stevens, NJIT and Bell Laboratories.

Bethea has over 30 domestics patents (over 100 worldwide) and over 180 authored/co authored peer-reviewed publications in the field of lasers, imaging, and quantum electronics. Bethea was awarded Black Engineer of the Year Award in 1989 for Outstanding and Innovative Technical Contributions, and Best Paper Award in 1988 from IEEE for his work on QWIP detectors. Bethea also received an award from the Association of Electrical Engineers of Italy for his work on picosecond time-domain reflectometers. In 2001, he was inducted into the Space Foundation Hall of Fame (sponsored by NASA and U.S. military) for his invention of the Quantum Well Photodetector (QWIP) camera. Throughout his career, Bethea has mentored students in Science and Engineering at all educational levels including graduates/PhDs."[84]

Corinna Cortes Head of Google Research, New York.
Daniel Chee Tsui.jpg Daniel Tsui Along with Robert Laughlin and Horst Störmer discovered new form of quantum fluid.
Stanford2010DavidMiller.png David A. B. Miller
Dawon Kahng.jpg Dawon Kahng Invented the MOSFET (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor) with Mohamed M. Atalla in 1959.[36][85] It revolutionized the electronics industry,[86][87] and is the most widely used semiconductor device in the world.[88][89]
Dennis Ritchie 2011.jpg Dennis Ritchie Created the C programming language and, with long-time colleague Ken Thompson, the Unix operating system. Received the *National Medal of Technology (1998) with Ken Thompson, presented by President William Clinton.
Donald Cox Received the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal (1993)
Douglas McIlroy.jpeg Douglas McIlroy Proposed Unix pipelines and developed several Unix tools. Pioneering researcher of macro processors, code reuse and component-based software engineering. Participated in the design of multiple influential programming languages, particularly PL/I, SNOBOL, ALTRAN, TMG and C++.
Edward Lawry Norton.jpg Edward Lawry Norton Famous for Norton's theorem.
Elizabeth Bailey Worked in technical programming at Bell Laboratories from 1960 to 1972, before transferring to the economic research section from 1972 to 1977.
Eric Betzig An American physicist who worked to develop the field of fluorescence microscopy and photoactivated localization microscopy. He was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for "the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy" along with Stefan Hell and fellow Cornell alumnus William E. Moerner.
Eric Schmidt at the 37th G8 Summit in Deauville 037.jpg Eric Schmidt Did a complete re-write with Mike Lesk of Lex, a program to generate lexical analysers for the Unix computer operating system.
Erna Schneider Hoover Invented the computerized telephone switching method.
Esther M. Conwell Studied effects of high electric fields on electron transport in semiconductors, member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Evelyn Hu Pioneer in the fabrication of nanoscale electronic and photonic devices.
Everett T. Burton "An Electrical Research Engineer with Bell Labs from 1920-1955 retiring with 35 years of service. He commuted into 463 West Street and in the mid 1940's starting working out of the Murray Hill campus. He had a very successful career with his name on 50 patents."[citation needed]Time Division Multiplexing: Patent US2917583A Time separation communication system.
Nobel Prize 2009-Press Conference KVA-27.jpg George E. Smith Led research into novel lasers and semiconductor devices. During his tenure, Smith was awarded dozens of patents and eventually headed the VLSI device department. George E. Smith shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics with Willard Boyle for "the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit—the CCD sensor, which has become an electronic eye in almost all areas of photography".[90]
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.[91][92]
Horst Störmer.jpg Horst Ludwig Störmer Along with Robert Laughlin and Daniel Tsui discovered new form of quantum fluid.
Howard M. Jackson II Electrical engineer at Western Electric Co. where he worked in a manufacturing group of equipment for USAF bombing navigation systems. Employment for Bell Labs took him from Whippany, NJ, to Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, Naperville, IL, and back to Murray Hill, NJ. Worked mainly on computer technology including early missile detection software for Safeguard Anti-Ballistic Missile systems.[93]
Hopcrofg.jpg John Hopcroft Received the Turing Award jointly with Robert Tarjan in 1986 for fundamental achievements in the design and analysis of algorithms and data structures.
Ingrid Daubechies (2005).jpg Ingrid Daubechies Developed the orthogonal Daubechies wavelet and the biorthogonal Cohen–Daubechies–Feauveau wavelet. She is best known for her work with wavelets in image compression (such as JPEG 2000) and digital cinema.
James Edward Maceo West "In 1962, James West and Gerhard Sessler patented the electret microphone while working at Bell Laboratories. The microphone became widely used because of its high performance, accuracy, and reliability, in addition to its low cost, small size, and light weight.

West was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia. While attending Temple University, he interned at Bell Labs during his summer breaks and upon his graduation in 1957, he joined the company and began work in electroacoustics, physical acoustics, and architectural acoustics. West, who is a Fellow of IEEE and a recipient of the George R. Stibitz Trophy, is the recipient of over 200 U.S. and foreign patents. He has also been honored with the 2006 National Medal of Technology. West is also an advocate for science education, particularly among minority students."[84]

Jeffrey Ullman Advanced compiler theory and wrote the well known Dragon Book with Alfred Aho on compiler design.
Jessie MacWilliams Developed the MacWilliams identities in coding theory.
John Mashey Worked on the PWB/UNIX operating system at Bell Labs from 1973 to 1983, authoring the PWB shell, also known as the "Mashey Shell".[94]
John M. Chambers Developed the statistical programming language S which is the forerunner to R.
Bardeen.jpg John Bardeen With William Shockley and Walter Brattain, the three scientists invented the point-contact transistor in 1947 and were jointly awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics.
2015-03-19 Jon Hall by Olaf Kosinsky-4.jpg Jon Hall Executive Director of Linux International,[95]
Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie.jpg Ken Thompson Designed and implemented the original Unix operating system. He also invented the B programming language, the direct predecessor to the C programming language, and was one of the creators and early developers of the Plan 9 operating systems. 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. Received the *National Medal of Technology (1998) with Dennis Ritchie, presented by President William Clinton.
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.
Marian Croak "Dr. Marian Croak leads the center of expertise on responsible AI within Google Research as a VP. The center is responsible for ensuring Google develops artificial intelligence responsibly and that it has a positive impact. For almost seven years, she's been a VP at Google working on everything from site reliability engineering to bringing public Wi-Fi to India's railroads. Marian joined Google in late 2014 after retiring from AT&T as an SVP responsible for advanced research and innovation, and designing and developing one of the world's largest wireless and broadband networks. She managed over 2,000 world-class engineers and computer scientists.

Marian holds over 200 patents, mostly focused on IP technology. Marian has received numerous awards, including the 2013 and 2014 Edison Patent Awards, and was inducted into the Women in Technology International's Hall of Fame in 2013. She is a strong supporter of STEM initiatives, served on many boards including NACME and Catalyst, and personally mentors many individuals in STEM. She is currently a member of the Corporate Advisory Board for the University of Southern California's School of Engineering, and the Schwartz Reisman Institute Advisory Board. Marian was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and National Academy of Engineering in 2022."[84]

Maurice Karnaugh Famous for the Karnaugh map.
Max Mathews Wrote MUSIC, the first widely used program for sound generation, in 1957.
Atalla1963.png Mohamed M. Atalla Developed the silicon surface passivation process in 1957,[85][96] 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.[86][87][88][89] This led to a breakthrough in semiconductor technology,[97][98] and revolutionized the electronics industry.[86][87]
Narendra Karmarkar Developed Karmarkar's algorithm.
Osamu Fujimura Japanese physicist, phonetician and linguist, recognized as one of the pioneers of speech science. Invented the C/D model of speech articulation.
Persi Diaconis 2010.jpg Persi Diaconis Known for tackling mathematical problems involving randomness and randomization, such as coin flipping and shuffling playing cards.
Andersonphoto.jpg Philip Warren Anderson In 1977 Anderson was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his investigations into the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems, which allowed for the development of electronic switching and memory devices in computers.
Phyllis Fox Co-wrote the DYNAMO simulation programming language, principal author of the first LISP manual, and developed the PORT Mathematical Subroutine Library.
Richard Hamming Created a family of mathematical error-correcting code, which are called Hamming codes. Programmed one of the earliest computers, the IBM 650, and with Ruth A. Weiss developed the L2 programming language, one of the earliest computer languages, in 1956.
Robert Laughlin, Stanford University.jpg Robert Laughlin Along with Horst Störmer and Daniel Tsui discovered new form of quantum fluid.
Robert W. Lucky "joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, where, initially, he was involved in studying ways of sending digital information over telephone lines. The best known outcome of this work was his invention of the adaptive equalizer, the key enabler for all high-speed modems today. The textbook on data communications which he co-authored became the most cited reference in the communications field over the period of a decade."[99]
Rob-pike-oscon.jpg Rob Pike A member of the Unix team and was involved in the creation of the Plan 9 and Inferno operating systems, as well as the Limbo programming language. Co-authored the books The Unix Programming Environment and The Practice of Programming with Brian Kernighan. Co-created the UTF-8 character encoding standard with Ken Thompson, the Blit graphical terminal with Bart Locanthi Jr. and the sam and acme text editors. Pike has worked at Google, where he co-created the Go and Sawzall programming languages.
Bob Tarjan.jpg Robert Tarjan Received the Turing Award jointly with John Hopcroft in 1986 for fundamental achievements in the design and analysis of algorithms and data structures.
Wilson penzias200.jpg Robert W. Wilson Discovered background radiation, with Arno Allan Penzias, originating from the Big Bang and won the Nobel Prize in 1978 for that.
Sharon Haynie Developed DuPont's bio-3G product line and adhesives to close wounds.
Steve Bourne at SDWest2005.hires.jpg Steve Bourne Created the Bourne shell, the adb debugger and authored the book The Unix System. He also served as president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) (2000–2002), was made a fellow of the ACM (2005), received the ACM Presidential Award (2008) and the Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award (2017).
Professor Steven Chu ForMemRS headshot.jpg Steven Chu Known for his research at Bell Labs and Stanford University in cooling and trapping of atoms with laser light, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, along with his scientific colleagues Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William Daniel Phillips.[100]
Steven Cundiff Was instrumental in the development of the first frequency comb that led to one half of the 2005 Nobel prize.[101] Also made significant contributions to the ultrafast dynamics of semiconductor nanostructures, including the 2014 discovery of the dropleton quasi-particle.[102]
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.[103]
Thomas H. Crowley Mathematician and AT&T executive, author of 1967 expository best seller, "Understanding Computers". Executive director of the Safeguard anti-ballistic missile system software division of Bell Labs. Also, Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J. He earned several patents for his technical work, headed computer research departments at Bell Labs, including development and marketing of UNIX, and retired in 1985 as software vice-president, AT&T Information Systems.[104]
TrevorHastiePic.jpg Trevor Hastie Known for his contributions to applied statistics, especially in the field of machine learning, data mining, and bioinformatics.
Vernon Stanley Mummert "His career at Bellcomm, Inc., a subsidiary of AT&T in Washington, D.C., contracted by NASA, included planning the trajectory for the Apollo 11 space flight of July 16 through July 24, 1969, the first crewed mission to land on the moon." "...transfer to Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, NJ, where he led engineering teams working in telephone network management, network planning, and international telecommunications. He led the invention of a revolutionary traffic routing scheme that dramatically decreased network costs and positioned AT&T to deliver new services." Retiring from Bell Labs in 1995, he worked as a consultant for NCR.[105]
Brattain.jpg Walter Houser Brattain With fellow scientists John Bardeen and William Shockley, invented the point-contact transistor in December 1947.[106] They shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention.
Walter Lincoln Hawkins Started in Bell Labs, developed sheathing. Polymer Cable Sheath Patent US 2,967,845 National Inventors Hall of Fame.[84]
Warren P. Mason Founder of distributed-element circuits, inventor of the GT quartz crystal, and many discoveries and inventions in ultrasonics and acoustics.
James Wayne Hunt Started in Bell Labs 1973. In May 1977, published the Hunt-Szymanski Algorithm paper which was an application example of the UNIX diff Command.[84]
Nobel Prize 2009-Press Conference KVA-23.jpg 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 A. Massey Bell Labs in 1977.[84]
William B. Snow Made major contributions to acoustics from 1923 to 1940. Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), received its Gold Medal Award in 1968.
William Shockley, Stanford University.jpg William Shockley With John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, the three scientists invented the point-contact transistor in 1947 and were jointly awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Yann LeCun Recognized as a founding father of convolutional neural networks and for work on optical character recognition and computer vision. He received the Turing Award in 2018 with Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio for their work in deep learning.
Yoshua Bengio Received the Turing Award in 2018 with Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun for their work in deep learning.
Zhenan Bao Development of the first all plastic transistor, or organic field-effect transistors which allows for its use in electronic paper.[107]

Educational Films[edit]

AT&T had several short films that focused on the science and technology associated with telephony or inventions from Bell Labs or Bell System. Here is a list of short films with a description and significance.

  • "Careers at Bell Laboratories" 1979, Recruiting video of careers at various locations and areas of telephony. Featured: Althea Ginn-TIRKS-(Piscataway), Gregory Chesson-Computer System Research Department-Developing Computer Networks-(Murray Hill), Chin-Sheng Chuang-Digital Signal Processing-(Holmdel), Kathy & Peter Hoppner-Develop Maintenance Programs for the 4ESS-Indian Hill Lab-(Naperville, IL), Philip Fair-Designer in the Residential Telephone Department-(Indianapolis, IND), Ray & Maria Bonachea-Supervise Program Administration and System Test for Switching Control Center System- (Columbus, Ohio), Michael Liberty-Digital Technology for Business Customers-(Denver, Colorado), Bill Blinn-Director of Technical Employment at Bell Labs-(Murray Hill)[108]
  • "Microworld" 1980, BONUS EDITION, hosted by William Shatner, An Owen Murphy Production Directed by Paul Cohen, Introduction by George Kupczak of the AT&T Archives and History Center, Microchip manufacturing process. [109]
  • "Live from AT&T Bell Laboratories" Spring 1991, Episode 1, David Heil and Arno Penzias present scientific and technological ideas or products segments by renowned research scientists to teachers and students in a live PBS showing via satellite. Optical Computing Research Department, Molecular Beam Epitaxy, Speech Activated Manipulator (SAM) robotic arm, Gor-Don Robot from InfoQuest, Whippany Jesse Russell Cellular Test Van, office messaging, Jay Wilpon speech recognition for flight reservation system, Alan Wong lasers for optical computers, and AT&T Learning Network with electronic mail.[110]
  • "Live from AT&T Bell Laboratories" 1992, Episode 2, David Heil and Arno Penzias present scientific and technological ideas or products segments by renowned research scientists to teachers and students in a live PBS showing. Student audience linked by two way satellite in Texas and Wisconsin, and seen around the globe by via Air Forces Television. Greg Blonder-fiber optics, Y. K. Chen and Wing Mu-fastest lasers, undersea cables, Mohammed Islam-logical gate, Kelley Siegal-industrial engineer printed circuit boards, Wayne Knox-infrared laser, Holmdel Janice Marshall-chemical engineer, Ron Graham-Mathematician, Bill Bennett-Telstar 4, Astronaut Terry Hart-engineer on Telstar 4, Senator David Inouye, Jim West-Anechoic Chamber, Bob Lucky-Communication Sciences Division, Dr. Walter Massey-Director National Science Foundation.[111]
  • "Live from AT&T Bell Laboratories" Spring 1993, Episode 3, David Heil and Arno Penzias present scientific and technological ideas or products segments by renowned research scientist to teachers and students in a live PBS showing. Students in San Francisco Exploratorium and The Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, La Villette, Paris. Text-to-speech, EO communicator, microchips, clean-room, Kelley Purkey Siegal with Science High School students winning a US First Chairman's Award, Joel de Rosnay-Cité des sciences et de l'industrie, Jugglers Tim Furst and Rhys Thomas with Ron Graham-Mathematician, Guy Story-Scientist/Musician Computing Research and lead singer in music video, Ryshard Horowitz-photographer and Ilona Jones-Bell Labs Art Director-poster project digital photo montage (Penn/Teller and digital Karamazov Brothers.) Segments, "The Worm Turns," "Penn and Teller," "Fellowship," "Magic" Bell Labs music video, "Penn and Teller" performing magic with scientists.[112]


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.[113]

Bell Labs Technology Showcase[edit]

The Murray Hill campus features a 3,000-square-foot (280 m2) 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.[114]

See also[edit]


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Coordinates: 40°41′00″N 74°24′03″W / 40.683404°N 74.400744°W / 40.683404; -74.400744