Bell Labs

Appearance move to sidebar hide Nokia Bell Labs
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryTelecommunication, information technology, material science
FoundedJanuary 1925 (1925-01) (as Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.)
HeadquartersMurray Hill, New Jersey, U.S.
SubsidiariesNokia Shanghai Bell

Bell Labs is an American industrial research and scientific development company 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. Ten Nobel Prizes and five Turing Awards have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.

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

Origin and historical locations

Bell's personal research after the telephone

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

In 1880, when the French government awarded Alexander Graham Bell the Volta Prize of 50,000 francs for the invention of the telephone (equivalent to about US$10,000 at the time, or about $330,000 now), he used the award to fund the Volta Laboratory (also known as the "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 advancing the diffusion of knowledge relating to the deaf. This resulted in the founding of the Volta Bureau (c. 1887) at the Washington, D.C. home of his father, linguist Alexander Melville Bell. The carriage house there, at 1527 35th Street N.W., 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.

Early antecedent

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

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

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

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

463 West Street New York Bell LabsThe Bell Laboratories Building, built at 463 West Street in New York City in 1925

In 1896, Western Electric bought property at 463 West Street to centralize the manufacturers and engineers which had been supplying AT&T with such technology as telephones, telephone exchange switches and transmission equipment.

During the early 20th century, several historically significant laboratories were established. In 1915, the first radio transmissions were made from a shack in Montauk, Long Island. That same year, tests were performed on the first transoceanic radio telephone at a house in Arlington County, Virginia. A radio reception laboratory was established in 1919 in the Cliffwood section of Aberdeen Township, New Jersey. Additionally for 1919, a transmission studies site was established in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania that built, in 1929, the coaxial conductor line for first tests of long-distance transmission in various frequencies.

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 3600 engineers, scientists, and support staff. Its 400,000-square-foot (37,000 m2) space was expanded with a new building occupying about one quarter of a city block.

The first chairman of the board of directors was John J. Carty, AT&T's vice president, and the first president was Frank B. Jewett, also a board member, who stayed there until 1940. The operations were directed by E. B. Craft, executive vice-president, and formerly chief engineer at Western Electric.

In the early 1920s, a few outdoor facilities and radio communications development facilities were developed. In 1925, the test plot studies were established at Gulfport, Mississippi, where there were numerous telephone pole samples established for wood preservation. At the Deal, New Jersey location, work was done on ship-to-shore radio telephony. In 1926, in the Whippany section of Hanover Township, New Jersey, land was acquired and established for the development of a 50-kilowatt broadcast transmitter. In 1931, Whippany increased with 75 acres (30 ha) added from a nearby property. In 1928, a 15-acre (6.1 ha) site in Chester Township, New Jersey, was leased for outdoor tests, though the facility became inadequate for such purposes. In 1930, the Chester location required the purchase of an additional 85 acres (34 ha) of land to be used for a new outdoor plant development laboratory. Prior to Chester being established, a test plot was installed in Limon, Colorado in 1929, similar to the one in Gulfport. The three test plots at Gulfport, Limon, and Chester were outdoor facilities for preservatives and prolonging the use of telephone poles. Additionally, in 1929, a land expansion was done at the Deal Labs to 208 acres (84 ha). This added land increased the facility for radio transmission studies.

The beginning of 1930s, established three facilities with radio communications experiments and chemical aspects testing. By 1939, the Summit, New Jersey, chemical laboratory was nearly 10 years established in a three-story building conducted experiments in corrosion, using various fungicides tests on cables, metallic components, or wood. For 1929, land was purchased in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, for a radio reception laboratory to replace the Cliffwood location that had been in operation since 1919. In 1930, the Cliffwood location was ending its operations as Holmdel was established. Whereas, in 1930, a location in Mendham Township, New Jersey, was established to continue radio receiver developments farther from the Whippany location and eliminate transmitter interference at that facility with developments. The Mendham location worked on communication equipment and broadcast receivers. These devices were used for marine, aircraft, and police services as well as the location performed precision frequency-measuring apparatus, field strength measurements, and conducted radio interference.

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 Township, Crawford Hill, the Deal Test Site, Freehold, Lincroft, Long Branch, Middletown, Neptune Township, Princeton, Piscataway, Red Bank, Chester Township, 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).

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.

The Old Bell Labs Holmdel Complex, located about 20 miles south of New York City, in New Jersey

Bell's Holmdel research and development lab, a 1,900,000-square-foot (180,000 m2) structure set on 473 acres (191 ha), 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.

Building Complex Location (code) information, past and present

Whippany Bell Labs was an AT&T location from the mid-1920s until 1996. Lucent Technologies from 1996 to 2006 and Alcatel-Lucent from 2006 to 2009 (closure). The buildings were sold and demolished in 2010, except for two buildings repurposed for Bayer Healthcare.

List of Bell Labs (1974)

Bell Lab's 1974 corporate directory listed 22 labs in the United States, located in:

List of Bell Labs (2024)

Nokia Bell Lab's 2024 website pictured 10 labs, located in:

Also listed as research locations without additional information was Sunnyvale, California, US and Tampere, Finland.

The Naperville, Illinois Bell Labs location near Chicago, was considered the Chicago Innovation Center and hosted Nokia's second annual Algorithm World event in 2022.

Discoveries and developments

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 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 control movement, including Six Sigma.

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

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, for which 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.

In 1928, Harold Black invented the negative feedback system commonly used in amplifiers. Later, Harry Nyquist analyzed Black's design rule for negative feedback. This work was published in 1932 and became known as the Nyquist criterion.


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, the labs made experimental high fidelity, long playing, and even stereophonic recordings of the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski.

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.


A replica of the first transistor, a point-contact germanium device, invented at Bell Laboratories in 1947

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.

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, arguably 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.



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

In 1953, Maurice Karnaugh developed the Karnaugh map, used for managing of Boolean algebraic expressions.

In January 1954, Bell Labs built one of the first completely transistorized computer machines, TRADIC or Flyable TRADIC, for the United States Air Force with 10,358 germanium point-contact diodes and 684 Bell Labs Type 1734 Type A cartridge transistors. The design team was led by electrical engineer Jean Howard Felker with James R. Harris and Louis C. Brown ("Charlie Brown") as the lead engineers on the project, which started in 1951. The device took only 3 cubic-feet and consumed 100 watt power for its small and low powered design in comparison to the vacuum tube designs of the times. The device could be installed in a B-52 Stratofortress Bomber and had a performance up to one million logical operations a second. The flyable program used a Mylar sheet with punched holes, instead of the removable plugboard.

In 1954, the first modern solar cell was invented at Bell Laboratories.

In 1956 TAT-1, the first transatlantic communications cable to carry telephone conversations, 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). The MOSFET has achieved electronic hegemony and sustains the large-scale integration (LSI) of circuits underlying today's information society.


On October 1, 1960, the Kwajalein Field Station was announced as a location for the Nike Zeus test program. Mr. R. W. Benfer was the first director to arrive shortly on October 5 for the program. Bell Labs designed many of the major system elements and conducted fundamental investigations of phase-controlled scanning antenna arrays.

The patent for the electret microphone, an invention by Gerhard Sessler and James West

In December 1960, Ali Javan, PhD physicist from the University of Tehran, 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 E. West. Also in 1962, John R. Pierce's vision of communications satellites was realized by the launch of Telstar.

On July 10, 1962, the Telstar spacecraft was launched into orbit by NASA and it was designed and built by Bell Laboratories. The first worldwide television broadcast was July 23, 1962 with a press conference by President Kennedy.

In Spring 1964, the building of an electronic switching systems center was planned at Bell Laboratories near Naperville, Illinois. The building in 1966 would be called Indian Hill, and development work from former electronic switching organization at Holmdel and Systems Equipment Engineering organization would occupy the laboratory with engineers from Western Electric Hawthorne Works. Scheduled for work were about 1,200 people when completed in 1966, and peaked at 11,000 before October 2001 Lucent Technologies downsizing occurred.

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. 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. 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, 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 December 1966, the New York City site was sold and became the Westbeth Artists Community complex.

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

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. Also, 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.

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.


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 the 1970s, major central office technology evolved 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.

About 1970, the coax-22 cable was developed by Bell Labs. This coax cable with 22 strands allowed a total capacity of 132,000 telephone calls. Previously, a 12-strand coax cable was used for L-carrier systems. Both of these types of cables were manufactured at Western Electrics' Baltimore Works facility on machines designed by a Western Electric Senior development engineer.

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 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. Also in 1972, Marc Rochkind invented the Source Code Control System.

In 1976, optical fiber systems were first tested in Georgia.

Production of their first internally-designed microprocessor, the BELLMAC-8, began in 1977. In 1980 they demonstrated the first single-chip 32-bit microprocessor, the Bellmac 32A, which went into production in 1982.

In 1978, the proprietary operating system Oryx/Pecos was developed from scratch by Bell Labs in order to run AT&T's large-scale PBX switching equipment. It was first used with AT&T's flagship System 75, and until very recently, was used in all variations up through and including Definity G3 (Generic 3) switches, now manufactured by Avaya.


Bell Laboratories logo, used from 1984 until 1995 Teletype/AT&T 5620 DMD version of the Blit. Terminal software written by Rob Pike and hardware designed by Bart Locanthi, Jr.

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 1980, the TDMA digital cellular telephone technology was patented.

In late 1981, the Bell Labs Research organization internal use of a terminal called Jerq, lead to the Blit (computer terminal) being renamed by designers, Rob Pike and Bart Locanthi, Jr for the UNIX operating system. It was a programmable bitmap graphics terminal using multi-layers of opened windows operated by a keyboard and a distinguished red colored three-button digitized mouse. It was later known as the AT&T 5620 DMD terminal for commercial sales. The Blit used the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, whereas, the Teletype/AT&T 5620 Dot Mapped Display terminal used the Western Electric WE32000 microprocessor.

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. As of the 2021 inductees, only 336 people have received the honor.

Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie were also Bell Labs Fellows for 1982. Ritchie started in 1967 at Bell Labs in the Bell Labs Computer Systems Research department. Thompson started in 1966. Both co-inventors of the UNIX operating system and C language were also awarded decades later the 2011 Japan Prize for Information and Communications.

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 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 breakup of AT&T, and 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.

The National Medal of Technology was awarded to Bell Labs, the first corporation to achieve this honor in February 1985.

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".

In 1985, the programming language C++ had its first commercial release. Bjarne Stroustrup started developing C++ at Bell Laboratories in 1979 as an extension to the original C language.

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. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics (2018) for his work involving optical tweezers and their application to biological systems.

In the mid-1980s, the Transmission System departments of Bell Labs developed highly reliable long-haul fiber-optic communications systems based on SONET, and network operations techniques, that enabled very high volume, near-instantaneous communications across the North American continent. Fail-safe and disaster-related traffic management operations systems enhanced the usefulness of the fiber optics. There was a synergy in the land-based and seas-based fiber optic systems, although they were developed by different divisions within the company. These systems are still in use throughout the U.S. today.

Charles A. Burrus became a Bell Labs Fellow in 1988 for his work done as a Technical Staff member. Prior to this accomplishment, was awarded in 1982 the AT&T Bell Laboratories Distinguished Technical Staff Award. Charles started in 1955 at the Holmdel Bell Labs location and retired in 1996 with consultations to Lucent Technologies up to 2002.

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.

In the late 1980s, 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.


The Lucent logo bearing the "Bell Labs Innovations" tagline

Bell Labs' John Mayo received the National Medal of Technology in 1990.

In May 1990, Ronald Snare was named AT&T Bell Laboratories Fellow, for "Singular contributions to the development of the common-channel signaling network and the signal transfer points globally." This system began service in the United States in 1978.

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.

The scientist, W. Lincoln Hawkins in 1992 received the National Medal of Technology for work done at Bell Labs.

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. Subsequently, the BLAST system proposed by Gerard Foschini and colleagues dramatically expanded the capacity of wireless systems. This technology, known today as MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output), was a significant factor in the standardization, commercialization, performance improvement, and growth of cellular and wireless LAN systems.

Amos Joel in 1993 received the National Medal of Technology.

Two AT&T Bell Labs scientists, Joel Engel and Richard Frenkiel, were honored with the National Medal of Technology, in 1994.

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.

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.

Lucy Sanders was the third woman to receive the Bell Labs Fellow award in 1996, for her work in creating a RISC chip that allowed more phone calls using software and hardware on a single server. She started in 1977 and was one of the few woman engineers at Bell Labs.

In November 1997, Lucent planned a Bell Laboratories location at Yokosuka Research Park in Yokosuka, Japan for developing a third generation Wideband Code Division Multiple Access cellular system (W-CDMA.)

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

Rudolph Kazarinov and Federico Capasso received the optoelectronics Rank Prize on December 8, 1998.

In December 1998, Ritchie and Thompson also were honorees of the National Medal of Technology for their work done for pre-Lucent Technologies Bell Labs. The award was presented by U.S. President William Clinton in 1999 in a White House ceremony.

21st century

The pre-2013 logo of Alcatel-Lucent, the 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 was 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.

In 2004, Lucent Technologies awarded two women the prestigious Bell Labs Fellow Award. Magaly Spector, a director in INS/Network Systems Group, was awarded for "sustained and exceptional scientific and technological contributions in solid-state physics, III-V material for semiconductor lasers, Gallium Arsenide integrated circuits, and the quality and reliability of products used in high speed optical transport systems for next generation high bandwidth communication." Eve Varma, a technical manager in MNS/Network Systems Group, was awarded for her citation in "sustained contributions to digital and optical networking, including architecture, synchronization, restoration, standards, operations and control."

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.

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.

In February 2008, Alcatel-Lucent continued the Bell Laboratories tradition of awarding the prestigious award for outstanding technical contributors. Martin J. Glapa, a former chief Technical Officer of Lucent's Cable Communications Business Unit and Director of Advanced Technologies, was presented by Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs President Jeong H. Kim with the 2006 Bell Labs Fellow Award in Network Architecture, Network Planning, and Professional Services with particular focus in Cable TV Systems and Broadband Services having "significant resulting Alcatel-Lucent commercial successes." Glapa is a patent holder and has co-written the 2004 technical paper called "Optimal Availability & Security For Voice Over Cable Networks" and co-authored the 2008 "Impact of bandwidth demand growth on HFC networks" published by IEEE.

As of July 2008, however, only four scientists remained in physics 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.

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).

Rob Soni was an Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs Fellow in 2009 as cited for work in winning North American customers wireless business and for helping to define 4G wireless networks with transformative system architectures.


The entrance sign to Nokia Bell Labs at the company's headquarters in New Jersey 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.

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.

On May 20, 2014, Michel Combes, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, announced the opening of a Bell Labs location in Tel Aviv, Israel by summer time. The Bell Labs research team would be directed by an Israeli computer scientist and alum of Bell Labs, Danny Raz. The Bell Labs research would be in 'cloud networking' technologies for communications. The location would have approximately twenty academic scientific background employees.

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.

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.

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

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.

Antero Taivalsaari became a Bell Labs Fellow in 2016 for his specific work.

In 2017, Dragan Samardzija was awarded the Bell Labs Fellow.

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


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.

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.

In December 2021, Nokia's Chief Strategy and Technology Officer decided to reorganize Bell Labs in two separate functional organizations: Bell Labs Core Research and Bell Labs Solutions research. Bell Labs Core Research is in charge of creating disruptive technologies with 10-year horizon. Bell Labs Solutions Research, looks for shorter term solutions that can provide growth opportunities for Nokia.

The Nokia 2022 Bell Labs Fellows were recognized on November 29, 2022, in a New Jersey ceremony. Five researchers were inducted to the total of 341 recipients since its inception by AT&T Bell Labs in 1982. One member was from New Jersey, two were from Cambridge, UK, and two were from Finland representing Espoo and Tampere locations.

On December 11, 2023, Nokia announced a state of the art research facility in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The planned relocation of the 80 year old, Murray Hill New Jersey Bell Labs facility would take place before 2028. The new building would be LEED Gold certified. The Murray Hill location has had iconic research of various historical innovations for AT&T Corp., Lucent Technologies, Alcatel-Lucent, and Nokia.

Nobel Prize, Turing Award, IEEE Medal of Honor

Ten Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.

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

First awarded in 1917, the IEEE Medal of Honor is the highest form of recognition by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The IEEE Medal of Honor has been won 22 times by Bell Labs researchers.

Emmy Awards, Grammy Award, and Academy Award

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

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.

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


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. 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, 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:


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

Notable alumni

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.
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.
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 and a mechanism for handoff in cellular communication (1972). Received the * National Medal of Technology (1993). Inducted into the * National Inventors Hall of Fame (2008).
Arthur Ashkin Has been considered 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.
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 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.
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.
Clyde G. Bethea
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. 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)
Donald P. Ling Staff at BTL. In 1954, co-author of "Command Guidance for a Ballistic Missile". Vice president of Bell Labs and, in 1970, president of Bellcom, Inc. Retirement was 1971.
Don McMillan Former engineer at Murray Hill location for the world's first 32-bit microprocessor.
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 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 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 Time Division Multiplexing: Patent US2917583A Time separation communication system.
George E. Smith Lead 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 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.
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.
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.
Ian Munro Ross
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 West Joined Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1957 and holds more than 250 U.S. and foreign patents. One important patent is foil electret microphone with Gerhard M. Sessler.
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".
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.
Walter A. MacNair Electrical engineer from 1929 to 1952. Also, worked at Consolidated Electrodynamics Corp. Associated with NASA projects as Aerospace Officials.
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. 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.
Louis Brus In 1972, began a 23-year career at AT&T Bell Labs in the studies of nanocrystals. Professor Emeritus at Columbia University. A 2023 Nobel Prize Laureate of Chemistry for quantum dots.
Lloyd Espenschied In 1910, worked for AT&T and worked on designing loading coils. In 1915, at Arlington, Virginia location, participated on the transoceanic radio telephone experiments using vacuum tube transmitter. Member of Development and Research Department at Bell Telephone Laboratories, worked on early carrier transmission system in the 1920s. Worked with Maurice E. Strieby on the 1929 Phoenixville, Pennsylvania cable experiments. Co-inventor with Herman Alfred Affel on wide-band coaxial cable system. Inventor of the radio altimeter, successfully demonstrated in 1938. Patent holder of about 130 inventions and IRE Member of Honor in 1940. Retired in 1954 and collection of his papers are in the National Museum of American History.
Louis John Lanzerotti Physicist with AT&T technical staff and Lucent Technologies Bell Labs, NASA Physical Science Committee, 1975 to 1979; Co-author of Diffusion in Radiation Belts. NASA's Distinguished Public Service Award, 1988 and 1994. Who's Who in America, 2000, 54th Ed. New Providence, NJ and Marquis Who's Who, 1999.
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
Maurice Karnaugh Famous for the Karnaugh map.
Maurice E. Strieby In 1916, joined New York Telephone and served in the Army Signal Corps.. In 1919, returned to AT&T as a member of Development and Research Department. Worked on early carrier transmission system with Lloyd Espenschied. Participated in the 1929 cable experiments at Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Worked in Bell Telephone Laboratories in various positions upon retiring in 1956. Consultant for the cable television systems after retirement. Who's Who in Engineering in 1959. Deceased 1975.
Max Mathews Wrote MUSIC, the first widely used program for sound generation, in 1957.
Melvin J. Kelly Research physicist, director of research in 1934, vice president in 1944, and president from 1951 to 1959. Focused on radar, gunfire control, and bombsights. Retired from BTL and became advisor to NASA Administrator James E. Webb in 1961. Deceased 1971.
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.
Moungi Bawendi Worked at Bell Labs as a summer hire. Louis Brus was his mentor at Bell Labs with nanocrystals. Bawendi's research lead to improved quality and production of quantum dots in 1993. A 2023 Nobel Prize Laureate of Chemistry for quantum dots.
Narain Gehani
Narendra Karmarkar Developed Karmarkar's algorithm.
Neil deGrasse Tyson Summer Intern at Murray Hill Bell Labs. American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator.
Neil Sloane Created the On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.
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.
Robert W. Lucky
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 H. "Bob" Shennum He led the satellite design and launch of Telstar I and II at Bell Labs of New Jersey. Directed the research labs for the next 31 years, started 1954, after his Ph.D. in physics and electrical engineering from California Institute of Technology. During the 60s and 70s lead research units for microwave radio design, mathematical analysis and digital systems design. He managed development of SAFEGUARD missile systems and a lab to research and develop new sources of power. In 1974, received the U.S. Army Citation for Patriotic Civilian Service for his contribution to the SAFEGUARD ABM missile systems. This military work would be from the North Carolina Labs.
Robert W. Wilson Discovered background radiation, with Arno Allan Penzias, originating from the Big Bang and won the Nobel Prize in 1978 for that.
Ron Brachman Later was Director of Artificial Intelligence at DARPA.
Sharon Haynie Developed DuPont's bio-3G product line and adhesives to close wounds.
Shirley Jackson Started in Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1976 as the first African American female with a physics PH.D.. Worked on several areas of theoretical physics that were ground breaking.
Steve Bourne Created the Bourne shell and 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.
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.
Trevor Hastie Known for his contributions to applied statistics, especially in the field of machine learning, data mining, and bioinformatics.
Vernon Stanley Mummert
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.
Walter Lincoln Hawkins Started in Bell Labs, developed sheathing. Polymer Cable Sheath Patent US 2,967,845 National Inventors Hall of Fame.
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.
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 O. Baker
William S. Cleveland Professor of statistics and computer science, previously worked at Bell Labs on the development of S.
William A. Massey Bell Labs in 1977.
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 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.


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 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.

See also


  1. ^ Originally named Bell Telephone Laboratories (1925–1984), then AT&T Bell Laboratories (1984–1996) and Bell Labs Innovations (1996–2007). Currently it is named Nokia Bell Labs.


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