Saturday, July 31, 2010

Language, Logic, and Reality

I REALLY wish we'd lose the words: "Mathematics", "Philosophy", and "Physics" and replace them with the better words that I suggest with this Post's title, in order.

I mean, I have NO problem with the Ancient Greeks, but don't you think it's time we moved on ?!

Consider THIS:

Rather than getting say a sheepskin that says:

"Doctor of Philosophy in Physics"

How much cooler would it be to get a sheepskin that says ...

"Doctor of Logic in Reality" ?

I think, it would be totally more descriptive.

More examples and in toto, minus the details:


Mathematics ===> Language

- Mathematics is THE ULTIMATE language. Name a better one. You can't, can you?

Philosophy ===> Logic

Physics ===> Reality

Let the Greeks go. We will always love them and nothing will change that, but ... let the Wookie win.

My two cents.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Curious Mirror

Mathematician Barry Mazur authored a book entitled Imagining Numbers: (particularly the square root of minus fifteen) (ISBN 0-374-17469-5) . Farrar, Straus and Giroux published the book in 2003. A purpose of the book, apparently, is to show that mathematics in human society is durative by nature.

In the preface, Mazur describes the target audience of the book as follows.

This written for people who have no training in mathematics and who may not have actively thought about mathematics since high school, or even during it, but who may wish to experience an act of mathematical imagining and to consider how such an experience compares with the imaginative work involved in reading and understanding a phrase in a poem.

In the conclusion, Mazur provides a window onto the value of mathematics for human endeavour:

The number i = √-1 is identified with the point whose coordinates are (0,1); that is, with the point 1 unit north of the origin. Recall that we chose to view "multiplication by √-1" as a rotation by 90 degrees counterclockwise about the origin. A good test of whether we have understood this passage from complex numbers to points on the plane is to ask ourselves what would be different if we had identified "multiplication by √-1" as a rotation of the plane 90 degrees clockwise; or, what would be the same, 270 degrees counterclockwise? The brief answer here is that nothing whatsoever would change, except for the curious fact that i would be playing the role that -i plays in our identification, -i would be playing the role that i plays, and more generally, the complex number a - bi would be playing the role that a + bi plays. Behind this lies a surprise, and a curious mirror. There is no intrinsic (algebraic) way of distinguishing +√-1 from -√-1. Each of them, of course, is a square root of -1. The only distinction between them is given by their names, and our choosing to put +i north of the origin and -i south of it. We could have reversed our choice, provided we kept track of that, and worked consistently with this other choice. These entities, +i and -i, are twins, and the only breaking of their symmetry comes from the way in which we name them. Imagine the analogous moment when parents of newly born identical twins choose names for their two children, thereby making the first, and immensely important, distinction between them. A reader of an early draft of this book asked why I called +i and -i twins, but did not, for example, call +1 and -1 twins. Here is why. The number +1 is distinguished from the number -1 by some purely algebraic property (for example, it is equal to its square), while there is no analogous property, described entirely in terms of addition and multiplication, that distinguishes +i from -i and yet does not, either directly or indirectly, make use of the names we gave to them. The complex numbers a + bi and a - bi are called conjugates. And the act of "conjugation"—that is, passing from a complex number to its conjugate (or equivalently, reversing the sign of the imaginary part of a complex number)—is a basic symmetry of the complex number system. There are other number systems that admit a bewildering collection of symmetries, of internal mirrors. One of the great challenges to modern algebra is to understand, and use, these internal mirrors.

Barry Mazur, Imagining Numbers (Particularly the Square Root of Minus Fifteen), Chapter 12, pp215-7

Groups (1) - Gross Introduction

Groups (1)

Group Theory

In mathematics and abstract algebra, group theory studies the algebraic structures known as groups. The concept of a group is central to abstract algebra: other well-known algebraic structures, such as rings, fields, and vector spaces can all be seen as groups endowed with additional operations and axioms. Groups recur throughout mathematics, and the methods of group theory have strongly influenced many parts of algebra. Linear algebraic groups and Lie groups are two branches of group theory that have experienced tremendous advances and have become subject areas in their own right.

Various physical systems, such as crystals and the hydrogen atom, can be modelled by symmetry groups. Thus group theory and the closely related representation theory have many applications in physics and chemistry.

One of the most important mathematical achievements of the 20th century was the collaborative effort, taking up more than 10,000 journal pages and mostly published between 1960 and 1980, that culminated in a complete classification of finite simple groups.

Symmetry group

The symmetry group of an object (image, signal, etc.) is the group of all isometries under which it is invariant with composition as the operation. It is a subgroup of the isometry group of the space concerned.

If not stated otherwise, this article considers symmetry groups in Euclidean geometry, but the concept may also be studied in wider contexts.

Representation Theory

Representation theory is a branch of mathematics that studies abstract algebraic structures by representing their elements as linear transformations of vector spaces.[1] In essence, a representation makes an abstract algebraic object more concrete by describing its elements by matrices and the algebraic operations in terms of matrix addition and matrix multiplication. The algebraic objects amenable to such a description include groups, associative algebras and Lie algebras. The most prominent of these (and historically the first) is the representation theory of groups, in which elements of a group are represented by invertible matrices in such a way that the group operation is matrix multiplication.[2]

Representation theory is a powerful tool because it reduces problems in abstract algebra to problems in linear algebra, which is well understood.[3] Furthermore, the vector space on which a group (for example) is represented can be infinite dimensional, and by allowing it to be, for instance, a Hilbert space, methods of analysis can be applied to the theory of groups.[4] Representation theory is also important in physics because, for example, it describes how the symmetry group of a physical system affects the solutions of equations describing that system.[5]

A striking feature of representation theory is its pervasiveness in mathematics. There are two sides to this. First, the applications of representation theory are diverse:[6] in addition to its impact on algebra, representation theory illuminates and vastly generalizes Fourier analysis via harmonic analysis,[7] is deeply connected to geometry via invariant theory and the Erlangen program,[8] and has a profound impact in number theory via automorphic forms and the Langlands program.[9] The second aspect is the diversity of approaches to representation theory. The same objects can be studied using methods from algebraic geometry, module theory, analytic number theory, differential geometry, operator theory and topology.[10]

The success of representation theory has led to numerous generalizations. One of the most general is a categorical one.[11] The algebraic objects to which representation theory applies can be viewed as particular kinds of categories, and the representations as functors from the object category to the category of vector spaces. This description points to two obvious generalizations: first, the algebraic objects can be replaced by more general categories; second the target category of vector spaces can be replaced by other well-understood categories.

Group Representation

n the mathematical field of representation theory, group representations describe abstract groups in terms of linear transformations of vector spaces; in particular, they can be used to represent group elements as matrices so that the group operation can be represented by matrix multiplication. Representations of groups are important because they allow many group-theoretic problems to be reduced to problems in linear algebra, which is well-understood. They are also important in physics because, for example, they describe how the symmetry group of a physical system affects the solutions of equations describing that system.

The term representation of a group is also used in a more general sense to mean any "description" of a group as a group of transformations of some mathematical object. More formally, a "representation" means a homomorphism from the group to the automorphism group of an object. If the object is a vector space we have a linear representation. Some people use realization for the general notion and reserve the term representation for the special case of linear representations. The bulk of this article describes linear representation theory; see the last section for generalizations.

(To be continued ... feel free to offer suggestions as to direction)

From various Wikipedia entries

Friday, July 23, 2010

Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Carbon !

One day after being completely frustrated with the incorrectness of our current state of knowledge of Astronomy, my faith has been restored, here.


C60 with isosurface of ground state electron density as calculated with DFT
Many association footballs are models of the Buckminsterfullerene C60


Buckminsterfullerene (IUPAC name (C60-Ih)[5,6]fullerene) is the smallest fullerene molecule in which no two pentagons share an edge (which can be destabilizing, as in pentalene). It is also the most common in terms of natural occurrence, as it can often be found in soot.

The structure of C60 is a truncated (T = 3) icosahedron, which resembles a soccer ball of the type made of twenty hexagons and twelve pentagons, with a carbon atom at the vertices of each polygon and a bond along each polygon edge.

The van der Waals diameter of a C60 molecule is about 1 nanometer (nm). The nucleus to nucleus diameter of a C60 molecule is about 0.71 nm.

The C60 molecule has two bond lengths. The 6:6 ring bonds (between two hexagons) can be considered "double bonds" and are shorter than the 6:5 bonds (between a hexagon and a pentagon). Its average bond length is 1.4 angstroms.

Silicon buckyballs have been created around metal ions.

Boron buckyball

A new type of buckyball utilizing boron atoms instead of the usual carbon has been predicted and described in 2007. The B80 structure, with each atom forming 5 or 6 bonds, is predicted to be more stable than the C60 buckyball.[13] One reason for this given by the researchers is that the B-80 is actually more like the original geodesic dome structure popularized by Buckminster Fuller which utilizes triangles rather than hexagons. However, this work has been subject to much criticism by quantum chemists[14][15] as it was concluded that the predicted Ih symmetric structure was vibrationally unstable and the resulting cage undergoes a spontaneous symmetry break yielding a puckered cage with rare Th symmetry (symmetry of a volleyball).[14] The number of six atom rings in this molecule is 20 and number of five member rings is 12. There is an additional atom in the center of each six member ring, bonded to each atom surrounding it.

Variations of buckyballs

Another fairly common buckminsterfullerene is C70,[16] but fullerenes with 72, 76, 84 and even up to 100 carbon atoms are commonly obtained.

In mathematical terms, the structure of a fullerene is a trivalent convex polyhedron with pentagonal and hexagonal faces. In graph theory, the term fullerene refers to any 3-regular, planar graph with all faces of size 5 or 6 (including the external face). It follows from Euler's polyhedron formula, |V|-|E|+|F| = 2, (where |V|, |E|, |F| indicate the number of vertices, edges, and faces), that there are exactly 12 pentagons in a fullerene and |V|/2-10 hexagons.

Graph of 20-fullerene w-nodes.svg Graph of 26-fullerene 5-base w-nodes.svg Graph of 60-fullerene w-nodes.svg Graph of 70-fullerene w-nodes.svg
(dodecahedral graph)
26-fullerene graph 60-fullerene
(truncated icosahedral graph)
70-fullerene graph

The smallest fullerene is the dodecahedron – the unique C20. There are no fullerenes with 22 vertices.[17] The number of fullerenes C2n grows with increasing n = 12,13,14..., roughly in proportion to n9 (sequence A007894 in OEIS). For instance, there are 1812 non-isomorphic fullerenes C60. Note that only one form of C60, the buckminsterfullerene alias truncated icosahedron, has no pair of adjacent pentagons (the smallest such fullerene). To further illustrate the growth, there are 214,127,713 non-isomorphic fullerenes C200, 15,655,672 of which have no adjacent pentagons.

Trimetasphere carbon nanomaterials were discovered by researchers at Virginia Tech and licensed exclusively to Luna Innovations. This class of novel molecules comprises 80 carbon atoms (C80) forming a sphere which encloses a complex of three metal atoms and one nitrogen atom. These fullerenes encapsulate metals which puts them in the subset referred to as metallofullerenes. Trimetaspheres have the potential for use in diagnostics (as safe imaging agents), therapeutics and in organic solar cells.[citation needed]

From the Wikipedia entry on Fullerenes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

265 Times Bigger Than Our Sun

This is why Astronomy disappoints. See that big star? Astronomers told us it couldn't exist. Except it does exist. They said the largest star could only only be 150x as large as our Sun.


Theoretical Physicists also told us that the Proton was a certain size, except they just found out it's 4% smaller than their equations predicted.

Also wrong.

So if the Astronomers disappoint, and the Theoretical Physicists do too, then where the hell is there any hope whatsoever for our species?

I'm no Einstein, and Einstein was no Gauss, but unfortunately for us all, we have neither.

Have a nice day, but honestly? We may be better off spending our days watching stuff like this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this, good ol' blue eyes:

And finally and adieu, our homage to St. John and St. Paul:

Aw, what the heck. There's always Mathematics, and plenty of work to be done in that field.

And for extra credit ...

007 "The one who gets Bond is the one who gets to stay alive!"

And finally this, because everyone likes Paulina:


A 2-state 2-color turmite on a square grid. Starting from an empty grid, after 8342 steps the turmite (a red pixel) has exhibited both chaotic and regular movement phases.

In computer science, a turmite is a Turing machine which has an orientation as well as a current state and a "tape" that consists of an infinite two-dimensional grid of cells. The terms ant and vant are also used. Langton's ant is a well-known type of turmite defined on the cells of a square grid. Paterson's worms are a type of turmite defined on the edges of an isometric grid.

It has been shown that turmites in general are exactly equivalent in power to one-dimensional Turing machines with an infinite tape, as either can simulate the other.



Langton's ants were invented in 1986 and declared "equivalent to Turing machines".[1] Independently, in 1988, Allen H. Brady considered the idea of two-dimensional Turing machines with an orientation and called them "TurNing machines".[2][3]

Apparently independently of both of these[4], Greg Turk investigated the same kind of system and wrote to A. K. Dewdney about them. A. K. Dewdney named them "tur-mites" in his "Computer Recreations" column in Scientific American in 1989.[5] Rudy Rucker relates the story as follows:

Dewdney reports that, casting about for a name for Turk's creatures, he thought, "Well, they're Turing machines studied by Turk, so they should be tur-something. And they're like little insects, or mites, so I'll call them tur-mites! And that sounds like termites!" With the kind permission of Turk and Dewdney, I'm going to leave out the hyphen, and call them turmites.
—Rudy Rucker, Artificial Life Lab[4]

Relative vs. Absolute Turmites

Turmites can be categorised as being either relative or absolute. Relative turmites, alternatively known as 'Turning machines', have an internal orientation. Langton's Ant is such an example. Relative turmites are, by definition, isotropic; rotating the turmite does not affect its outcome. Relative turmites are so named because the directions are encoded relative to the current orientation, equivalent to using the words 'left' or 'backwards'. Absolute turmites, by comparison, encode their directions in absolute terms: a particular instruction may direct the turmite to move 'North'. Absolute turmites are two-dimensional analogues of conventional Turing machines, so are occasionally referred to as simply "Two-dimensional Turing machines". The remainder of this article is concerned with the relative case.


Turmites have been investigated on square, triangular and hexagonal tilings. Much of this work is due to Tim Hutton, and his results are on the Rule Table Repository. He has also considered Turmites in three dimensions, and collected some preliminary results. Allen H. Brady and Tim Hutton have also investigated one-dimensional relative turmites on the integer lattice, which Brady termed flippers.


The following specification is specific to turmites on a two-dimensional square grid, the most studied type of turmite. Turmites on other grids can be specified in a similar fashion.

As with Langton's ant, turmites perform the following operations each timestep:

  1. turn on the spot (by some multiple of 90°)
  2. change the color of the square
  3. move forward one square

As with Turing machines, the actions are specified by a state transition table listing the current internal state of the turmite and the color of the cell it is currently standing on. For example, the turmite shown in the image at the top of this page is specified by the following table:

Current color
0 1
Write color Turn Next state Write color Turn Next state
Current state 0 1 R 0 1 R 1
1 0 N 0 0 N 1

The direction to turn is one of L (90° left), R (90° right), N (no turn) and U (180° U-turn).


Starting from an empty grid or other configurations, the most commonly observed behaviours are chaotic growth, spiral growth and 'highway' construction. Rare examples become periodic after a certain number of steps.

Turmites and the Busy Beaver game

Allen H. Brady searched for terminating turmites (the equivalent of busy beavers) and found a 2-state 2-color machine that printed 37 1's before halting, and another that took 121 steps before halting.[3] He also considered turmites that move on a triangular grid, finding several busy beavers here too.

Ed Pegg, Jr. considered another approach to the busy beaver game. He suggested turmites that can turn for example both left and right, splitting in two. Turmites that later meet annihilate each other. In this system, a Busy Beaver is one that from a starting pattern of a single turmite lasts the longest before all the turmites annihilate each other.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Langton, Chris G. (1986). "Studying artificial life with cellular automata". Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena 22 (1-3): 120–149.
  2. ^ Brady, Allen H. (1988). "The Busy Beaver Game and the Meaning of Life". in Rolf Herken. The Universal Turing Machine: A Half-Century Survey. Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0198537417.
  3. ^ a b Brady, Allen H. (1995). "The Busy Beaver Game and the Meaning of Life". in Rolf Herken. The Universal Turing Machine: A Half-Century Survey (2nd ed.). Springer-Verlag. pp. 237-254. ISBN 3211826378.
  4. ^ a b Rucker, Rudy. "Artificial Life Lab". Retrieved October 16, 2009.
  5. ^ Dewdney, A. K. (September 1989). "Two-dimensional Turing machines and Turmites make tracks on a plane". Scientific American: 180-183.
  6. ^ Pegg, Jr., Ed. "Math Puzzle". Retrieved 15 October 2009.

External links

Bell Labs

Bell Laboratories (also known as Bell Labs and formerly known as AT&T Bell Laboratories and Bell Telephone Laboratories) is the research and development organization of Alcatel-Lucent and previously of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T).

Bell Laboratories operates its headquarters at Murray Hill, New Jersey, and has research and development facilities throughout the world.


Origin and historical locations

Early namesake

Bell's 1893 Volta Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

The Alexander Graham Bell Laboratory, also variously known as the Volta Bureau, the Bell Carriage House, the Bell Laboratory and the Volta Laboratory, was created in Washington, D.C. by Alexander Graham Bell.

In 1880, the French government awarded Bell the Volta Prize of 50,000 francs for the invention of the telephone, which he used to found the Volta Laboratory, along with Sumner Tainter and Bell's cousin Chichester Bell.[1] His research laboratory focused on the analysis, recording and transmission of sound. Bell used his considerable profits from the laboratory for further research and education to permit the "[increased] diffusion of knowledge relating to the deaf".[1]

The Volta Laboratory and the Volta Bureau were earlier located at Bell's father's house at 1527 35th Street in Washington, D.C., where its carriage house became their headquarters in 1889.[1] In 1893 Bell constructed a new building (close by at 1537 35th St.) specifically to house it.[1] The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972.[2][3][4]

Early antecedent

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

Formal organization

In 1925 Western Electric Research Laboratories and part of the engineering department of the American Telephone & Telegraph company (AT&T) were consolidated to form Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., as a separate entity. The first president of research was Frank B. Jewett, who stayed there until 1940. The ownership of Bell Laboratories was evenly split between AT&T and the Western Electric Company. Its principal work was to design and support the equipment that Western Electric built for Bell System operating companies, including telephone exchange switches. Support work for the phone companies included the writing and maintaining of the Bell System Practices (BSP), a comprehensive series of technical manuals. Bell Labs also carried out consulting work for the Bell Telephone Companies, and U.S. government work, including Project Nike and the Apollo program. A few workers were assigned to basic research, and this attracted much attention, especially since they produced several Nobel Prize winners. Until the 1940s, the company's principal locations were in and around the Bell Labs Building in New York City, but many of these were moved to New York suburban areas of New Jersey.

Among the later Bell Laboratories locations in New Jersey were Murray Hill, Holmdel, New Jersey, Crawford Hill, New Jersey, the Deal Test Site, Freehold, New Jersey, Lincroft, Long Branch, Middletown, Princeton, Piscataway, Red Bank, and Whippany, New Jersey. Of these, Murray Hill, Crawford Hill, and Whippany remain in existence. 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 Columbus, Ohio, North Andover, Massachusetts, Allentown, Pennsylvania, Reading, Pennsylvania, and Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, Burlington, North Carolina (1950's-1970's, moved to Greensboro 1980's) and Westminster, Colorado. Since 2001, many of the former locations have been scaled down, or shut down entirely.

Discoveries and developments

Bell Laboratories logo, used from 1969 until 1983

At its peak, Bell Laboratories was the premier facility of its type, developing a wide range of revolutionary technologies, including radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, information theory, the UNIX operating system, the C programming language and the C++ programming language. Seven Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.[5]


During its first year of operation, facsimile (fax) transmission, invented elsewhere, was first demonstrated publicly by the Bell Laboratories. In 1926, the laboratories invented the first synchronous-sound motion picture system.[6]

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

In 1927, a long-distance television transmission of images of the Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover from Washington to New York was successful, and in 1928 the thermal noise in a resistor was first measured by John B. Johnson, and Harry Nyquist provided the theoretical analysis. (This is referred to as "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 1933, stereo signals were transmitted live from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. In 1937, the vocoder, the first electronic speech synthesizer was invented and demonstrated by Homer Dudley. 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. 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 January 1940, for doing calculations of complex numbers. See George Stibitz.
  • Model II - Relay Calculator or Relay Interpolator, September 1943, for aiming anti-aircraft guns
  • Model III - Ballistic Computer, June 1944, for calculations of ballistic trajectories
  • Model IV - Bell Laboratories Relay Calculator, March 1945, a second Ballistic Computer
  • Model V - Bell Laboratories General Purpose Relay Calculator, of which two were built, July 1946 and February 1947, which were general-purpose programmable computers using electromechanical relays
  • Model VI - November 1950, an enhanced Model V


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


In 1960, Dawon Kahng and Martin Atalla invented the metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET); the MOSFET has achieved electronic hegemony and sustains the large-scale integrated circuits (LSIs) underlying today's information society. In 1962, the electret microphone was invented by Gerhard M. Sessler and James Edward Maceo West. In 1964, the Carbon dioxide laser was invented by Kumar Patel. In 1965, Penzias and Wilson discovered the Cosmic Microwave Background, and won the Nobel Prize in 1978. Frank W. Sinden, Edward E. Zajac, and Kenneth C. Knowlton made computer-animated movies during the early to mid 1960s. In 1966, Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (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, the UNIX operating system was created by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson. The Charge-coupled device (CCD) was invented in 1969 by Willard Boyle and George E. Smith. In the 1960s, the New York City site was sold and became the Westbeth Artists Community complex.


The C programming language was developed at Bell Laboratories in 1970

The 1970s and 1980s saw more and more computer-related inventions at the Bell Laboratories as part of the personal computing revolution. In 1970 Dennis Ritchie developed the compiled C programming language as a replacement for the interpretive B for use in writing the UNIX operating system (also developed at Bell Laboratories). The original version of UNIX awk was designed and implemented by Alfred Aho, Peter Weinberger, and Brian Kernighan of Bell Laboratories.

In 1970, A. Michael Noll patented a tactile, force-feedback system, coupled with interactive stereoscopic computer display. In 1971, an improved task priority system for computerized switching systems for telephone traffic was invented by Erna Schneider Hoover, who received one of the first software patents for it. In 1976, Fiber optics 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 the floor space required. The new ESS also came with its own diagnostic software that required only a switchman and several frame technicians to maintain. The technology was often touted in the Bell Labs Technical Journals and Western Electric magazine (WE People).[citation needed]


Bell Laboratories logo, used from 1984 until 1995

In 1980, the TDMA and CDMA digital cellular telephone technology was patented. In 1982, Fractional quantum Hall effect was discovered by Horst Störmer and former Bell Laboratories researchers Robert B. Laughlin and Daniel C. Tsui; they consequently won a Nobel Prize in 1998 for the discovery. In 1983, the C++ programming language was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup as an extension to the original C programming language also developed at Bell Laboratories.

In 1984, the first photoconductive antennas for picosecond electromagnetic radiation were demonstrated by Auston et al. This type of antenna now becomes an important component in terahertz time-domain spectroscopy. In 1984, the Karmarkar Linear Programming Algorithm was developed by mathematician Narendra Karmarkar. Also in 1984, a divestiture agreement signed in 1982 with the American Federal government forced the break-up of AT&T: Bellcore (now Telcordia Technologies) was split off from Bell Laboratories to provide the same R&D functions for the newly created local exchange carriers. AT&T also was limited to using the Bell trademark only in association with Bell Laboratories. Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., was then renamed AT&T Bell Laboratories, Inc., and 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. Also in 1985, Bell Laboratories was awarded the National Medal of Technology "For contribution over decades to modern communication systems". During the 1980s, the Plan 9 operating system was developed as a replacement for Unix which was also developed at Bell Laboratories in 1969. Development of the Radiodrum, a three dimensional electronic instrument. In 1988, TAT-8 became the first fiber optic transatlantic cable.


Lucent Logo, bearing the "Bell Labs Innovations" tagline

In 1990, WaveLAN, the first wireless local area network (WLAN) was developed at Bell Laboratories. Wireless network technology would not become popular until the late 1990s and was first demonstrated in 1995.[dubious ] Also in 1990, the AMPL modeling language was developed by Robert Fourer, David M. Gay and Brian W. Kernighan at Bell Laboratories. In 1991, the 56K modem technology was patented by Nuri Dağdeviren and his team. In 1994, the quantum cascade laser was invented by Federico Capasso, Alfred Cho, Jerome Faist, Deborah Sivco, and Al Hutchinson and was later greatly improved by the innovations of Claire Gmachl. 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 Inferno operating system, an update of Plan 9, was created by Dennis Ritchie with others, using the new concurrent Limbo programming language. A high performance database engine (Dali) was developed which became DataBlitz in its product form.

AT&T spun off Bell Laboratories, along with most of its equipment-manufacturing business, into a new company named Lucent Technologies. AT&T retained a smaller number of researchers, who made up the staff of the newly-created AT&T Laboratories. In 1997, the smallest practical transistor (60 nanometers, 182 atoms wide) was built. In 1998, the first optical router was invented[dubious ] and the first combination of voice and data traffic on an Internet Protocol (IP) network was developed at the Laboratories.[citation needed]


Logo of Alcatel-Lucent, holding the Bell Labs now

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 Nanotechnology Laboratory was created at Murray Hill, New Jersey.[7]

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

In April 2006, Bell Laboratories's 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, with an American board was set up to manage Bell Laboratories' and Lucent's sensitive U.S. Government contracts.

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

As of July 2008, however, only four scientists remained in physics basic research according to a report by the scientific journal Nature.[8]

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.[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Bruce, Robert V. Bell: Alexander Bell and the Conquest of Solitude. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-80149691-8.
  2. ^ "Volta Bureau". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  3. ^ Unsigned (Undated), National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Volta Bureau PDF ( 223 KB), National Park Service and Accompanying three photos, exterior, from 1972PDF (920 KB)
  4. ^ "Volta Laboratory & Bureau". Washington D.C. National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  5. ^ List of Awards
  6. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Article
  7. ^ New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium. Profile
  8. ^ Geoff Brumfiel. "Access : Bell Labs bottoms out : Nature News". Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  9. ^ Ganapati, Priya (2008-08-27). "Bell Labs Kills Fundamental Physics Research". Wired. Retrieved 2008-08-28.

External links