MULTIMEDIA

rss
1 of 8

Once Mighty Bell Labs Leaves Behind Transistor, Laser, 6 Nobels

By Priya Ganapati Write to the Author   
08.28.08

Bell Labs' decision to abandon basic physics research marks the end of a brilliant chapter for the iconic institution. Many of the Labs' most famous discoveries, such as the transistor and the laser, originated in fundamental physics and have gone on to transform computing and technology.

They also brought Bell Labs international glory, including six Nobel Prizes in Physics, starting in 1937 when researcher Clinton Davisson shared the Nobel for demonstrating the wave nature of matter.

The lab will now focus on areas such as networking, high-speed electronics, wireless, nanotechnology and software -- fields that are likely to offer a more immediate payback for parent company Alcatel-Lucent.

As we say goodbye to one of the last bastions of basic research within the corporate world, we celebrate Bell Labs' greatest achievements in physics.

Left: Bell Labs' Holmdel, New Jersey-based facility was home to basic physics research. Designed by architect Eero Saarinen and built in 1962, the landmark building once housed 6,000 employees. It now stands empty and neglected. Alcatel-Lucent has sold the building to a developer who plans to transform the complex into a mixed-use residential, office and retail space.

Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger

1 - 8 of 8 images