The discoveries made at Bell Laboratories, the research organization of Alcatel-Lucent, have shown the amazing creative power of the American commercial sector. Their achievements have led to six physics Nobel prizes, for
- demonstrating the wave nature of matter (Davisson 1937)
- transistors (Bardeen, Brattain, Shockley 1956)
- electronic structure of glasses and magnets (Andersson 1977)
- cosmic microwave background (Penzias, Wilson 1978)
- laser-based cooling and trapping of atoms (Chu 1997)
- fractional quantum Hall effect (Stormer, Laughlin, Tsui 1998)
Wow. Besides these rather fundamental breakthroughs, the Bell Labs have developed the radio astronomy, information theory, UNIX operating system, C and C++ programming languages, synchronous sound-motion picture system, long-distance transmission of TV signal, scrambled speech transmission system, photovoltaic cells, complex calculators, electronic music, WLAN, and dozens of other well-known things.
Century 21 calling: a 1962 Bell Labs promo film
It's sad that this powerful physics think tank will be gone. RIP.