The History of Wireless Everything

Halfway between Brooklyn and Montauk, a steel cupola propped up on wooden legs once looked out over the Long Island Sound and beyond the horizon. Built in the first years of the 20th century, Wardenclyffe Tower served as the centrepiece of a real-life mad scientist’s laboratory. Lever pulling, lightning bolts, maniacal laughter—this is where that sort of thing was supposed to happen. And it almost did. Read More >>

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2 Computer Science Profs + 1 Room + 30 Minutes of Conversation = Geek Gold

Professor Brian Kernighan is computing heavyweight: he worked at Bell Labs, helped develop Unix and was one of two authors of the C programming language. Here, he talks with one of the UK’s foremost computer science professors, Professor David Brailsford. Time to geek out. Read More >>

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Beautiful Video Explains How Light’s Been Harnessed For Communication

Whether you have fibre supplying internet access to your home or not, you use optical systems to send and receive information every single day. This stunning video takes a look at the scientists and engineers that have enabled light to be used for human communication. Read More >>

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What it Was Like to Work at the Birthplace of Mobile Phones and Lasers

A semi-rural New Jersey community about 45 miles outside of New York City seems like an unlikely home for the most important breakthroughs in telecommunications of the 20th century. But that’s exactly what happened at Bell Labs’ Holmdel facility in the 1960s. Read More >>

Bell Labs Could Send Sign Language Over The Phone – in 1979

Back in the good ‘ole days before the internet and Yo and Meerkat and Snapchat, we had one way to talk to people in faraway lands: the telephone. But a microphone and speaker aren’t much use if you’re hearing impaired. Read More >>

How Bell Labs is Reinventing the Future all Over Again

In 1964, a pair of Bell Labs researchers in New Jersey pointed the world's largest radio telescope to the skies and unwittingly stumbled upon one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th Century: cosmic background radiation. We talked with the legendary physicist behind that breakthrough to find out more—and with the president of Bell Labs to see what the future holds for one of our finest research institutions. Read More >>

Cameras in the Future Might Not Need Lenses

Every camera you've ever used in your life has a lens that focuses incoming photons on to a light-sensitive surface. But in the future, cameras might not need lenses at all, and this Bell Labs prototype illustrates how this could be done for cheap. Read More >>

The Mobile Phone Turns 40 Today

Forty years ago today, senior Motorola engineer Marty Cooper made one very important phone call. From midtown Manhattan, Marty called Joel Engel, then the head of rival research department Bell Labs. When Joel picked up, Marty uttered something rather unexpected: "Joel, this is Marty. I'm calling you from a cellphone, a real handheld portable cellphone." Read More >>

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The Holmdel Horn: The Most Important Radio Antenna Ever

In 1964, two researchers at Bell Telephone Laboratories were desperately attempting to pin down a source of interference that their antenna kept encountering. Little did they know that their antenna, the Holmdel Horn, was picking up the first observable evidence of the Big Bang—cosmic background radiation. Read More >>