File Size: 4774 KB
Print Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books (March 15, 2012)
Publication Date: March 15, 2012
Born within the 1920's to solve specific problems for the phone company, it will be simple to forget essential a great aspect that was to be able to nearly all of the scientists at Bell Labs. In its early years unichip created solutions for sending lengthy distance phone calls around the country and, eventually, around the world. The cables, amplifiers, and machine tubes they developed have been meant not only to be able to improve phone service but additionally last for decades without having breaking down. Their amazing push for quality handle would influence corporations about the world.
Ultimately a lot more important, however , was the processes put in spot to allow the best researchers freedom to discover. Every thing from trolling colleges regarding the best graduates to be able to designing laboratory spaces to be able to encourage collaboration to offering opportunities for scientists to be able to follow their very own interests would lead an amazing series regarding steps forward: these transistor and radio telescope as well as solar solar panels, satellites, lasers, cellular phone structure, computer technology and much more. (There were failures as well, of course; notably, the Picturephone, where the marketing and advertising failures would presage AT&T's struggles when it was no longer a monopoly. )
The story is inherently fascinating, but Mr. Gertner deserves a lot regarding credit to make a extremely readable book. The very best aspect is how he shows the story through its men and women and places. Numerous small-town boys like Mervin Kelly and the fantastic minds to follow--Bill Shockley, Walter Brattain, Claude Shannon, for example--get plenty of focus from Gertner. Their connections and personalities are the driving force behind the discoveries. He also describes the legendary sites just like the West Street constructing, Murray Hill, and Holmdel and how they led to the success of those that worked there.
Somehow, the work done at Bells Labs is simultaneously among the best/worst known pieces regarding scientific history. Perhaps due to the fact their work was done underneath the auspices of the corporation it is often somewhat passed over. Mr. Gertner provides done a real service by bringing this essential slice of history to be able to public attention., Well centered on key areas within the Bell Lab within Murray Hill, NJ. Appreciate reading the development regarding the Lab reflecting the background of telecommunication in which the old triad machine tube, switch board etc were used. These stories are fascinating to the old timer like myself who knows the involvement of operators in telecommunication., A fascinating read from the development of the systems that transformed the planet in the 20th century.
Two problems: too wordy and very low coverage of Unix in addition to the C language. The writer at one point addresses Unix as a encoding language. Unix is the software foundation of the web; deserves a little a lot more ink.
Bells Labs was a technologies incubator like we won't see again. Brilliant heads given freedom and sources. This book shows all of us the human side of such giants. Sometimes a glorious destiny, and occasionally a great ignominious crash., The tale of Bell Labs in addition to its influence on technologies developments of the 20th century is a outstanding one. Scientists there both outright invented or created the underlying technology behind the laser, the microwave transmitter, fiber optics, the solar cell, radio astronomy and, most notably, the transistor. One of several famous Labs employees, Claude Shannon is considered the originator regarding information theory, the foundation regarding all modern computing. Just how one institution became accountable for some of the many influential inventions and important technologies in history will be fascinating. What made Bells Labs such a unique intellectual and technological powerhouse? Jon Gertner tries to be able to sift out some clues while taking reader on a well-paced tour regarding Bell Labs' history.
The majority of the publication dwells within the historical story and the seemingly endless string of pivotal technology, weaving in character paintings of their inventors. Many of these stories are mini-adventures within and of themselves: the invention from the transistor or the launching from the 1st successful communications satellite, regarding example. In delving in to the exploits of dozens regarding Bell engineers and theoreticians within the decades it becomes clear that Gertner provides really done his homework, digging up a lot of insider anecdotes from surviving employees members, their colleagues in addition to relatives. All of these sketches equal to a sequence of clues about the Labs' success.
With the blessing from the US authorities, AT&T, Bell Labs' father or mother company, was operated as a monopoly for decades. Remove with the income from your nation's millions of phone subscribers, it had a great enormously deep bank move and could afford to be able to finance fundamental research that has been unlikely to result in beneficial products in the near-term. This is actually the sort of research routine that usually only national government authorities are able to afford to pursue. Analysis investment with a lengthy time horizon is likely to generate lots of ideas which go nowhere. But when you throw a thousands of darts at a focus on, the likelihood that one of them is a bullseye is pretty good. Bells Labs scored a great deal of bullseyes.
Another contributor to their success had been the quality of the talent that they hired and the atmosphere regarding intellectual freedom that their particular management deliberately created. It's not unlike a huge research university, but the university in which just about all of the researchers will work towards a common aim: making communications more successful. If that means materials technology research, chemistry research or investigations in to the nascent discipline of solid state physics, as long as there was a connection to communications and an eventual payoff, all kinds of pursuits could become funded.
One interesting small tangent covered is the failure of the PicturePhone, the world's first desk top video conferencing method. The technology to help to make this type of service feasible in fact existed in the late 1960s and several initial systems were installed but the systems were never prosperous. It's not that the technology was difficult to be able to use or it turned out unreliable, it' s just that this was a solution to be able to a need that failed to exist. Customers were completely happy to be unseen when conversing on the phone. Even AT&T may make a important misstep.
In the end, in spite of its illustrious history regarding invention, Bell Laboratories started to be a victim of both its own success in addition to changing economic times. AT&T struggled to hold on to its monopoly status for decades and maintained to dodge the bullet many times in the early and mid 20th century, but by the time the 1970s came, government officials were less inspired to see telephone as a system requiring complete uniformity under the handle of a single learn. Second, Bell Labs experienced so perfected the art of high-speed, high-volume, high-reliability communication it had small room left to leader ground-breaking technologies. Telecommunications have been born and matured to be able to adulthood under AT&T's safety wing for a hundred many years. The forced breakup regarding the Bell system basically guaranteed the dissolution in addition to slow fade of the once mighty Bell Laboratories., The book talks regarding the men at Bells Labs who made points happen, which it should deservedly do. I was individually hoping for a publication that focused more significantly into the Projects by themselves, such as the development of the antenna that 'listened' regarding the Big Bang, etc. The book is nicely done, but wasn't just what I was looking regarding., Wonderfull history of one regarding the most crucial professional labs regarding the 20th Century. This book deserves a place on any bookshelf devoted to be able to 29th Century technology., Very detailed record following several of the major men and women through their careers at Bell Labs. However, the anecdotes are not always enough to prevent the narrative from feeling dry out.
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