Wired: Bell Labs Kills Fundamental Physics Research

Another shitty move by (Alcatel-)Lucent, who wrecked Bell Labs and blew all of my stock money…


Bell Labs Kills Fundamental Physics Research

By Priya Ganapati

After six Nobel Prizes, the invention of the transistor, laser and countless contributions to computer science and technology, it is the end of the road for Bell Labs’ fundamental physics research lab.

Alcatel-Lucent, the parent company of Bell Labs, is pulling out of basic science, material physics and semiconductor research and will instead be focusing on more immediately marketable areas such as networking, high-speed electronics, wireless, nanotechnology and software.

The idea is to align the research work in the Lab closer to areas that the parent company is focusing on, says Peter Benedict, spokesperson for Bell Labs and Alcatel-Lucent Ventures.

“In the new innovation model, research needs to keep addressing the need of the mother company,” he says.

That view is shortsighted and may drastically curtail the Labs’ ability to come up with truly innovative discoveries, respond critics.

“Fundamental physics is absolutely crucial to computing,” says Mike Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society. “Say in the case of integrated circuits, there were many, many small steps that occurred along the way resulting from decades worth of work in matters of physics.”

(continued at http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/08/bell-labs-kills.html)

In case you weren’t previously aware, here’s a list of some of the great inventions to come out of Bell Labs in the past:

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, and the C programming language. There have been six Nobel Prizes awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories. [1]


Yes, that’s the transistor, the laser, UNIX, and the C programming language, let alone everything else they invented.

Thanks again, (Alcatel-)Lucent. Great job. 😦

Wired News: Gallery of Sawn-In-Half Cameras

Great article from Wired News about a unique German gallery:


Yesterday I took a trip to the Deutshes Technikmuseum Berlin, an oddity of a place containing all manner of weird and wonderful German technology, from a yard full of locomotives to an exhibition on cutlery and plates from railway dining cars. Unlike many science museums, the DTB doesn’t have a whole lot of interactive exhibits — just a few push buttons here and there — but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t full of screaming kids on a Sunday.

What it does have, though, is an amazing collection of historical German camera gear. The exhibit is full of retro gadgets, as you’ll see below, but the most interesting to me were the bisected lenses and cameras, the insides of which show the precision of a CAD drawing. Read on to see sawn-off gadgets, the origin of digital cameras and a secret doorway just for horses.

(via Gallery of Sawn-In-Half Cameras)