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Bell Laboratories, which thrived from the 1920s to the 1980s, was arguably the most innovative research and development organization of the 20th century. Long before America's brightest scientific minds began migrating west to Silicon Valley, they flocked to the Bell Labs campuses in the New Jersey suburbs. The Labs' mission was to simultaneously think long term (about the future of human communications) and short term (about the immediate needs of AT&T's ever expanding system for transmitting calls and data). As such, Bell Labs was both a citadel of creative scholarship and a repository of state-of-the-art engineering. Jon Gertner explores Bell Labs' unique innovative process as well as its role in creating the most important technologies of our time —including  lasers, transistors, communications satellites, and more. 

Anyone outside NIST wishing to attend must be sponsored by a NIST employee and receive a visitor badge. For more information, contact Stephanie Shaw at 301-975-2667. Colloquia are videotaped and available in the NIST Research Library.

Jon Gertner, Editor-at-Large, Fast Company

Created December 28, 2012, Updated January 5, 2017