Seminar Details

Thirty Years in the Idea Factory

Alice White, Boston University
Thursday, April 24, 4:10 PM - Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
Biomedical & Physical Sciences Bldg., Rm. 1415

Jon Gertner's wonderful history of the first ~60 years of Bell Labs (1925-1984) celebrates a number of the unique aspects of the Bell Labs culture that made working there such a memorable experience. I arrived in 1982, just before the consent decree broke AT&T apart, and, over the next 30 years, was witness to the changes that led people to declare, somewhat prematurely, that "Bell Labs is dead". Drawing examples from my own experience, I'll describe some of the principles that formed the essence of Bell Labs and, hopefully, spark a discussion about the role of research in today's corporations.