Bell Lab’s 7 Great Inventions that Changed the World   Leave a comment

We now live in a world dominated by innovative companies and technologies, and on the top list of inventions, stand the Bell Laboratories which played a major role in shaping the world of today. They were the pioneers in almost everything, from programming languages to cellular telephones.

Studying about Bell lab will make you realize about how the world’s longstanding innovative edge actually came out as John Gertner reported in NewYork Times, “America’s history of innovation trace back to Bell Laboratories, the onetime research and development organization of country’s formerly monopolistic telephone company AT&T.”

Here we list some of the greatest innovations from Bell Laboratories which changed the world.


Transistor, the fundamental building block of all the modern day electronic devices was born in Bell Labs in 1947. It was developed as a replacement for inefficient and bulky vacuum tubes and mechanical relays. It created a new era of technical accomplishments from computers to space vehicles.

UNIX Operating System and C Programming language

UNIX, which made the internet practical and which is the backbone for today’s many operating systems was developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs.

The C language, which brought expressiveness and efficiency to the programming languages was developed by Dennis Ritchie between 1969 and 1973 at the Bell Laboratories. The descendants of C language are now the most widely used programming languages in the world.


The first scientific paper on LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) was published by two Bell Laboratory scientists Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow. It later opened a new scientific field which is wide spread among many applications ranging from medical applications to the tiny device inside your DVD player.

Communication Satellite

The first orbiting communication satellite was built by Bell labs in 1962. The Telstar 1 was the first satellite to have ability to receive signal, amplify it and send it back to anywhere on earth, which first allowed the telephone calls to travel around the world. In 1947, Bell Labs invented the cellular technology, which later made the world “wireless.”

Solar Cells

Bell Labs in1954 created the first device that actually used Sun’s rays to create electricity. It was the precursor for many of the solar powered devices that we see now.

Fibre Optic cable

Bell labs built the first fibre optic cable system, which subsequently enabled the world to transfer millions of Giga bytes of data at lightening speeds.

Digital Transmission and Digital Signal Processing

Bell labs pioneered digital transmission with the first digitally multiplexed transmission of voice signals in 1962. It also built the first single chip digital signal processor (DSP) in 1979 which is the core of today’s multimedia revolution


Posted February 28, 2012 by avinash2060 in Insight

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