The Idea Factory Summary


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Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/the-idea-factory-summary/

Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation


The Great Age keeps moving full-steam ahead, striking every corner of the world.

Neglecting the modern equipment and technology leads to disastrous results.

This preview will give you a couple of inside information about Bell Labs, and their intentions.

Who Should Read “The Idea Factory”? And Why?

What’s your idea? – Do you have any plans for the future or ingenuity doesn’t play a part in your life?

The Idea Factory,” tells an unforgettable story that changed the lives of billions of people. As such, we recommended to all individuals who want to explore more and understand better.

About Jon Gertner

Jon Gertner obtained his B.A from the Cornell University.

He is an author, and a researcher encouraged by Bell Labs’ incredible success over the course of history.

"The Idea Factory Summary"

One can never be too certain when it comes to the age we live in. Such claims are based on the availability of advanced technology, with lots of room for improvement.

The smartphones, tablets, personal computer, and the internet are creating a whole new generation.

In truth, there are plenty of mind-blowing innovations in recent history, which triggered the new era, and any list cannot go without Google, Amazon, Apple, and other giants.

The cutting-edge technology gives credit to tools invented by their predecessors, which were only upgraded.

We bet that you have at least heard of a man called Alexander Graham Bell? – The inventor of the first telephone back in 1876, looked for a way to cash in on his passion, and driven by such incentive, he invented the Bell Telephone Company, which later was reconfigured into the “American Telephone and Telegraph Company” – AT&T.

The labs were in charge to make the phone service not only reliable but accurate on long-distances with very little error. At the time, busy ringing tones were still non-existent, and the caller needed persistence (often in the form of shouting) in order for the person on the other end of the signal to pick up the phone.

While the Great Depression was raging throughout Europe and North America, Bell Labs had little choice but to reduce the number of employees or working hours.

However, many young scientists enrolled in various studies to compensate for the non-working periods.

The war, of course, had a massive role in the Bell Labs development. They altered their methods and way of production by focusing more on creating and designing assets for military use.

In 1940, the US Congress demanded that all spheres of the American Society, including the scientists, should contribute to the war efforts against Japan and Nazi Germany.

As a response, Bell Labs gladly accepted this honor and dropped the regular production.

Radars became an indispensable asset on the battlefield, used for both defensive and attacking military strategies.

Efficient radars could detect planes, submarines, bombers, and other enemy units even in dense fog, or a storm.

This strategy proved to be decisive, and Bell Labs continued during the post-war period to supply the American Army with the latest technology that will later be used in the Cold War.

In the 40s, the Lab Scientists invented a transistor, and officially entered the field of influence on a global scale.

Yet, even top-notch technology has its weaknesses. As a practical and highly efficient device, the transistor was known for its unpredictable behavior, which periodically produced inaccurate reports.

Fellow Labs scientist known by the name of William Shockley discovered a way to improve the device and fix the issues.

When the public was introduced to the transistor, it didn’t have the effect everyone was expecting. Its relevance and impact didn’t rise to the surface with the first wave, yet Claude Shannon was among the very few who anticipated such reaction.

Right before the end of WW2, Bell Labs’ highly skilled innovators and technicians began their experiments, for the purpose of enhancing the transmitting capabilities.

One of the main methods, which will remain deeply embedded into the history of telephony is known as the pulse code modulation or PCM.

It may seem odd to some people. But Shannon’s ideas marked the beginning of what’s known today as the age of modern technology and digital communication.

The range of their activities cannot be defined since Bell Labs covered almost anything associated with their area of expertise.

A decade later after WW2, it wasn’t merely a dream to use telephony for overseas communication.

A new invention named satellite technology enabled this happening and stimulated the production of the first-ever, communications satellites.

Bell Labs’ renowned scientists Cal Fuller and Gerald Pearson took into account the properties of silicon, and despite the odds managed to build and maintain a silicon solar battery.

This device will become the first functional solar power tool in history, and the representative of the top-notch solar technology.

It’s needless to say that Bell Labs transformed the world. The transistor, overseas communication, satellites all originate from a group of highly experienced technicians and innovators. Still, this was just the beginning.

In the 1960s, Bell Labs embarked on a new adventure and began their research concerning the mobile telephony. Before taking any concrete steps, it was vital to solve the two main issues:

First: The availability of wireless frequencies, which indicates that only a dozen of calls could be set in motion simultaneously.

Second: The scientists had little clue about – How can a caller move around and speak without experiencing a call disconnection?

It wasn’t until the 70s that AT&T’s monopoly was challenged. The corporation was forced to “surrender” its local company holdings, which later became independent companies.

Bell Labs continued in the same manner, with intentions to impress the world with its know-how and expertise.

Unlike Google, Amazon, Yahoo and other Marketing Brands, AT&T placed its fate on innovation, which was not the case with other companies.

Such orientation spontaneously triggered growth, expansion and worldly domination in the realm of communications.

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“The Idea Factory” Quotes

[bctt tweet="You get paid for the seven and a half hours a day you put in here,- Kelly often told new Bell Labs employees in his speech to them on their first day, but you get your raises and promotions on what you do in the other sixteen and a half hours." username="get12min"]

[bctt tweet=“The men preferred to think they worked not in a laboratory but in what Kelly once called “an institute of creative technology.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“One study group in particular, informally led by William Shockley at the West Street labs, and often joined by Brattain, Fisk, Townes, and Woolridge, among others, met on Thursday afternoons. The men were interested in a particular branch of physics that would later take on the name “solid-state physics.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“My first stop on any time-travel expedition would be Bell Labs in December 1947.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“I tried to get other people to do things.” username=“get12min”]

Our Critical Review

In our opinion, this book deserves all the merits for being right on the spot with its accuracy, and simplicity.

We cannot be more pleased, for being a part of such amazing journey, which hopefully will continue with a new set of innovations.