Award winning tech and business journalist Jon Gertner visits the Little Silver Public Library Thursday to discuss his book THE IDEA FACTORY: BELL LABS AND THE GREAT AGE OF AMERICAN INNOVATION. (Photo by Leslie de la Vega/ Penguin Books)
By TOM CHESEK
It’s not at all hyperbole to suggest that in its heyday, Bell Labs was where The Future took shape.
The list of accomplishments claimed by the Murray Hill-based research and development arm of AT&T included some of the genuine building blocks of modern life (transistors, lasers), game-changing milestones of the Computer Age (the UNIX system, C programming language, Information Theory) and a whole lot of landmark work in the fields of radio astronomy, fiber optics, solar cells and satellite communications.
Close to home, its local connection both via the company’s major presence in Monmouth County, and the caliber of people it attracted to this once relatively sleepy corner of New Jersey impacts our lives in ways that are as here-and-now as the handheld mobile device that you may be reading this on, and as shrouded in wonder as the very origins of the universe.