Bell Labs Puts 60 Years of Journals Online

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Bell Labs is probably the most storied technological research center in the world. The list of innovations that came from the outpost is amazing. The transistor, the silicon photovoltaic solar cell, and the CCD all were developed at Bell Labs. And that's just the big stuff. Tons of small improvements to existing devices also flew out of the labs. For example, Labs' staffer Louis Lanzerotti proved how dangerous magnetic storms could be to the nation's electrical grid.

Now, you can read 60 years of technical journals, thanks to Alcatel-Lucent. The full text of every article published between 1922 and 1983 is available online. Now, I'm not going to lie to you: this is not riveting reading for the lay person. Most of these papers have none of the countercultural oddity of Manfred Clynes' paper on cyborgs, for example. But it's still a treasure trove and a gift to the future to have all these papers accessible. I'd love to see more research parks (say, PARC) create similar archives.

Note: I'm not sure exactly when the whole archive went up, but I think it must have been very recently. It was pointed out to me by Bernhard Schulte via Twitter.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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