<<   <   Page 2 / 2
cw.774 12/5/2012 | 3:32:45 PM
re: Shrinking Bell Labs Good point. And how did we loose so quietly?

The fate of the labs seams pretty obvious in retrospect to a former realtor I met. See, he told me a story about how one of his jobs was to provided temporary housing for legions of Chinese researchers in the early 90's. He was told they were to be trained along side the Holmdel researchers and he was obligated to make no public mention of this.

In my conversation with the man, I could tell this didn't sit well with him in retrospect. He long since quit that business for Pharma recruiting.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:32:44 PM
re: Shrinking Bell Labs
Basic Physics research has NOTHING to do with products like Cerent. What is being referred to is Bell Labs invention of the Laser.

Okay, what communications inventions like the laser are being investigated? Is that research science or engineering?

Cerent for example was simply a new kind of SONET box. Clearly WAY in the engineering camp. Infinera is more science than Cerent was.

Biotech on the other hand is working on the Human Genome project and such things. Is the memsistor such a research output? What about when we use carbon nanotubes to create devices? We were talking at one point on these boards about purely optical computing. That would qualify.

I don't want to limit it to just hardware as there is some research (particularly in AI) going on in the software domain. My point is most of what we are doing is engineering in these fields today - not real research. We might be doing some applied research, but pure research left this business long ago.

nodak 12/5/2012 | 3:32:43 PM
re: Shrinking Bell Labs Thinking about it more, how much real basic research has industry done in technology? Most of the things we are talking about actually have roots in the Manhattan Project and the Apollo Mission.


If you want to get right down to it, what is basic research? Is it postulating new theories (scientist), is it coming up with a new application for an existing theory (engineer), and/or is it improving an existing application (engineer)?

Reading what is on Wikipedia about lasers, the theory is from Einstein's work in 1917. Hughes Research Labs built the first LASER based on those theories. Bell Labs has filed patents on an optical maser design and there was some legal fighting between Bell Labs and a gentleman named Gould over a laser patents for different applications, but are these basic research or just engineering applications?
whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 3:32:37 PM
re: Shrinking Bell Labs Duh:

What got the US ahead technically was generous federal spending, in WWII and the cold war years, primarily on classified military projects.

The Discoverer satellite program and Apollo moon-shot were in truth covers for a lot of very high technology, cutting edge, your life depends on it working, military research and development.

That money was spent in the US by US companies paying US citizens/employees, so naturally the benefits (profits, employment, commercial spinoffs) accrued to US companies and US citizens. And those companies and the employees felt entitled, and got fat dumb and happy.

Then Japan came along. They put the same zeal into commercial as we did defense, while we sheltered them under our nuclear umbrella, and they copied us and killed our TV and radio industries, and eventually the auto industry too. They felt the opposite of entitled, still do.

They simply concentrated on selling to US, not Japan. No money to be had in Japan. That took care of their balance of trade too.

Now it's China and a bit of India. Same story.

Answer is:

1: WORK like your survival and your kids survival depended on it. It does.

2: Buy local, sell international.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:32:33 PM
re: Shrinking Bell Labs

The Laser is somewhere between science and engineering. The first ones were more science, the ones now are more engineering. But Cerent, as an example, is pure engineering.

It is a continuum. But the most basic research in physics is taking place at places like CERN or Fermilab (as examples).

netpert 12/5/2012 | 3:32:32 PM
re: Shrinking Bell Labs Unfortunate fact of the life today is big companies are run by marketing and financial focks, and basic research being expensive and non-paying in the short term, no one wants to continue to allocate budget to it. I have visited research labs of many major US vendors - all I see is that the focus is on researching things that at best can be called "engineering research" for product improvement. No one wants to fund research that is not immediately connected to the current products or revenue stream.

Bell Labs did some great research and employed some great minds in the past - but, I am not sure if it can ever do the kind of innovative, free-will, basic reserach projects it did before. So no more Unix or C or Laser or Shannon's law or Nyquist's theorem kind of output from any corporate lab in these days of "justifyable" research. Only Japan Govt. and NSF, in the USA, support basic research.

DarkWriting 12/5/2012 | 3:32:31 PM
re: Shrinking Bell Labs Yes, it will be up to the government to fund this stuff. The problem I have is giving the money away to University types who go off and start a company with the results and sell it for a fortune. The government needs to stop giving the money away and start asking for a return on their investment. Contracts should say that the government will own a percentage of any commercial results. Maybe that will help alleviate some of the national debt.

I worked at a start up that got started with SBIR grants and they had the gall to bitch about paying taxes on their stock gains. Total hypocracy in the private sector. Privatize the profits, socialize the risk.


PS. Sorry for the US centricity of this post. It is applicable to all governments, I suppose.
whyiswhy 12/5/2012 | 3:32:16 PM
re: Shrinking Bell Labs DW:

The US gets partially paid back day one if the University / company is in the US and the employees are US citizens. Any profit is taxed and so are all the wages.

If the technology is worth something and the company takes off, the government stands to make out bigtime on taxes alone.

The issue is sending US government mnoney overseas, or later sending the technology overseas. That never comes back.

Exactly the same can be said for your own spending my friend.

Cheers...or not.

<<   <   Page 2 / 2
Sign In