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Bell Telephone Laboratories - From Atoms to Stars
March 1956 Radio-Electronics

March 1956 Radio-Electronics

March 1956 Radio-Electronics Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio-Electronics, published 1930-1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

Lots of unfamiliar names of crystal minerals appear in this infomercial by Bell Telephone Laboratories in a 1956 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine. A few such as sodium chloride (aka table salt), arsenic, cuprite, perovskite, spinel, graphite, and beryllium are fairly well known to those of us in the electronics realm, but others like rutile, tridymite, cristobalite, wurtzite, diamond, and niccolite are new to me. Interestingly, rutile "has one of the highest refractive indices at visible wavelengths of any known crystal and also exhibits a particularly large birefringence and high dispersion." I should have known that. Cristobalite has the same composition as quartz but with a different crystal structure. Niccolite, and a couple others contain arsenic. Why are Bell Labs scientists concerned with these and other compounds? By investigating and learning the properties of a wide variety of materials, examples useful to the improvement of their telecommunications infrastructure and end user devices were be discovered. Equally importantly, things that are detrimental to those same components were identified and dealt with either by avoidance or mitigation efforts.

Bell Telephone Laboratories Ad - From Atoms to Stars

Bell Telephone Laboratories - From Atoms to Stars, March 1956 Radio-Electronics - RF CafeCrystal-structure models. Top row, left to right: cuprite, zincblende, rutile, perovskite, tridymite. Second row: cristobalite, potassium dihydrogen phosphate, diamond, pyrites, arsenic. Third row: caesium chloride, sodium chloride, wurtzite, copper, niccolite. Fourth row: spinel, graphite, beryllium, carbon dioxide, alpha-quartz.

Research at Bell Telephone Laboratories ranges from the ultimate structure of solids to the radio signals from outer space. Radio interference research created the new science of radio astronomy; research in solids produced the transistor and the Bell Solar Battery.

Between atoms and stars lie great areas of effort and achievement in physics, electronics, metallurgy, chemistry and biology. Mechanical engineers visualize and design new devices. Mathematicians foreshadow new communications techniques.

Despite the diversity of their talents, Bell Laboratories scientists and engineers have much in common. A habit of teamwork channels these talents into great communications advances. These men have developed the world's finest telephone system. In doing so, many have become leaders in their fields. Opportunities for achievement await properly qualified scientists and engineers at Bell Telephone Laboratories.

Models of the atomic patterns in solids help Bell Laboratories scientists visualize their electrical behavior.

Directional antenna used by Karl G. Jansky in discovery of stellar radio signals at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1932.

Bell Telephone Laboratories

World Center of Communications Research • Largest Industrial Laboratory in the United States



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RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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