pjhstudios blog

Bell Labs and innovation


Bell Labs brought us into the future, making science fiction science fact. This is all due to forcing people to interact.

ONE element of his approach was architectural. He personally helped design a building in Murray Hill, N.J., opened in 1941, where everyone would interact with one another. Some of the hallways in the building were designed to be so long that to look down their length was to see the end disappear at a vanishing point. Traveling the hall’s length without encountering a number of acquaintances, problems, diversions and ideas was almost impossible. A physicist on his way to lunch in the cafeteria was like a magnet rolling past iron filings.

This comes from John Gertner’s forthcoming book, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

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Long held beliefs eventually disproven


Richard Thaler, a behavioral economist and research, issued a call for previous held beliefs that were eventually disproved, and for extra credit, why were they held for so long.

Lots of good examples from a wide array of smart folks (Nicholas Carr, Howard Gardner, Clay Shirky and many many others). Some are obvious (gravity! flat Earth!) while others are arcane (prions/prions?).