A history of engineering and science in the Bell System : National Service in War and Peace (1925 - 1975) edited by M. D. Fagen
New Jersey : Bell Telephone Laboratories, 1978. First Printing. Hardcover. 757 pages ; photographic illustrations ; 21 cm. With original dust jacket, clean and unmarked pages, and firm binding.
A History of Engineering and Science in the Bell System: National Service in War and Peace (1925-1975) is the second volume of a series documenting the significant contributions of the Bell System to science and telecommunications technology. The first volume, The Early Years (1875-1925), summarizes the first 50 years of telecommunications development; this second volume focuses on the Bell System's contributions to national defense before and during World War II and in the cold war and missile crises that followed. Included are the stories of such Bell Laboratories / Western Electric developments as the gun fire-control system that successfully countered the German V-l buzz bombs, the acoustical torpedo that could attack a submarine and then reattach: if it missed, and Project X-a speech encyphering and transmission system.
As this volume shows, the Bell System's combination of research and engineering with manufacturing and system operations is a unique resource. With the outbreak of World War II, Bell Laboratories and Western Electric were able to adapt quickly to the needs of the nation and make significant contributions in military technology. Sandia Laboratories and Bellcomm-two Bell System subsidiaries founded at the request of the government - are illustrations of the Bell System's ability to perform a specialized national service. Sandia responded to the growing need for defensive atomic weapons, and Bellcomm, working with NASA, helped to make the Apollo lunar-exploration project a success.
This volume also describes the manner in which Bell Laboratories and Western Electric brought to bear in their military programs the same systems engineering approach that had served them so well in advancing communications technology. A national magazine described the Bell System's R and D capability:
Bell Laboratories' great experience in designing large systems that fully exploit available technology, that are compatible with existing systems, that recognize the needs of human physiology, and that are reliable to an extra-ordinary degree, has made Bell the nation's most skilled practitioner of "systems engineering" This concept...was totally unknown to most of U.S. industry before World War II, when the Laboratories helped introduce it to the military.
Systems engineering has become indispensable in design of the enormously complex military systems on which the nation's safety now rests.... -Francis Bello, FORTUNE, November 1958
National Service in War and Peace is divided into two parts: the Bell System's work in developing military weapons and equipment prior to and during World War II, and its efforts during the postwar period. Chapters are devoted to Bell Laboratories / Western Electric contributions in such fields as:
• Electrical computers • Acoustics • Communications • Air defense •Underwater systems •Tactical defense systems • Command and control systems
• Military systems engineering.
The authors of these chapters - members of the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories - wrote from first-hand involvement in their subjects as project managers. The editor is Morton D. Fagan who retired as a director from Bell Laboratories in 1977. The manuscripts were prepared for publication by the Technical Documentation Department of Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J.
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