Awards & Recognition

Internationally recognized as one of the world's preeminent industrial research facilities and as a center of scientific and engineering excellence, few institutions have had as great an impact on modern society as Bell Labs.

An extensive array of awards has been bestowed upon Bell Labs and our researchers, including 12 Nobel Prize laureates, 12 US Medals of Science, 12 US Medals of Technology & Innovation, 4 Turing Award laureates, 6 Draper prizes, 9 Marconi Prizes and 3 Lifetime Achievement Awards, 4 Japan Prizes, 15 C&C prizes, 23 IEEE Medals of Honor, 13 Tyndall Awards, an Emmy, a Grammy, and an Academy Award.


12 Nobel Prize laureates sharing 7 Nobel Prizes in Physics12 Nobel Prize laureates sharing 7 Nobel Prizes in Physics

The Nobel Prize is among the world's most coveted award in intellectual achievement. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded Nobel Prizes in Physics since 1901.

  • Willard Boyle and George Smith (2009) — Invention and development of the charge-coupled device (CCD), a technology that transforms patterns of light into useful digital information and is the basis for many forms of modern imaging.
  • Horst Stormer and Daniel Tsui (1998) — Discovery and explanation of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations (the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect.)
  • Steven Chu (1997) — Development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light. (Prize shared with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William D. Phillips.)
  • Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson (1978) — Discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation that in turn provided clear substantiation of the "big bang" theory of how the universe began.
  • Philip Anderson (1977) — Fundamental theoretical insights into the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems. (Prize shared with Sir Nevill Francis Mott and John Hasbrouck van Vleck.)
  • John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley (1956) — Research on semiconductors that led to the invention of the transistor in 1947.
  • Clinton Davisson (1937) — Discovery of the diffraction of electrons by crystals and demonstrated the wave nature of matter. (Prize shared with George Paget Thomson.)

12 US National Medals of Science12 US National Medals of Science

Established by the US Congress in 1959 and first awarded in 1963, the National Medal of Science is presented by the President of the United States to individuals "deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences."

  • C. Kumar Patel (1996) — Invention of the carbon dioxide laser, which led to numerous scientific, industrial, and medical applications.
  • James Flanagan (1996) — Applying engineering techniques and speech science to solve underlying problems in speech communication.
  • Al Cho (1993) — Pioneering research leading to the development of molecular beam epitaxy, a technique that revolutionized thin film growth making possible atomically accurate structures for electronic and optoelectronic devices, and for the study of new quantum phenomena.
  • William O. Baker (1988) — Pioneering studies of the complex relationships between the molecular structures and physical properties of polymers; a distinguished record of leadership in the combined disciplines of science and engineering; distinguished service to government and education.
  • Solomon Buchsbaum (1986) — Contributions to science and technology policy in the United States.
  • Philip Anderson (1982) — Fundamental contributions to the theoretical understanding of condensed matter.
  • Rudolph Kompfner (1974) — Invention of the traveling-wave tube as well as highly significant scientific insights underlying communication satellites and optical communications.
  • John Tukey (1973) — Mathematical and theoretical statistical contributions including the analytical tool known as fast Fourier transform for understanding waveforms in fields from astrophysics to electrical engineering.
  • John Pierce (1963) — Contributions to communications theory, electron optics and traveling wave tubes, and for the analysis leading to worldwide radio communications using artificial earth satellites.
  • Arthur Schawlow (1991) — The conception of the laser and in advancing its applications, especially in laser spectroscopy.
  • Charles Townes (1982) — Contributions to the understanding of matter through its interaction with electromagnetic radiations and the application of this knowledge towards the invention of the maser and laser.
  • Claude Shannon (1966) — Brilliant contributions to the mathematical theories of communications and information processing.

12 US National Medals of Technology & Innovation12 US National Medals of Technology & Innovation

Established by the US Congress in 1980, and first awarded in 1985, the National Medal of Technology is presented by the US President to individuals, teams, or companies for accomplishments in the innovation, development, commercialization, and management of technology.

  • Herwig Kogelnik (2006) — Pioneering research and leadership associated with lasers, optoelectronics, integrated optics, and lightwave communication systems.
  • James E. West (2006) — Co-invention of the electret microphone in 1962. 90% percent of the 2 billion microphones produced annually and used in everyday items such as telephones, hearing aids, camcorders, and multimedia computers employ electret technology.
  • Alfred Cho (2005) — Invention of the molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) technology and the development of the MBE technology into an advanced electronic and photonic devices production tool.
  • Arun Netravali (2001) — Leadership in the field of communication systems and for pioneering contributions that transformed TV from analog to digital.
  • Dennis Ritchie and Kenneth Thompson (1998) — Development of UNIX® operating system and the C programming language.
  • Richard Frenkiel and Joel Engel (1994) — Contributions to the theory, design, and development of cellular mobile communications systems.
  • Amos Joel (1993) — Vision and leadership in introducing electronic switching and other related communications technology.
  • W. Lincoln Hawkins (1992) — Research leading to long-lived plastic coatings for communications cable that has saved billions of dollars for telephone companies around the world.
  • John Mayo (1990) — Role in managing the conversion of the national switched telephone network from analog to digital-based technology.
  • Bell Labs (1985) — Contributions over decades to modern communications systems. It was the first institution ever to be recognized with this honor.

4 Turing Award laureates4 Turing Award laureates

First awarded in 1966 by the Association for Computing Machinery, the Turing Award is considered to be the highest distinction in Computer Science and is presented to individuals who have made lasting and highly important contributions of a technical nature to the computing community.

  • Robert Tarjan (1986) – With John Hopcroft, for fundamental achievements in the design and analysis of algorithms and data structures
  • Dennis Ritchie and Kenneth Thompson (1983) – Development of generic operating systems theory and specifically for the implementation of the UNIX operating system
  • Richard Hamming (1968) – work on numerical methods, automatic coding systems, and error-detecting and error-correcting codes

6 Draper Prize recipients6 Draper Prize recipients

Since 1989, the Charles Stark Draper Prize has been awarded by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in recognition of outstanding engineering achievements. It is considered among the highest forms of recognition within the field of engineering.

  • Richard Frenkiel and Joel Engel (2013) — Pioneering contributions to the world’s first cellular telephone networks, systems, and standards.
  • Williard Boyle and George Smith (2006) — The invention of the charge-coupled device (CCD), a light-sensitive component at the heart of digital cameras and other widely used imaging technologies.
  • John MacChesney (1999) — The conception and invention of optical fiber for communications and for the development of manufacturing processes that made the telecommunications revolution possible.
  • John Pierce (1995) — Development of communication satellite technology.

9 Marconi Prizes9 Marconi Prizes

Awarded by the Marconi Society since 1975, the Marconi Prize is granted to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of communications through scientific or technological discoveries.

  • Andrew Chraplyvy and Robert Tkach (2009) — Insights into how information is transmitted over optical networks and for finding innovative ways to significantly increase the speed and capacity of optical fiber communications systems.
  • Herwig Kogelnik (2001) — Pioneering the development of fiber optic technology - work that has revolutionized modern telecommunications.
  • Jacob Ziv (1995) — Contributions to the fields of communications and information theory, and in particular for his work on the Lempel-Ziv data compression algorithm.
  • Izuo Hayashi (1993) — Contributions to optoelectronic technology and for his life contribution to communications science.
  • James L. Flanagan (1992) — Pioneering contributions to speech technology.
  • Robert W. Lucky (1987) — Invention of the automatically adaptive equalizer.
  • John R. Pierce (1979) — Outstanding advances in space and satellite technologies relevant to improving world communications.
  • Arthur Schawlow (1977) — Research in the fields of optical and microwave spectroscopy, nuclear quadruple resonance superconductivity and lasers.

3 Marconi Society Lifetime Achievement Awards3 Marconi Society Lifetime Achievement Awards

The Marconi Society began in 2000 to honor a small number of individuals for their lifetimes of achievement.

  • Amos Joel (2009) – Recognition for his leading expertise in switching.
  • William O. Baker (2003) – Widely recognized champion of communications research and development.
  • Claude Shannon (2000) – Lifetime achievement in information theory.

4 Japan Prizes4 Japan Prizes

Established and endorsed by the Japanese cabinet in 1983 and first awarded in 1985, the Japan Prize is presented to individuals “whose original and outstanding achievements are not only scientifically impressive, but have also served to promote peace and prosperity for all mankind.”

  • Dennis Ritchie and Kenneth Thompson (2011) – Development of the UNIX operating system.
  • Seiji Ogawa (2003) – Discovery of the principle for functional magnetic resonance imaging.
  • John R. Pierce (1985) — Outstanding achievement in the field of electronics and communications technologies.

15 C&C Prizes15 C&C Prizes

Established in 1985, the highly regarded C&C (Computers & Communication) Prize is awarded by the NEC Corporation to individuals for their pioneering work in the fields of semiconductors, computers, and telecommunications.

  • John MacChesney (2007) — Pioneering contributions to research and development resulting in low-loss optical fiber.
  • George Smith and Willard Boyle (1999) — Invention of the charge-coupled device (CCD).
  • Barry Haskell and Arun Netravali (1997) — Pioneering work in digital video data compression technology.
  • Akira Hasegawa (1995) — Discovery of soliton in optical fiber and the pioneering contribution made in application of ultra-high speed optical fiber communication.
  • Al Cho (1995) — Seminal contributions to molecular beam epitaxy, a technology which is revolutionizing high performance optoelectronics and electronics for computers and communications.
  • Jack Sipress (1991) — Leadership in the development of high-speed digital fiber-guide systems that span the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, thereby giving global digital connectivity over high capacity cables.
  • Dennis Ritchie and Kenneth Thompson (1989) — Creation of the UNIX operating system and the C language.
  • Eric Summer, John Mayo, and Aaron Robert (1988) — Pioneering contributions to the establishment of a basic technology for digital communications by development of the world's first practical commercial high-speed digital communication system.
  • Morton Panish and Izuo Hayashi (1986) — Conception and development of the first room-temperature continuous-wave semiconductor injection laser with double heterostructure.

23 IEEE Medals of Honor23 IEEE Medals of Honor

First awarded in 1917, the IEEE Medal of Honor is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' highest form of recognition.

  • James Flanagan (2005) - Sustained leadership and outstanding contributions in speech technology.
  • Herwig Kogelnik (2001) - Fundamental contributions to the science and technology of lasers and optoelectronics, and for leadership in research and development of photonics and lightwave communication systems.
  • Al Cho (1994) - Seminal contributions to the development of molecular beam epitaxy.
  • Amos Joel (1992) - Fundamental contributions to and leadership in telecommunications switching systems.
  • C. Kumar Patel (1989) - Fundamental contributions to quantum electronics, including the carbon dioxide laser and the spin-flip Raman laser.
  • John Tukey (1982) – Contributions to the spectral analysis of random processes and the fast Fourier transform algorithm.
  • Sidney Darlington (1981) – Fundamental contributions to filtering and signal processing leading to chirp radar.
  • William Shockley (1980) – Invention of the junction transistor, the analog and the junction field-effect transistor, and the theory underlying their operation.
  • H. Earle Vaughan (1977) – Vision, technical contributions and leadership in the development of the first high-capacity pulse-code-modulation time-division telephone switching system.
  • John R. Pierce (1975) – Pioneering concrete proposals and the realization of satellite communication experiments, and for contributions in theory and design of traveling wave tubes and in electron beam optics essential to this success.
  • Rudolf Kompfner (1973) – Major contribution to worldwide communication through the conception of the traveling wave tube embodying a new principle of amplification.
  • John Bardeen (1971) – Profound contributions to the understanding of the conductivity of solids, to the invention of the transistor, and to the microscopic theory of superconductivity.
  • Charles Townes (1967) – Significant contributions in the field of quantum electronics which have led to the maser and the laser.
  • Claude Shannon (1966) – Development of a mathematical theory of communication which unified and significantly advanced the state of the art.
  • George Southworth (1963) - Pioneering contributions to microwave radio physics, to radio astronomy, and to waveguide transmission.
  • Harry Nyquist (1960) – Fundamental contributions to a quantitative understanding of thermal noise, data transmission and negative feedback.
  • H. T. Friis (1955) – Outstanding technical contributions in the expansion of the useful spectrum of radio frequencies, and for the inspiration and leadership he has given to young engineers.
  • Brown, Ralph (1949) – Extensive contributions to the field of radio and for his leadership in Institute affairs.
  • R. V. L. Hartley (1946) – Early work on oscillating circuits employing triode tubes and likewise for his early recognition and clear exposition of the fundamental relationship between the total amount of information which may be transmitted over a transmission system of limited bandwidth and the time required.
  • Lloyd Espenschied (1940) – Accomplishments as an engineer, as an inventor, as a pioneer in the development of radio telephony, and for his effective contributions to the progress of international radio coordination.
  • Joe Campbell (1936) – For his contributions to the theory of electrical network.
  • J. A. Fleming (1933) – Conspicuous part he played in introducing physical and engineering principles into the radio art.
  • G. W. Pickard (1925) – Contributions as to crystal detectors, coil antennas, wave propagation and atmospheric disturbances.

13 Tyndall Awards13 Tyndall Awards

Sponsored by both the IEEE Photonics Society and the Optical Society of America, the John Tyndall Award has been presented since 1987 to individuals who have made pioneering or highly significant technical contributions related to fiber optics technology.

  • Randy Giles (2010)
  • Joe Campbell (2009)
  • Robert Tkach (2008)
  • Emmanuel Desurvire (2007)
  • Roger Stolen (2005)
  • Larry Coldren (2004)
  • Andrew Chraplyvy (2003)
  • Neal Bergano (2002)
  • Stewart Personick (2000)
  • MacChesney (1999)
  • Ivan Kaminow (1997)
  • Tingye Li (1995)
  • S. E. Miller (1989)

Emmy AwardEmmy Award

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presents its Emmy Award in recognition of excellence in the television industry.

  • Bell Labs (1994) — For the HDTV Grand Alliance Standard.

Grammy AwardGrammy Award

Since 1959, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has honored individuals and organizations with a Grammy Award to recognize outstanding achievements in the field of music.

  • Bell Labs (2006) — Outstanding technical contributions to the recording field.

Academy AwardAcademy Award

The Academy Award of Merit is presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for excellence in association with cinema.

  • E. C. Wente and Bell Labs (1936) – A Scientific and Engineering Award for their multicellular high-frequency horn and receiver.


  • Andy Chraplyvy and Bob Tkach were honored the 2013 IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal for contributions to the science and technology for optical communications enabling high-speed wavelength division multiplexing through the mitigation of the effects of fiber nonlinearity.
  • Massimiliano Salsi has been recognized by TR35 France as one of France’s top young innovators by MIT's Technology Review magazine.
  • Volker Hilt, Lisa Zhang, Wei Wang and Keying Wu were selected to participate in the 2013 National Academy of Engineering’s Chinese-American Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.
  • Al Cho was presented the Asian American Engineer of the Year award to recognize American individuals of Asian descent who have made exceptional contribution to the field of Engineering, Science, and/or as a Corporate Leader.
  • Guy-Bertrand Kamga received the Best Short Paper Award at the conference IEEE CloudNet for the paper “Privacy Control in the Cloud based on Multilevel Policy Enforcement”.