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photo of Bell Labs facility in Holmdel, N.J
Photo: Lucent Technologies/Bell Labs

Anyone out there need to buy a research lab? There's a big one available. Lucent Technologies Inc.recently announced that it is considering the sale of its Bell Labs facility in Holmdel, N.J. This is a humongous building--more than 185 000 square meters of usable space, surrounded by 191 hectares of manicured grounds. Designed by the famous architect Eero Saarinen, the six-story rectangular building has a central foyer that rises to the roof. The exterior is all glass and was meant to reflect the clouds and the surrounding countryside. The entrance road passes by a large water tower in the shape of Bell Labs' most famous invention--the transistor.

Today, however, the parking lot outside looks empty, and inside it is said to be like a ghost town. A building where 6000 people once worked is occupied by only about 1200. Since the building's construction, Bell Labs has been split among five companies, and downsizing in the industry has further diminished the need for such a large research and development facility.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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