The world-famous mother of invention, Bell Labs, was itself a child of that mother of all monopolies, Ma Bell. And though Ma Bell in its old form is long gone, the laboratory soldiers on. Martha Teichner reports:
It looks like some tiny, weird work of art. But it won three physicists from Bell Labs a Nobel Prize. It's the first transistor.
"This was an invention from 1947," said Edward Eckert, the archivist for Alcatel Lucent - the AT&T spinoff that operates the labs today. "Without this, a cell phone would be the size of a building. This is the beginning of the microelectronics revolution, everything getting smaller."