THE MARTIAN PROPHECIES – Earth’s Conquest of the Red Planet.

Mars Frontier series

Early Mars terraforming site inspected by an American first-generation colonist. 


Essay and multimedia content by: David Anthony Johanson ©All writing and photography within this program (unless indicated) was produced by the author.

If you would like to see this essay in an alternative graphic format please visit our Science Tech Tablet site at:

Fu-tur-ism                                                                                                                               noun                                                                                                                          

1. Concern with events and trends of the future or which anticipate the future.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. — Arthur C. Clarke


How Earth Conquered Mars And Successfully Colonized The Red Planet

March 2054

Mars Frontier series


The Evolutionary Mastery Of Mars

In a forty-year period, the march towards making Mars inhabitable, astonished the most optimistic futurist. A sequence of technological events and economic opportunities (commonly known as the Third Industrial Revolution) converged seamlessly, allowing for safe and efficient journeys to the fourth planet from our Sun. Now, human life has sustained itself and is beginning to thrive on Martian soil.

On Earth, three decades into the third millennium, unstable global weather patterns caused by environmental abuse to our oceans, created extreme ripple effects with appalling famines and droughts.  Then, suddenly a horrific rain of fire appeared as a sequence of catastrophic meteorite strikes plagued Earth— hastening humanity’s efforts to reach for the red planet. Of all the planets in our solar system — Mars has proven the best hope as a lifeboat and as a refuge for life taking hold.

Collaboration from the World’s nations, aligned rapidly to expand the colonies beyond Earth’s low-orbit. These outposts are in a stable formation at Sun-Earth Lagrangian Points:  L2, L4,  L5 and beyond. The various sites are used to support manufacturing, exploration and asteroid mining operations. Once established, they became “stepping-stones” towards Mars. Distant supply and launch stations are currently expanding at Sun-Mars Lagrangian points, circulating Mars.


Triumph Through Large Scale Asteroid Mining 

After the first three decades of daring space exploration in the late Twentieth Century, momentum was lost from lack of compelling mission. Chemical propulsion system limitations and lack of aerospace manufacturing beyond Earth’s orbit, slowed space exploration’s progress. Major superpowers lacked funding and political will to achieve great advances beyond low Earth Orbit.

As the Twenty-First Century progressed, collaboration of prime aerospace companies Boeing and Space X, developed, hybrid launch vehicles to accelerate humanity’s expanded presence in space. Private commercial ventures determined a great potential existed for mining valuable resources from near Earth asteroids and the Moon. The first company to successfully begin asteroid mining were Planetary Resources, with funding provided by wealthy technology luminaries. Mars Frontier series





Three-D Printing In Space – A Bridge To Infinity 

Early in the Twenty-first Century, new advanced technological tools were developed for flexible and efficient manufacturing. After revolutionary 3-D printing operations took hold in space, opportunities expanded rapidly to develop massive infrastructure beyond Earth’s orbit. Three-D printing devices made prefabrication of immense living and working sites possible on the Moon and various stationary points well beyond Earth’s gravitational influence.

Mars Frontier series


Three-D printing for manufacturing space-station stepping-stones


Beyond Earth’s Orbit — Islands In Space

As the population of human enterprises rapidly expanded into deep space, exploration of Mars became practical and irresistible.

Using a spectrum of cybernetic applications, including artificial intelligences (AI), atomically precise manufacturing (APM) and 3-D printing provided cost-effective infrastructure manufacturing  to expand beyond Earth’s low orbit. The network of space station developments offers a growing population of skilled aerospace workers — dynamic living and work environments.

Molecular nanotechnology (MNT) produces an endless variety of manufactured goods for the inhabitants of interplanetary space. As the initial space stations quickly expanded and connected to one another, they became known as “Island Stations.” Adopting interplanetary codes for infrastructure support commonality is maintained for all inhabitants and guest visits by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA).

A network of stepping stone islands, which initially were used to extend the reach of asteroid mining operations from stable points beyond a low Earth orbit, is essential for colonizing Mars.Island_stations_eBPP_2054

Approximately 10 million miles from Earth, a network of station islands is positioned as a gateway point to Mars. These station networks are mutually protected from solar storms/flares by their own artificial magnetosphere. Earth (blue dot) and its moon can be seen near the upper-center part of the photo.

Mars statiBPP_a2054

Revolution — Electro Magnetic Propulsion And Magnetic Shield Protective  Fields 

Revolutionary, electromagnetic propulsion systems, using super-cooled, conducting magnets and magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) were developed for vastly superior performance over conventional chemical rockets. The time required to reach destinations such as Mars has been reduced significantly, by a factor of one year to less than two weeks. Initial funding from NASA and ESA, created a collaboration between Boeing, SpaceX and Virgin Galatic to produce these hybrid propulsion space craft. 


The greatest threat to human space travel and colonization is from solar winds of magnetized plasma carrying protons and alpha particles, which can break down DNA and lead to cancer. A magnetic coil shield system allows space craft protection from most harmful radiation by creating its own magnetosphere. This shielding system harnesses for universal applications to protect space station populations, inner planetary travelers and Martian colonies.

A high energy accelerator was developed on Mars using spectrums of solar energy to recreate a magnetic field to help produce a sustainable atmosphere.


                        Mars Frontier series






   An electromagnetic propulsion cargo ship as it begins entering a high energy state.




Electromagnetic propulsion “asteroid lifter” encounters solar wind storm.                                    


NASA illustration.


Genetic Modification Through Astrobiology Provides Essential Benefits For Human Space Travelers

Evolutionary biology has provided advantages to meet the challenges of human travel into deep space.

Mars Frontier seriesThe first generation of genetically modified humans was created to limit the effects and risk from extended space travel. Microchip circuitry imbedded into tissue, gave humans expanded capabilities to assure space survivability, productivity, and flight operations. To combat muscle degradation from zero gravity-exposure, contractile protein levels were increased in muscle tissue. Mars Frontier series


Settlements On The Red Planet And Stages Of Terraforming

To survive solar radiation effects, early Mar’s settlers lived bellow the planet’s regolith (soil).  Within less than a decade, the colonies developed their own localized magnetosphere, which became encapsulated environments within translucent domes — creating an atmospheric oasis. These aerodynamic structures offer shielding from dust storms and subzero temperatures. Now, an enriched quality of life on Mars includes ever-expanding domains of Earth like atmosphere for expanded development and life above the surface of the red planet.

Meteor showers during a Martian sunrise
Meteor showers streaming above craters and cliffs during a Martian sunrise.

Massive mirrors are fixed in orbit above Mars for reflecting warmth back onto its surface, to provide a more temperate climate. Reflected light directed at Martian polar ice caps and its Carbon dioxide atmosphere of CO2 helps to keep thermal energy near the planet’s surface. As a result, a thermal runaway greenhouse effect is created to help build a thicker atmosphere. Release of microorganisms on the red the planet dramatically accelerates production, for intensifying greenhouse gas expansion.

Directing small asteroids with rich concentrations of ammonia to impact nitrate beds on Mars, releases high volumes of oxygen and nitrogen. These highly controlled asteroid strikes are providing substantial positive results to help develop an enriched atmosphere.


Nanotechnology is now employed on the surface of Mars and is dramatically altering landscape regions within various craters. Genetically modified plant forms are successfully taking hold and surviving some test environments. In conclusion, all of these achievements are creating a more Earth like climate, for efforts to terraform Mars.

Earth’s Sustainable Community On Mars

Mars Frontier series

Self replicating machines using APM manufacturing allow infrastructure to develop at astonishing rates on the red planet. New scientific, engineering and mining communities are establishing themselves rapidly as they descend from orbiting stations and stationary platforms above the planet. The current population on Mars has surpassed 40,000 inhabitants and is projected to double within the next five-years.

The form of governance adopted by the colonies on Mars is based on a nonpolitical and international form of cooperation.  Asteroid mining and APM manufacturing are the largest industries associated with the Mars colonies.

Mars Frontier series

 Martian colonists celebration party for “Pioneer Days.” Martian sunset seen in the background, behind a massive protective atmospheric shield.

Fossil Bed Enigma Reveals We May Never Have Been Alone

Found only days ago in the Antoniadi Crater region, is evidence of a fossil and what appears to be human like footprints. Although this discovery may revolutionize our view of the red planet — we must wait for the samples to arrive on Earth to confirm what could be one of the greatest discoveries of all time.

                                                                        Discovery at a Martian archeological dig site — “we have never been alone.”

Mars Frontier series

FrenchM_Coule_ a014

Mars Frontier series

Perchance, the most fascinating evidence of preexisting intelligence of life on Mars, was discovered near the Antoniadi Crater. Enclosed within a geographic site is a source, which is emitting peculiar magnetic fields. Upon further analysis revealed, distinct patterns of what appears as a mysterious complex digital codex. After extensive review and evaluation using a network of 2020 Enigma Genisus Computing systems interpreted it as audible, instrumental sounds accompanied by visual projections of humanoid syncopated movements.BoC video See Ya Later

Most perplexing is the referenced quantitative variables, suggest the site was or is a time capsule or possibly a time-portal. To see audio and visual projection click on the link below. 


Music soundtrack for the Martian Prophecies — Powered by Boards of Canada (you can open another web browser if you like and have the following music play while viewing this essay)

Solar System & Planetary travel, music, dedicated to the “Shield of Achilles” – protector of the inner planets

Martian pioneers’ celebratory music – video chronicle International Space Station development and logistic support leading to permanent Mars colonization–TN1Q  and or ⇒     

Music for terraforming Mars too – video chronicles Mars atmospheric enrichment and the planets terraforming stages


Martian moonlight illuminates sculpted cliffs, as "Vesta II" (logistics platform) enters view —piercing the night sky with solar light reflecting off its West-East orbital path.

Martian moonlight illuminates sculpted cliffs, as “Vesta II” (logistics platform) enters view —piercing the night sky with solar light reflecting off its West-East orbital path.


Facts Concerning Mars

One day on Mars = 24 hours 37 minutes and 22 seconds.

One year on Mars = 686.98 Earth days.

Average distance from Earth to Mars = 225 million kilometers.

The minimum distance from Earth to Mars = 54. million km.

The farthest distance from Earth to Mars = 401 million km.

Warmest temperature of Mars — 70 degrees F (20 degrees C) near the equator

Origin of the name Mars = Ancient Roman god of war and agricultural guardian

The calendar Month named after Mars = March

Links to Learn More About Mars

A list of over 400 essays on Mars 

Links to Third Industrial Revolution,_the_Economy,_and_the_World



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Who Were the Titans of Telecommunication and Information Technology?


Multimedia Essay By: David Johanson Vasquez © All Rights – Second Addition – Series: 1 & 2 

. — Inventions are rarely the result of one individual’s work, but are created from collective efforts over time, from several individual’s observations, theories and experiments. Benjamin Franklin’s role in demystifying electricity, Michael Faraday’s discovery of “induced” current, Nikola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi’s wireless radio communication… are just a few of the technology pioneers responsible for developing modern telecommunications. I regret not having the resources  for this program’s inclusion of all men and women, whose discoveries made telecommunication  and information technology possible.

Definition of technology — “the systematic application of scientific or other organized knowledge to practical tasks.”  (J.K Galbraith)  “the application of scientific and other organized knowledge to practical tasks by… ordered systems that involve people and machines.” (John Naughton) For an alternative graphic format on this essay:                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Telecommunications took its first infant steps as the industrial revolution was rapidly compressing concepts of time and space. The first half of the 19THThe century witnessed modern society’s reliance on new innovations — steam locomotive trains for mass transit and electronic communication through telegraph technology. Steamships shrunk the world by delivering capital goods, raw resources and people to remote locations within fractions of the time it took before. With the industrial revolution nearing its peak at the close of the century, a new communication, innovation was developed, which helped transform the modern age into a postmodern era.

Inventor, Alexander Graham Bell’s Washington D.C. company, which developed the telephone, eventually evolved into a prime research laboratory. Bell’s vision for a R & D lab, created a foundation for the digital technologies of today. In the following century, another key, R & D technology titan— Xerox PARC enters the stage, which helps to set in motion personal computing and expands the information technology revolution.

The steamship S.S. Empress of India near Vancouver B.C.
From the private collection of: David A. Johanson ©

.  Scottish born Alexander Graham Bell From the collection of: Library of Congress

The French Technology Connection

A French, visionary government in 1880, recognized the importance of  Alexander Bell’s invention, and awarded him the Volta Prize. A sum of 50,000 francs or roughly, $ 250,000 in today’s currency came with the honor. The funds were reinvested into Bell’s laboratory for use in analysis, recording and transmission of sound. Growing proceeds from the lab were used for additional research and in education to enable knowledge on deafness.  

Can You Hear Me Now                                         

 The telegraph and telephone were the first forms of electrical, point-to-point telecommunications and qualify as early versions of social-media platforms. Over time, phone service, convenience and quality have steadily improved. In my youth during the early 1960s, I spent summers visiting relatives with farms in Wisconsin who had phones connected on “party lines” (several phone subscribers on one circuit).  When picking up a phone connected with a party line, your neighbor might be having a conversation in progress. If  a conversation was taking place you could politely interrupt and request to use the phone for urgent business. Today,  phone service has become so advanced that it is taken for granted as a form of personal utility.   In 1925, Bell Telephone Laboratories were created from a merger with the engineering department of American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) and Western Electric Research Laboratories.  Ownership of the lab was shared evenly between the two companies; in return, Bell Laboratories provided design and technical support for Western Electric’s telephone infrastructure used by the Bell System. Bell Labs completed the symbiotic relationship for the phone companies by writing and maintaining a full-spectrum of technical manuals known as Bell System Practices (BSP).     

An Invisible Bridge From Point A To Point B

Bell Laboratories instantly began developing and demonstrating for the first time, telecommunication technology, which we now depend on for economic growth and to hold our social fabric together. Bell accomplished the first transmitting of a long-distance, 128-line television images from New York to Washington, D.C. in 1927. This remarkable event ushered in television broadcast, creating a new form of mass-multimedia. Now people could gather together in the comfort of their homes and witness… live news reports, hours of entertainment and product advertisements, which helped to stimulate consumer spending in a growing economy.            Radio astronomy’s powerful space exploratory telescope, was developed through research conducted by Karl Jansky in 1931. During this decade, Bell lab’s George Paget Thomson was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his discovery of electron diffraction, which was a key factor for solid-state.

The Forecasting Power of Numerical Data

An important component of renewable energy is the photovoltaic cell, which was developed in the lab during the 1940s by Russell Ohl. A majority of the United States’  statistician superstars, such as W. Edwards Deming, Harold F. Dodge, George Edwards, Paul Olmstead and Mary N.Torrey all came from Bell Labs Quality Assurance Department. W. Edwards Deming’s genius would later go on to help revitalize Japan’s industry and be used in Ford Motors’ successful, quality control initiatives in the 1980s.

W. Edwards Deming

The U.S. government used Bell Labs for a series of consulting projects relating to highly technical initiatives and for the Apollo program. Several Nobel Prizes have been awarded to researchers at the laboratory, adding to its fame and growing prestige. In the 1940s many of the Bell Labs were moved from New York City to nearby areas of New Jersey. …………………………………. Replica of the first transistor.

Smaller Is Better In The World Of Electronics

Inventors of the transistor, l. to r. Dr. William Shockley, Dr. John Bardeen, Dr. Walter Brattain, ca. 1956 Courtesy Bell Laboratories Perhaps Bell Laboratories most marvelous invention was the transistor invented on December 16, 1947Transistors are at the heart of just about all electrical devices you’ll use today. These crucial artifacts transformed the electronics industry, by miniaturizing multiple electronic components used in an ever-expanding array of products and technical applications. Transistor efficiencies also greatly reduced the amount of heat in electronic devices, while improving overall reliability and efficiency compared to fragile vacuum tube components. Once more, the lab’s select team of scientist was rewarded with the Nobel Prize in Physics, for essential components of telecommunications. 

The mobile-phone was also created in 1947, with the lab’s commercial launch of Mobile Telephone Service (MTS) for use in automobiles. Some 20 years later, cell phone technology was developed at Bell Labs and went on to become the ubiquitous form of communication it is today. In 1954 the lab began to harness the sun’s potential, by creating the world’s first modern solar cell. The laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) was dated in a Bell Lab, 1958 publication.  The laser’s growing spectrum of applications includes — communications, medical and consumer electronics.

A Perpetual Revolution In The Sky Unites The World

In 1962, Bell Labs pioneered satellite communications with the launch of Telstar 1, the first orbiting communication satellite. Telstar enabled virtually instant telephone calls to be bounced from coast to coast and throughout the world. This development unified global communications and provided instant 24-hour news coverage.      

 Bell Labs introduced the replacement of rotary dialing with touch-tone in 1963, this improvement vastly expanded telephone services with— 911 emergency response, voice mail and call service capabilities.

Image used in Byte Magazine for an article on VM2 assembly language. Photo-illustration by: David A. Johanson © All Rights


A New Distinct Language For Harnessing Machines

It’s been greatly underreported that Unix operating system, C and C++ programing languages,  essential for use in Information Technology (IT), were all created in Bell Labs. These crucial computer developments were established between 1969 and 1972, while C++ came later in the early 1980s. C programing was a breakthrough as a streamlined and flexible form of computer coding, making it one of the most widely used in today’s programing languages. Unix enabled comprehensive networking of diverse computing systems, providing for the internet’s dynamic foundation. Increasingly, Bell Laboratories inventions for the next two decades expanded micro-computing frontiers, which helped to establish personal computing.    

                                                                        In 1980, Bell Labs tested the first single-chip 32-bit microprocessor, enabling personal computers to handle complex multimedia applications.


A major corporate restructure of AT&T, the parent company of Bell Laboratories, was ordered  by the U.S.  Federal government in 1985, to split-up its subsidiaries as part of a  divestiture agreementThis event proved to be an example of overregulation, which severed important links for funding technology R&D projects. Although AT&T previously had an economic advantage with a monopoly in the telephone industry, it allowed for necessary funding of Bell R&D labs.  Indirectly, U.S. taxpayers made one of the best investments by subsidizing the foundation for our current telecommunication and information technology infrastructure. AT&T Bell Laboratories became AT&T Labs official new name in 1996, when it  became part of Lucent Technologies. Since 1996, AT&T Labs has been awarded over 2000 patens and has introduced hundreds of new products. In 2007, Lucent Bell and Alcatel Research merged into one organization under the name Bell Laboratories. Currently, the Labs’ purpose is directed away from science discovery and focussed on enhancing existing  technology, which will yield higher financial returns.

Pause & Reflect: Questions for continuous learning part 1.

1.) What were the first forms of electrical, point-to-point telecommunications? 2.) What revolution was taking place when early forms of telecommunications were invented and name at least two technology innovations? 3.) Define the word technology? 5.) Who founded Bell Research and Development Labs? 7.) Name at least two developments which Bell Labs were awarded Nobel Prizes in? 6.) Pick one Bell Lab invention, which you believe was most important for helping develop modern telecommunications or personal computing.

Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology Will Appear As Magic.

                                                                          — Arthur C. Clarke


Advance Technology Takes Root In The West

In the first half of the 20TH Century, Bell Labs’ dazzling R&D creations aligned seamlessly to establish a solid foundation in telecommunications. Most of the Labs’ bold research had been conducted in the industrialized, Eastern portion of the United States. By the 1950s, new evolving industries on the West Coast were benefiting from Bell’s technological developments. Palo Alto’s, Stanford University research facilities, south of San Francisco, attracted corporate transplants— most notably  IBM, General Electric and Eastman Kodak. In 1970, XEROX Corporation of Rochester, New York established a research center known as—Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center Incorporated). PARC’s impact in R&D would soon be felt, acting as a stimulating catalyst for personal computing and information technology development.  

 Creative Sanctuary For Nurturing Daring Ideas

Jack GoldmanChief Scientist at Xerox enlisted physicist Dr. George Pake, a specialist in nuclear magnetic resonance to help establish a new Xerox research center. Selecting the Palo Alto location gave the scientist greater freedom than was possible near its Rochester headquarters. The location also provided huge resource opportunities to select talent pools of engineers and scientist from the numerous research centers located in the Bay Area. Once the West-Coast lab had a foothold, it became a sanctuary for the company’s creative misfits— passionate science engineers who were determined to create boldly. One of the few downsides for the new facility’s location was—less opportunities for lobbying and promoting critical breakthrough developments to top management located a continent away. XEROX PARC had an inspiring creative influence, along with universal appeal, which attracted international visitors. A collaborative, open atmosphere helps to define the creative legacy of PARC. The cross-pollination of ideas and published research between the R&D facility and Stanford’s computer science community, pushed digital innovation towards new thresholds.

A Premier Of Personal Computing Tools Is Unveiled

XEROX PARC, discovered a target rich environment of ideas from  Douglas Engelbart, who worked at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park. Engelbart gave the Mother of all personal computing presentations in December of 1968, — astonishing the computer science audience with a remarkable debut of: the computer mouse, hypertext, email, video conferencing and much more. Bitmap graphic, graphical user interface (GUI), which provides window features and icons— are just a few of the revolutionary concepts developed by PARC for personal computing. The list of  PC  innovations and developments continues with laser printersWYSIWYG text editorInterPress (prototype of Postscript) and Ethernet as a local-area computer network—inspiring PARC Universal Packet architecture, which resembles today’s internet. Optical disc technologies and LCD, were developed by PARC material scientist adding yet more to its diverse technology portfolio.

 The Shape Of Things To Come

Xerox PARC’s R&D, efficiently blended these vital new technologies and leveraged it all into a personal computer, workstation, called  “Alto.” The futuristic Alto, was light-years ahead of its 1973 debut—bundled with a dynamic utility including: a mouse, graphical user interface and the connectivity of Ethernet. Interest in this revolutionary PC wonder kept expanding as countless demonstrations were given to the legions of intrigued individuals. The increasing demand for witnessing the power of PC computing was telegraphing the need for a new consumer market. For the first time, a “desktop sized computer”could match the capabilities of a full-service print shop. Advance technology always comes with a hefty price tag, and the Alto was no exception, making it beyond reach of most consumers. Despite a high price-point — excitement, fame and glory of Alto grew — as did admiration for the bold new world of Apple Computers and of its superstar founder — Steve Jobs.

Xerox Alto -1973 Was this the apple of Steve Job’s eye? It certainly was the first personal computer, which included most of the graphic interface features we recognize today.

Torch Of The Titans Lights New Horizons

By 1979, Apple was beginning to advance its own flavor of user-friendly interfaces with the development of the Lisa and Macintosh personal computers. Both products featured screens with multiple fonts, using bitmap screens for blending graphics and text. From early on, there were Apple graphic engineers associated with Xerox PARC — either through former employment or in connection with Stanford University. Apple engineers aware of advances made in graphic interfaces with PARC’s ALTO, prompted Steve Jobs to have a parlay with PARC. In late 1979, Steve Jobs with his Apple engineering entourage arrived to view an AlTO demonstration at Xerox facilities. The meeting’s outcome proved Jobs’ was a master of showmanship and marketing JudeJitsu by not disclosing a previously negotiated, sizable investment from Xerox’s venture capital group.

Gravitational forces began shifting in favor of Steve Jobs and Apple Computer to capitalize on the market potential for personal computing. PARC computer engineers and scientist clearly understood the economic potential of an information business they help to build… but top Xerox executives certainly did not.  Xerox had a history of dominating the lucrative copy machine market — this was the business model Xerox corporate decision makers were comfortable with and they would not risk venturing very far from.

Most of PARC’s personal computing developments experienced the same frustrating fate of being cherry picked by others —  allowing for lucrative opportunities to go for bargain rates to new companies like Apple Computers. Apple’s alchemy of — perfect timing, creative talent and visionary insight quickly aligned towards harnessing information technology products for an emerging market convergence. The creative inspiration and marketing savvy, which Steve Jobs’ applied towards personal computing—created  seismic ripple effects, which we’re still experiencing today.


Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained  

Recently, there’s been a handful of media and tech industry critics, siting undeserved shortcomings of Bell Labs and Xerox PARC. Too often, corporate R&D labs are faulted for not fully marketing their technology developments or capitalizing on scientific inventions. Rarely mentioned in these over-simplistic reviews, is an understanding an R&D’s purpose or mission of innovation, which is directed by the parent company’s strategic goals. Failing to understand the reality of this relationship, detracts from the technological importance and diminishes the accomplishments of these remarkable engineers and scientists. Lost in the critics hindsight is an under-reporting of the titanic obstacles facing the marketing, manufacturing and distribution of innovative products.


Thrilling technical breakthroughs are what grab headlines — rarely are the successful efforts of corporate marketing or brilliant production logistics recognized or mentioned.  It’s a disconnect to judge a R&D’ lab’s success completely on the financial returns of its inventions.

The laser printer in particular, removes the myth that Xerox PARC mismanaged all of its developments. Gary Starkweather, a brilliant optical engineer for Xerox PARC, developed the laser printer. Starkweather had pitched battles with Xerox management over promoting the laser printer, but eventually he triumphed and the laser printer went on to earn billions of dollars — enough to repay the investment cost of Xerox PARC several times over. Eventually Starkweather moved on to greater opportunities when Steve Jobs offered him a job in Cupertino.

Brilliant R&D technology, requires an equally creative or open-minded group of executives for  converting technology innovation into a marketable product.  These decision makers must maintain iron-wills and courage to shepherd the technology product through its entire volatile development process.

IBM’s iconic 305 RAMAC, the first commercial ‘super computer,’  is a classic example of a product development challenge. Introduced in 1956, the RAMAC featured a hard disk drive (HDD) and stored a — whopping five megabytes of data. Apparently, the HDD storage capacity could’ve been expanded well beyond the 5MB, but was not attempted because — IBM’s marketing department didn’t believe they could sell a computer with more storage.                   

IBM 305 RAMAC — first commercial computer to use a hard disk drive in 1956.

R&D Labs take creative risk in developing new ideas, most of these developments won’t make it to market, but that’s the price of creativity. Using intuition for taking risks and knowing some failure is necessary to pave the road toward successful discoveries — builds confidence in trusting one’s creative resources. So often, the creative-process is misunderstood and undervalued in our society’s perceived need for instant control and results. In the past, I’ve personally witnessed this attitude reflected in our educational system, however the viewpoint is  progressively shifting to realize the value of the creative-process. Steve Jobs and Apple Computers are a good illustration of a company, which traditionally emphasized and embraced the creative spirit. Creative employees are considered the most valued resource at Apple as they are encouraged to nurture their creative uniqueness. Shortsighted emphasis on quarterly results, which has affected most of American business culture, is refreshingly absent from Apple’s overall mindset, allowing for more sustained and successful business initiatives.

Where Have All The R&D Labs Gone — Innovation Versus Invention

The era of industrial, ‘closed inventive’ research & development labs — have faded into the background of yesterday’s business culture. Internal silos, once the proprietary norm, have been day-lighted to allow fresh ideas and collaborative efforts to circulate.

For the past 10 years, corporations have steadily reversed their long-term, pure scientific research in favor of  efforts towards quicker commercial returns. In 2011, Intel Corporation, dropped its  ’boutique’ research lablets‘ in Seattle, Berkeley and Pittsburgh  — opting for academic research to be conducted at university facilities. Intel continues to maintain its more profit oriented Intel Labs. This industry strategy, repeatedly cloned itself within the corporate research world, as it is far easier to realize a profit from innovation than pure invention.

Perhaps the golden-age of great research & development labs have run their course — but not before replacing the analogue, industrial era technology with a digital one. A century ago, using creative, innovative and bold scientific vision, Bell Labs set the standard for future R & D Labs. Xerox PARC, helped to extend Bell Labs’ marvelous inventions and innovations with a solid platform of creative research for developing mass markets in the postmodern telecommunications and personal computing of today.  ~


  Pause & Reflect: Questions for continuous learning – part 2. 1.) Name the parent company (based in New York) featured in the essay and its research and development lab, which moved into California’s Bay Area? 2.) What was the profitable product (used for duplicating documents), that  this company had originally been built on? 3.) Give at least two reasons why this R&D lab was so inventive? 4.) What stopped the lab’s parent company from realizing more profits from its inventions? 5.) What was the name of  both the young, iconic tech entrepreneur and his company (named after a red fruit), who was able to creatively package and market early Silicone Valley PC innovations? 6.) What’s the difference between invention and innovation? 7.) In your opinion, who were the top 10 inventors of all time and how did they make your top 10?



References & Links    

Bell Labs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bell Labs
Telstar 1: The Little Satellite That Created the Modern World 50 Years Ago | Wired Science |
Was Bell Labs Overrated? – Forbes
Top 10 Greatest Inventors in History | Top 10 Lists |
History of Lucent Technologies Inc. – FundingUniverse
Volatile and Decentralized: The death of Intel Labs and what it means for industrial research
Inventive America | World | Times Crest
Bell Labs Kills Fundamental Physics Research | Gadget Lab | the Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History
Xerox PARC, Apple, and the Creation of the Mouse : The New Yorker
1956 Hard Disk Drive – Disk Storage Unit for 305 RAMAC Computer
IBM 305 RAMAC: The Grandaddy of Modern Hard Drives
WSJ mangles history to argue government didn’t launch the Internet | Ars Technica
A History of Silicon Valley