Anechoic Chamber Bell Labs

J.C.R. Licklider, the first head of ARPA, specialized in psycho-acoustics. I was looking into Bell Labs for my site visit tomorrow. I had never heard of an anechoic chamber.

The anechoic chamber at Microsoft. The one at Bell Lab is the oldest one.


@AMcD @jenlake

This paper I sent to you in May 2022:


Daniel R. Raichel

CUNY Graduate Center
School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Design The City College of the City University of New York

RE: Radio-Eugenics and Induced Acoustic Cavitation (via Ultrasound)

In the course of their underwater sound investigations, Wood and his co-worker Alfred L. Loomis (1887–1975), who also was a trained lawyer, and Langevin observed that small water creatures could be stunned, maimed, or even destroyed by the effects of intense ultrasonic fields.

@AMcD It takes on even more significance given your visit 2 days ago to Bell Labs, and now learning (through a commenter on your Bell Labs visit vlog) that the TV series, Severance, was filmed there:

Theodore Shapiro’s continuous, pulsing score was key to the episode’s flow.

“It’s completely through-composed,” Shapiro notes. “At the top of the show, the music is driven largely by the heartbeat-like, undergirding percussion, but by the time we get to the end we’re at a full-throated statement of our main theme. If anything, we’re building from adrenaline and momentum into the more emotive elements of the music.”

Music was just one sonic element. Milchick’s pounding steps as he tears through Lumon’s long, well-trudged corridors were literally made by foley walking. Loop groups contributed the 360-degree melange of conversations that surround Helly at a company gala — shot inside the Eero Saarinen-designed New Jersey Bell Works building that also provides Lumon HQ’s exterior — where she discovers her Outie is a corporate heir who’s scheduled to speak in favor of the controversial severance procedure.

Ben wanted the sound to have an anxious, roller coaster, stomach-lurching feeling,” supervising sound editor/designer Jacob Ribicoff recalls.It was a throbbing, low, almost moving rumble. Some of it derived from underwater recordings of waves. We tucked that motif in with the music, which was doing similar things.” (my emphasis)

Such noise adds to Mark’s confusion when he awakens in his sister’s previously seen house, not knowing the floorplan or who the people there are. Sound effects blend with Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” as Irv tries to orient himself in his clue-packed townhouse. (source below)

h/t commenter of @AMcD

To tie in architecture with acoustics…


As per our text conversation on September 2, 2022:

Afternoon analemma photo taken in 1998–99 in Murray Hill, New Jersey, USA, by Jack Fishburn. The Bell Laboratories building is in the foreground.

“The Holmdel site, a 1.9 million square foot structure set on 473 acres, was closed in 2007. The mirrored-glass building was designed by Eero Saarinen.”

“After his father’s death in July 1950, Saarinen founded his own architect’s office, Eero Saarinen and Associates. He was the principal partner from 1950 until his death. The firm carried out many of its most important works, including the Bell Labs Holmdel Complex in Holmdel Township, New Jersey; the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri; the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana; the TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which he worked on with Charles J. Parise; the main terminal of Washington Dulles International Airport; and the new East Air Terminal of the old Athens airport in Greece, which opened in 1967. Many of these projects use catenary curves in their structural designs.”

“One of his best-known thin-shell concrete structures in America is the Kresge Auditorium at MIT. Another thin-shell structure is Yale’s Ingalls Rink, which has suspension cables connected to a single concrete backbone and is nicknamed “the whale”. His most famous work is the TWA Flight Center, which represents the culmination of his previous designs and his genius for expressing the ultimate purpose of each building, what he called the “style for the job”.[12][page needed] In 2019 the terminal was transformed into the TWA Hotel.[13][14][15]

Saarinen designed the Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, New York, together with his father, Eliel Saarinen. He also designed the Embassy of the United States in London, which opened in 1960, and the former Embassy of the United States in Oslo.” (my emphasis)

Most important —

“Saarinen was recruited by Donal McLaughlin, an architectural school friend from his Yale days, to join the military service in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Saarinen was assigned to draw illustrations for bomb disassembly manuals and to provide designs for the Situation Room in the White House.[16] Saarinen worked full-time for the OSS until 1944.[12][page needed].” (my emphasis)

“Shortly after World War II broke out, Eero became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He was recruited by a former classmate at Yale to join the OSS where he worked until 1944. It was the same classmate who several years prior had recruited Eero to work on the Futurama exhibit for the New York World’s Fair, an experience they now found directly relevant to their work at the OSS.

At 32 years old, Eero was appointed Chief of the Special Exhibits Section of the Presentation Division. He was responsible for designing and constructing military schools and situation rooms, along with the display equipment used in the various War Department conference rooms. He created a revolutionary three-dimensional organization chart that was instrumental in presenting problems of procedure and work-flow through various parts of the organization.

Eero also used his creative talents to build true-to-scale models. He built models of weapons for use in training scenarios, and he created models and props for use in films.

Saarinen lent his creative talents to other government organizations as well throughout the war. His architecture firm was chosen by the National Capitol Housing Authority to aid the war housing program by designing the Hillside Dwelling. While undertaking this project, Eero continued to work for the OSS twice a week.

Saarinen’s work for the OSS was highly commended by the Undersecretary of War, the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, the Director of the Women’s Army Corps, and many others. His experience and experiments during his time with the OSS are reflected in his later design work. Because of his unique talents and specialized experience, Eero was deemed irreplaceable.”

“With such publicity and success, it wasn’t long before other major American corporations were asking Eero to design their headquarters or corporate campuses. Eero accepted commissions from IBM, CBS, John Deere, Vassar College, MIT, Yale, The University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Chicago.”

“Because of their futuristic style, Saarinen’s tables appear in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey. (my emphasis)

It is through Saarinen – his work at Bell Labs and the Futurama exhibit at the NY World’s Fair (Corona Park), not to mention the OSS/CIA – that we connect to this thread: Decoding reality with Matt - #15 by Stephers.

IBM New York World’s Fair pavilion

New York, NY, United States. 1964

Architect: Eero Saarinen and Charles & Ray Eames

The collaboration between Charles and Ray Eames with the most successful American architects of their generation created a series of extraordinary projects that dealt with the propaganda of the American culture, the ephemeral architecture and the deliberate use of images with a political target. Apart of the pavilion that they did with Buckminster Fuller for the first USSR-USA cultural exchange fair, it stands out the project that they built with Eero Saarinen for IBM.


The IBM Corporation had a popular pavilion, where a giant 500-seat grandstand called the “People Wall” was pushed by hydraulic rams high up into an ellipsoidal theater designed by Eero Saarinen. There, a film by Charles and Ray Eames titled Think was shown on fourteen projectors on nine screens, illuminating the workings of computer logic.[72] At ground level beneath the theater, visitors could explore Mathematica: A World of Numbers… and Beyond (an exhibit of mathematical models and curiosities) and view the Mathematics Peep Show (a series of short films illustrating basic mathematical concepts).[73]

### Bell System[edit]

The Bell System (prior to its break up into regional companies) hosted a 15-minute ride in moving armchairs depicting the history of communications in dioramas and film named Ride of Communications. Other Bell exhibits included the Picturephone as well as a demonstration of the computer modem.

I also recall reading about obliquity (RE: Analemma link above) and concrete (RE: Anechoic chambers, Saarinen, and ARPA-E-funded Bolhassani/CUNY/Penn/Drexel links above) just a few days ago with regard to Serbian astrophysicist Milutin Milankovitch (keep in mind the World’s Fair tower structure still left standing in Queens, NY at Corona Park is reported to be an observation tower – review here: Decoding reality with Matt - #15 by Stephers)

He researched concrete and wrote a theoretical evaluation of it as a building material. At age twenty-five, his PhD thesis was entitled Contribution to the Theory of Pressure Curves (Beitrag zur Theorie der Druckkurven) and its implementation allowed assessment of pressure curves’ shape and properties when continuous pressure is applied, which is very useful in bridge, cupola and abutment construction.[2] His thesis was successfully defended on 12 December 1904; examination committee members were Johan Brick, Josef Finger, Emanuel Czuber and Ludwig von Tetmajer. He then worked for an engineering firm in Vienna, using his knowledge to design structures.

### Middle years[edit]

#### Construction engineering[edit]

At the beginning of 1905, Milanković took up practical work and joined the firm of Adolf Baron Pittel Betonbau-Unternehmung in Vienna. He built dams, bridges, viaducts, aqueducts, and other structures in reinforced concrete throughout Austria-Hungary. The result was particularly evident in the extraordinary design of a reinforced-concrete aqueduct for a hydroelectric power plant in Sebeș, Transylvania, which Milanković designed at the beginning of his career.

He patented a new type of reinforced concrete ribbed ceiling and published the first paper on armored concrete named “Contribution to the theory of reinforced armored pillars”. He published the second paper on the same subject based on new results in 1906. In 1908, he published a paper titled “On membranes of same opposition” in which he proves that the ideal shape for a water reservoir of equally thick walls is that of a drop of water. His six patents were officially recognized and his reputation in the profession was enormous, bringing abundant financial wealth. *(my emphasis)

Milanković continued to practice civil engineering in Vienna until 1 October 1909 when he was offered the chair of applied mathematics (rational, celestial mechanics, and theoretical physics) at the University of Belgrade. Though he continued to pursue his investigations of various problems pertaining to the application of reinforced concrete, he decided to concentrate on fundamental research.

Milanković continued in design and construction work when he moved to Serbia. During 1912, he designed the reinforced bridges in the Timok valley on the railway line Niš-Knjaževac.

Born in 1879 in the rural village of Dalj (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today located in Croatia), Milankovitch attended the Vienna Institute of Technology and graduated in 1904 with a doctorate in technical sciences. After a brief stint as the chief engineer for a construction company, he accepted a faculty position in applied mathematics at the University of Belgrade in 1909—a position he held for the remainder of his life.

Milankovitch dedicated his career to developing a mathematical theory of climate based on the seasonal and latitudinal variations of solar radiation received by the Earth. Now known as the Milankovitch Theory, it states that as the Earth travels through space around the sun, cyclical variations in three elements of Earth-sun geometry combine to produce variations in the amount of solar energy that reaches Earth:

1. Variations in the Earth’s orbital eccentricity—the shape of the orbit around the sun.
2. Changes in obliquity—changes in the angle that Earth’s axis makes with the plane of Earth’s orbit.
3. Precession—the change in the direction of the Earth’s axis of rotation, i.e., the axis of rotation behaves like the spin axis of a top that is winding down; hence it traces a circle on the celestial sphere over a period of time.

An Anechoic Chamber environment was required in order to achieve results for the experimental research project which is essentially to influence Sensory Deprivation, titled Chamber for Endogenous DMT (Collapsing the Wave Function) For this new section of the exhibition, Haroon Mirza delves into our understanding of the relationship between matter and consciousness, truth and belief. He creates unique physical experiences at the intersection of art, architecture, sculpture, sound and music. Each of the four works respond in some way to the building, artworks and context of the Collection.” Haroon has recently been granted Residency at the CERN in 2018 and will be working alongside top researchers from Greenwich University and Imperial College London.

@AMcD To echo (pun intended) your initial submission above…

In 2015, Microsoft built the quietest place on earth. But while it may sound like a sanctuary of meditative bliss, few can stand being in the room for an elongated amount of time.

After a number of minutes, you’ll begin to hear your own heartbeat. Stick it out a little longer, and you’ll hear your own blood flowing and bones grinding.

With no sound from the outside world allowed in, the almost absolute silence will gradually manifest itself as an unbearable ringing in your ears.

And when all that fun is over, you’ll likely lose your balance, because the lack of reverberation in the room sabotages your in-built spatial awareness.

The room, situated at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, is known as an “anechoic” (literally “without echo”) chamber, and it took two years to design. (my emphasis)

RE: Steven Fortune at Bell Labs and Voronoi (and radio propagation)

I am Technical Manager of the Algorithms Research group within the Computing Systems Principles department of Bell Laboratories, Alcatel-Lucent. Our group performs fundamental research in theoretical computer science, particularly algorithms. We also engage in practical algorithmic work relevant to Alcatel-Lucent’s technical problems.

Much of my past research has been in computational geometry, particularly robustness of geometric algorithms. For several years I worked on the WISE project, which uses geometric algorithms to predict radio propagation in indoor and outdoor environments. Other work includes a particularly efficient algorithm for approximating the roots of ill-conditioned, high-degree polynomials. More recent work includes the algorithmic innards of design tools for state-of-the-art optical networks.

Bibliography in bibtex format or html format. Recent Papers, most with links to gzipped postscript files.

I am associate editor of SIAM Journal on Computing and International Journal of Computational Geometry with Applications (and previously ACM Transactions on Graphics).



Bell Labs History

1 Like

After reading this book, one cannot help but ask the question, “Where are the advances in technology coming from today?” Most of the new products that we enjoy in today’s information age had their technological genesis at Bell Labs. What will it take to recreate such an innovative organization that is willing to share its output with others, or is it possible?

May 2015