national academy of sciencesJames brown Fisk1910—1981A Biographical Memoir bywilliam h. dohertyAny opinions expressed in this memoir are those of the author(s)and do not necessarily reflect the views of theNational Academy of Sciences.Biographical MemoirCopyright 1987national academy of scienceswashington d.c.
JAMES BROWN FISKAugust 30, 1910-August 10, 1981BY WILLIAM H. DOHERTYE1876, the hundredth year after the signing ofthe Declaration of Independence, Alexander GrahamBell invented the telephone in Boston. He exhibited it a fewmonths afterward at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.Ninety years later James Fisk, president of Bell Laboratories, looking ahead to the telephone's hundredth anniversary, suggested to me, a longtime associate, that a historicalvolume ought to be planned as a record of the developmentof telephone science over that period.Several colleagues and I, going through the "Boston Files"of the earliest years, made an interesting discovery. The firsttrained scientist hired by the infant Bell company (late in1885), Hammond V. Hayes, reminded us in many ways ofour own Fisk. Hayes and Fisk came from old New Englandfamilies. Both had studied at Harvard and the MassachusettsInstitute of Technology. Both had earned doctorates in physics. But the resemblance ran much deeper, into their innermost personalities, their attitudes, their approaches, andtheir ways of operating: kindred spirits, aristocratic gentlemen both, born two generations apart.ARLY IN91
92BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRSThe thousand-page volume produced in late 1975,' theeve of the telephone's centennial, covered the first fifty years(up to 1925, the year Bell Laboratories was incorporated).Fisk does not appear in that volume. He was not with us until1939. But this memoir is about him, and its preparation hasrepeatedly recalled the approaches taken by HammondHayes in facing up to critical problems—human as well astechnical—as the telephone art progressed from its primitiveforms. Hayes had quickly seen that the scientific roots of telephony must extend into deeper soil than could be cultivated with the primitive tools of the early electricians andtelegraph wiremen, scorned by Lord Rayleigh as "so-calledpractical men whose minds do not rise easily above ohms andvolts."The invention of the telephone had stirred up an intellectual ferment in the world of engineering and physics concerning electric waves and oscillations. Hayes, while facing ahost of practical and "earthy" problems, sensed the need fora cadre of keen, academically trained minds. His first discovery was John Stone Stone, recruited from Johns Hopkins in1890 through the recommendations of the renowned physicist Rowland, then on the Hopkins faculty. Following Stonecame Campbell from MIT (with additional training at Harvard, Paris, Vienna, and Gottingen); Colpitts from Harvard;Pickard from Harvard and MIT; and Jewett from Chicago,brought over from the MIT faculty. These were the brightlights of the earliest days; their contributions, inspired byHayes, demonstrated convincingly the importance of fundamental knowledge. Thus the pattern was established longbefore there was a corporate Bell Laboratories with Frank B.Jewett as its president (1925). And to Jewett's successors, of1A History of Engineering and Science in the Bell System: The Early Years (1875—1925)(Murray Hill, N.J.: Bell Telephone Laboratories, 1975). Six additional volumes havecompleted the series.
JAMES BROWN FISK93whom James Fisk was the third, there has been no higherpriority than to engage and stimulate the best intellects.There had been no scientists in the immediate Fisk family.James, his sister Rebekah (Becky), and younger brotherGeorge were born in West Warwick, Rhode Island, to thesouthwest of Providence. Their parents, Henry James andBertha (Brown) Fisk, natives of Providence, had beencharmed by the Far West during a wedding trip. They subsequently took the children to Tacoma, and later to LongBeach, for their primary schooling. The elder Fisk was a salesmanager in the canning industry; and when the mother—abeautiful lady and talented violinist—died as the childrenwere nearing high school age, he contemplated going toAlaska for better business opportunities. At this point thematernal grandparents, the George Tilden Browns of Providence, urged that the children be placed in their care fortheir high school years. Judge Brown had retired as presidingjustice of the Superior Court of Rhode Island. Becky writesthat his whole life thereafter was devoted to his three grandchildren and their education. "They spoiled us and at thesame time were very strict. . . . He would quiz us in the evenings after study time. . . . Gramp's greatest delight wasseeing good grades on our report cards. Jim's were always thebest and required the least effort." The boys were sent faracross town to Providence Technical High School in preference to nearby public or private schools.James entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technologyin 1927, when he was barely seventeen years old. It was inJanuary of that year that telephone service had been established across the Atlantic. For the first time it was possible toplace a telephone call to London or Paris. It was not done bycable; the cable was nearly thirty years in the future. Themedium was high-power, long-wave radio, the wave beingtransmitted from tall towers at Rocky Point, Long Island.
94BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRSTwo of the key people involved, Mervin J. Kelly and RalphBown—Kelly in the fabrication of powerful radio tubes,Bown in the painstaking study of wave propagation over thegreat circle route—would one day be Fisk's mentors at BellLaboratories. They were physicist-engineers, and he wouldsucceed both of them.But even more glamorous, in May of that year, was another conquest of the Atlantic, the solo flight of Charles Lindbergh from New York to Paris. On his return the young aviator was acclaimed in many parades. One of these—which Iwitnessed, and Fisk was probably there—was from Bostonthrough Cambridge along Massachusetts Avenue, passingMIT, which already had a vigorous program in aeronauticalengineering, boasting an advanced design of wind tunnel.This was the field that appealed most to Fisk, and he pursuedit enthusiastically, graduating with high marks in 1931.The senior album of the MIT class of 1931 depicts Fiskas very active in extracurricular affairs, from smokers, proms,and field days through ROTC and varsity athletics (track andcross-country). A member of Kappa Sigma fraternity (as hisbrother George was to be, following him by three years), Fiskmade Tau Beta Pi and was secretary of his class for five yearsfollowing graduation. "Jim had a quiet dignity," writes a classmate, "that brought him many assignments, always discharged in a friendly manner and displaying uncommonability."As an aeronautical engineering student, Fisk came toknow and work with Charles Stark Draper, a Stanford andMIT alumnus, a graduate student and faculty member specializing in aircraft instrumentation. In their work in the engine laboratory Draper became impressed with Fisk's astuteness and depth and urged him to become more involved inpure physics; in a postgraduate year as a research assistantin aeronautics Fisk did develop a strong interest in atomic
JAMES BROWN FISK95physics, which led to a Redneld Proctor Travelling Fellowshipfor study in England. Redneld Proctor, MIT '02, former governor of Vermont, and long-time member of the MIT Corporation, had established these fellowships in the interest ofpromoting international student exchange.Fisk's grant was for the year 1932—33 at Cambridge, withresidence at Trinity College. This was a time of great excitement in British physics. It was in 1932 that Chadwick discovered the elusive neutron. And with the reputation of the Cavendish Laboratory for Experimental Physics—where Sir J. J.Thomson in 1897 and "discovered" the electron (that is, measured the charge-to-mass ratio elm)—and of its director, SirErnest Rutherford, hailed as "the greatest experimentalistsince Faraday," who had in 1910—11 established the minuteness of the atomic nucleus—there could not have been amore felicitous assignment for a lively and personable youngAmerican. Fisk appears to have relished it. He requested, andwas granted, an extension of the fellowship into a secondyear. Among the friends made in England during that period, besides Rutherford (who died in 1937), I rememberJohn Cockroft, who was lecturing in physics. Sir John remained in close touch with Fisk for many years.After completing his second year (1934), during which hepublished two Royal Society papers (one with a coauthor)relating to the conversion coefficients of gamma rays, Fiskreturned to the States to work at MIT for his Ph.D., whichhe received in 1935. The subject of his dissertation was "TheScattering of Electrons from Molecules," a topic suggested byProfessor Philip Morse, who took a constant interest in thestudy.Quantum theory had already accounted for most of thephenomena observed in experimental studies of the "collision cross-section" of atomic gases when bombarded bybeams of electrons. In Fisk's thesis the theory was extended
96BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRSto the case of diatomic molecules, and the results comparedwith experimental observations on H2, N2, and O2. The results were in reasonable accord, considering the rough assumptions that had to be made concerning the molecularpotential fields; the most noticeable departures were attributable to inelastic collisions due to the low energy of excitation in H2.Following an additional year at MIT as a teaching fellowin physics, Fisk received an appointment as a junior fellow atHarvard. The Society of Fellows had been establishedthrough a gift from President Lowell. It included a smallgroup of young men and women of exceptional ability, originality, and resourcefulness who were given residence, plus astipend, with no specific requirements as to what they shouldstudy or teach. It was a happy and challenging situation forFisk. Only twenty-six years old, he enjoyed living in LowellHouse, one of the first three "colleges" newly built underHarvard's House Plan, down by the river, with the addedprivilege of dining informally once a week with the seniorfellows. To add to the enjoyment of his first year, 1936 wasthe tricentennial year of Harvard's founding, a colorful yearclimaxed by ceremonies in September attended by manynoted scholars and Nobel prize winners (including Eddington) from foreign countries. The University of Cambridge(the mother of Harvard) sent representatives from Fisk'sTrinity College, from Kings, and from Emmanuel (JohnHarvard had been an Emmanuel man).A hundred years before, at the bicentennial, Emerson hadwritten:. . . Cambridge at any time is full of ghosts; but on that day the anointedeye saw the crowd of spirits that mingled with the procession in the vacantspaces, year by year, as the classes proceeded; and then the far longer trainof ghosts that followed the company, of the men that wore before us the
JAMES BROWN FISK97college honors and the laurels of the State—the long, winding train reaching back into eternity.Thus Fisk became, in spirit, a Harvard man as well as anMIT man and a University of Cambridge man. As we cameto know him a few years later, he was all of these—quietly,unostentatiously, but always generously.A friend from MIT days, Ivan A. Getting, had become aHarvard junior fellow a year earlier. As an MIT freshman,Getting had had Fisk as his ROTC platoon commander.When Fisk, as a graduate student, had switched his interestto theoretical physics, which was Getting's field, the two hadworked out problems together. Getting had then, after graduation, been awarded a Rhodes scholarship and studiedphysics at Oxford, receiving his Dr. Phil, in 1935.Fisk brought with him to Harvard some of the designs forVan de Graaff electrostatic generators as evolved at MIT, andhe and Getting proceeded to build an improved and compactmachine for accelerating protons and deuterons up to500,000 volts. The generator was not entirely completedwhen Fisk left the Society of Fellows two years later, and Getting continued its construction with the aid of a graduatestudent. There were two Physical Review papers coauthoredby Fisk on features of the generator and its use in the physicallaboratory.Fisk's departure in June 1938 coincided with the termination of his celibate life. Shortly after his return from England in 1934 he had met Cynthia Hoar, a Concord (Massachusetts) girl whose family, like his, had a long New Englandbackground. They had met at Saint-Sauveur, P.Q., on a weekend of skiing, a sport relished by both; and their mutualinterests, to be shared for nearly forty-seven years, includedmusic. Cynthia was a pianist, and after Concord Academy
98BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRSshe had attended the New England Conservatory and hadstudied for a year in Germany. Jim, Cynthia tells me, was aclarinetist (since high school days), and a good one. In lateryears at Bell Laboratories, characteristically, he never allowedus to suspect this endowment. Hammond Hayes had beenlike that: self-effacing, not seeking the limelight; a scholartalented in more ways than anyone knew.Following a June wedding and a trip to Europe, Fisk andhis bride moved to Chapel Hill, where he had accepted anassociate professorship in physics at the University of NorthCarolina. He had presented a paper there at a National Academy of Sciences meeting in May on disintegration of nucleiby high-energy radiation—a topic of much piquancy, comingon the eve of disclosures from Europe on nuclearfissionandthe possibility of chain reactions. But after one academic year,the long arm of Mervin J. Kelly, director of research at BellLaboratories, reached out and brought Fisk into the department Kelly had recently headed, now run by J. R. "Ray" Wilson, director of electronics research. Kelly, urgently seekingto build up the staff in modern physics, had heard about Fiskfrom William Shockley, who had joined Bell Laboratoriesafter collaborating with Fisk at MIT in 1935—36.Wilson, an alumnus of Reed College, Cal Tech, and Columbia, was a superb administrator. For all the shabbiness oftheir headquarters—a former biscuit factory in downtownNew York—his and Kelly's men had produced some remarkable electron tubes. Their devices ranged from the world'stiniest (for the first electronic hearing aids) to a 250-kilowattwater-cooled monster—the world's largest triode, seven feethigh—for super-power broadcasting. They had also furnished high-power tubes to J. R. Dunning at Columbia University for his first cyclotron.Fisk's first supervisor was physicist J. B. Johnson, softspoken and gentlemanly, developer of the first practical
JAMES BROWN FISK99cathode-ray oscilloscope tube, and famous for his analysis ofelectron noise in vacuum tubes and his identification of theWdrmeeffekt in electrical conductors, which became known asJohnson noise.But the emphasis in Wilson's laboratory in the mid-thirtieshad been shifting toward the high radio frequencies, partlyin support of new communications ideas and partly as ourawareness of Churchill's "gathering storm" in Europe suggested new uses of radio that could be of military importance.One of these, the detection and tracking of ships and airplanes by means of pulsed radio beams—not yet called radar—was already being pushed in Army and Navy laboratories in the United States and Britain. In 1938 a programsponsored by AT&T, but at government request, was begunin secret in the radio laboratory of Bell Labs at Whippany,New Jersey.William C. Tinus and I were put in charge of this work,and we immediately jumped to the 600-700 megahertzrange, three to four times the frequency employed anywhereelse, in order to achieve narrower radio beams for better angular precision and resolving power. We were encouraged bythe work of Wilson's very clever physicist-engineers on highfrequency tubes and by the expertise in microwaves beingdeveloped for forward-looking Bell purposes by radio research engineers at our Holmdel laboratory under Harald T.Friis.This is where Fisk came in. There was a crucial need formore transmitted power to increase range. At 700 MHz wecould not get more than a kilowatt from any existing tube,even on a "pulsed" basis. We were being pressed by the Navyto go to even higher frequencies for still narrower beams,and by the Signal Corps to undertake a project called "bombing through overcast" that would require scanning the terrain or ocean from the air with the narrowest possible beam.
100BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRSOn October 6, 1940, Wilson and Fisk, accompanied by Kelly,were at our Whippany laboratory to witness tests on a newinvention brought over in secrecy from England, the multicavity magnetron.2 We had been alerted, and my colleagueRussell Newhouse, coinventor of the first radio altimeter, wasprepared with a test setup that included a powerful electromagnet. He had built this to test an experimental 3,000-MHz(10-cm) oscillator devised by another of Wilson's ingenioustube men, A. L. Samuel.The results with the British magnetron were astonishing.An outwardly simple device, it delivered bursts of 10-cmpower roughly estimated at 10 kilowatts.The radar picture changed overnight, and Fisk was commissioned immediately by Wilson and Kelly to set up a groupto hand-produce 10-cm magnetrons as quickly as possible foruse in planning new radars; to find out how to "scale" themagnetron to the 40-cm range so that it could be used immediately to beef up the radars already designed and beingbuilt in Western Electric factories for use on battleships,cruisers, and destroyers; and to solve the many fabricationproblems associated with a device so radically new and notyet completely understood.Within two months of the demonstration, but with PearlHarbor still a year away, sample magnetrons had been made.As the months passed, under great pressure from the radar2The body of the magnetron was a copper block—the anode—having a centralhole with a cylindrical (indirectly heated) cathode located axially, plus six or eightsurrounding holes connected to the central hole by narrow slots. The holes (plusslots) being essentially quarter-wave resonators, the iterative structure would support a wave traveling circumferentially, provided it could be reinforced by a circumferential movement of electrons at the right speed. This was accomplished by employing a strong transverse magnetic field so that the electrons emitted from thecylindrical cathode, instead of moving radially toward the anode, would be forcedto follow a spiral path. The circumferential component of this motion (modified byits interaction with the fields at the successive slots) was then the source of microwavepower.
JAMES BROWN FISK101development engineers and the hard-driving Kelly, Fisk'steam proceeded with magnetron designs for manufacture, atthe same time advancing in theoretical understanding of theintricate electron dynamics. Of the many inventions relatedto magnetron development, four resulted in patents issuedto Fisk himself. His two physicist coworkers from the outset,with others soon added, were Paul Hartman from Cornelland Homer Hagstrum from Minnesota. A paper authoredby all three was published after the war (1946) to cover thepractical as well as theoretical aspects of the work, not onlyin Wilson's department but in many other contributinggroups.Wilson's laboratory, with splendid shop facilities andhighly imaginative physicist-engineers already active in thenew electronic art of "bunched" beams and resonant cavities,was a propitious environment. With the long wartime working day, six days a week (stretched out to twelve hours fortrain-and-ferry commuters from northern New Jersey), therewas another fortunate ingredient—an esprit and dedication,along with the seriousness. Emanating from Wilson himself,and augmented by a prankishness going down the line—inwhich Fisk was often the ringleader and provocateur—thisspirit was contagious and made everyone, including wiremen,mechanics, and clerks, an enthusiastic partner. Looking backon that period many years later, when vacuum tube researchhad moved from downtown New York to more sanitized anduniversity-like quarters in New Jersey, Fisk reminisced in aspeech to old veterans that "the sweet bakeshop aroma thathung over from the old biscuit factory may have inspired usto pump better vacuums," and suggested that "our instinctsto be inventive may have been sharpened by the man-eatingflies that shuttled between our place and the stables of NewYork's mounted police a half block away."Encouraging to Fisk and his colleagues were reports from
102BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRSthe armed forces on successful engagements—land, sea, andair—in which radars powered by their magnetrons had beendecisive.3Soon after the magnetron project was started, the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC)4 established theMIT Radiation Laboratory, with the aim of mobilizing thenation's universities for defense. As Kelly's emissary in promoting collaboration between Bell Laboratories engineersand the staff there under Lee DuBridge, I found one ofDuBridge's group leaders on gunfire-control radar to beFisk's old MIT-Harvard friend, Ivan Getting; while his otherMIT friend and mentor, Stark Draper, was inventing a leadcomputing gunsight for naval machine guns, for which we atBell Labs were designing an antiaircraft radar.This fruitful collaboration included magnetron development, and as the war continued and it became possible tobuild magnetrons for even shorter wavelengths (3 cm and1.25 cm), specialists from both the MIT and Columbia Radiation Laboratories joined forces with Fisk's group andmade contributions of great value. These advances includedvery large improvements in power output and in frequencystability (the absence of unwanted modes of oscillation), plusthe feature of tunability, technically difficult but quite valuable in an operational radar system.Radar was a decisive element in the prosecution of WorldWar II, and the British-invented magnetron, developed for'The Navy Bureau of Ships, which had cognizance of" shipborne search radar,including torpedo-directing radar for submarines, was especially diligent in reporting on submarine-based radar (the 10-cm SJ, followed by the 3-cm SS). One reportcited a nighttime engagement in the Pacific in which fourteen torpedoes, in conjunction with the Navy's torpedo data computer, were used to sink seven ships in aJapanese convoy in the space of a few minutes.4Serving with Vannevar Bush, chairman of NDRC, was Frank B. Jewett, presidentof the National Academy of Sciences and soon to retire as president of Bell Laboratories.
JAMES BROWN FISK103quantity production by Fisk and his colleagues, was its crucialcomponent. The enemy had nothing comparable. The Presidential Certificate of Merit, recognizing Fisk's vigorous leadership, came in 1946. Even before this, with the war endingand still in charge of the magnetron group under Wilson,Fisk had been given a parallel assignment under HarveyFletcher, director of physical research. One of the stars inFletcher's department was C. J. Davisson, Nobel prize winner(1937) for his demonstration of the duality of electrons andwaves. The contributions of Fletcher's men to achievementsin Wilson's area, including magnetic structures for magnetrons, had been notable. It was Kelly's view, with Fletcher'sretirement only a few years away, that Fisk could bring newstrength to an area that was close to Kelly's heart—the fundamental properties of materials and the physics of the solidstate.As assistant director under Fletcher, Fisk organized a solidstate physics group that only two years later was to come upwith the epochal invention of the transistor—another Nobelachievement. He also set up a research activity in electrondynamics to provide a continuing background in fundamental theory for the more developmental type of work on microwave tubes that was increasingly engaging Wilson.The war's end had allowed Bell people, emerging fromsome of their all-out military commitments, to think againabout their own business. Many things urgently neededdoing. To Ralph Bown, a Cornellian with a long backgroundin radiophysics and wave propagation who had succeededKelly as director of research, there was one area especiallywhere the time was ripe and the technology ready: theplunge ahead on a nationwide system of microwaves, beamedfrom tower to tower, with a capacity for thousands of telephone channels, plus network television.
104BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRSThus the postwar Bell Laboratories was an exciting place.So, too, was the Fisk household in Madison, New Jersey,which included three lively young boys and a grand piano—a Steinway, the gift of Cynthia's Massachusetts parents. Accordingly, we who had been close to Fisk and observed theincreasing responsibilities given to him by Kelly and Bownwere surprised to learn late in 1946 that he was leaving us tobecome a professor of physics at Harvard. We knew the academic life had always appealed, and that the blandishmentsof the Harvard physics faculty could be persuasive. At firstwe suspected that a bit of nostalgia for the CambridgeConcord environment was also involved, but this was not themotivation. Fisk was simply not ready to commit himself to acareer inevitably leading to the management of research, orresearch and development, rather than the personal involvement as a scientist that had brought him such satisfaction.The move to Harvard was delayed for a year to enableFisk to respond to an urgent request from the newly formedAtomic Energy Commission to be its first director of research. In this capacity he was influential in emphasizing therole that should be assigned to basic research, as distinguished from reactor development, and introduced severalprograms to include such fundamental work in the AEC'splans (later he was to serve for six years, 1952 to 1958, as amember of AEC's General Advisory Committee).After spending much of 1947 in Washington, with residence in Alexandria, Fisk was able to take on his Harvardcommitment and to live with his family in historic, whitesteepled Concord, the home of Emerson and Hawthorne,and the locale of Thoreau's Walden Pond—"a gem of thefirst water which Concord wears in her coronet"—whereCynthia had gone swimming as a girl.The Harvard appointment was to the Gordon McKayProfessorship in Applied Physics, along with which Fisk was
JAMES BROWN FISK105given an honorary A.M. and, in 1949, made a senior fellowin the Society of Fellows. The university catalog listed hiscourses as Elements of Mechanics (classical mechanics, forundergraduates and graduates) and Electron Physics, a reading and research course for graduate students.Fisk's students gave high ratings to his lectures, but theyalso appreciated his mischievous dry wit, already so wellknown to his Bell friends. On occasion he would invite a student to accompany him to a Red Sox ballgame at FenwayPark, winding up the day with a round of his favorite cigars,Corona Belvederes.In a neighboring office was Edward M. Purcell, also teaching physics and another veteran of strenuous war years. Twoyears earlier he had observed the phenomenon of nuclearmagnetic resonance (NMR), for which he and F. Bloch ofStanford would receive the 1952 Nobel Prize in physics. Purcell writes concerning Fisk that it was "a joy to be able to talkwith him about anything from freshman physics to high technology, and to draw from that deep reservoir of humanewisdom. . . . How great was Harvard's loss when Jim left wehave of course no way of measuring. I often thought hemight have become, and would have made, a great presidentof the university."But Fisk did leave, after one year, despite his love foracademe; this time the challenge presented by Kelly andBown was irresistible. Fletcher was retiring in the summer of1949, and Bown confided to Friis and me: "We're getting Jimback; and our idea is that he would eventually move into myjob. I presume this would be agreeable to both of you." Itwas, with no reservations. An old friend was rejoining us.In telephony there is a subtlety in the end product. Theend product is human communication, not hardware. Thissubtlety seems to offer a glamour of an intellectual sort tointrigue an inquisitive mind. Thus a keen physicist quickly
106BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRScatches on to the fundamentals of telephony's dominant technologies, transmission and switching.5 These are the fieldsrequiring the greatest amount of organized engineeringmanpower, yet continuously sensitive and responsive to newideas.This was what Fisk came into in mid-1949 at our newheadquarters at Murray Hill, New Jersey. His direct responsibility was for research in the physical sciences. But hisbroader assignment, as Bown's and Kelly's heir apparent, wasto encourage communications researchers like Friis and me,in trying to envision the telephone system of the future, tolook even farther beyond the horizon.There are near horizons and far horizons. In the earlynineteen-fifties we were looking ahead to the circular waveguide, using millimeter waves and providing a quarter of amillion voice channels, as the long-distance medium of thefuture, at least over land routes. About 1955 John Pierce, anelectron dynamicist of extraordinary imagination who, likeFisk, had worked under Wilson, made the audacious proposal that we communicate across oceans by means of microwave beams directed at orbiting satellites. And from over aneven more distant horizon there beckoned optical fiber transmission—though with little hope, until the nineteenseventies, for any but short distances. To all of these approaches, Fisk—advancing to vice president for research in1954 and executive vice president in 1955—gave enthusiasticsupport and encouragement.5The term transmission, understood as the
damental knowledge. Thus the pattern was established long before there was a corporate Bell Laboratories with Frank B. Jewett as its president (1925). And to Jewett's successors, of 1A History of Engineering and Science in the Bell System: The Early Years (1875—1925) (Murray Hill, N.J.: Bell Telephone Laboratories, 1975). Six additional .