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Bell System Technical Journal

The Bell System Technical Journal was a periodical publication by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in New York devoted to the scientific and engineering aspects of electrical communication.[1] It was published under this name from 1922 until 1983, when the breakup of the Bell System placed various parts of the system into separate companies. However, publication continued under different names until 1995.

Bell System Technical Journal  
Publication details
Publication history
American Telephone and Telegraph Company
Frequency Quarterly (1922-1951), Monthly (1952-1995)
Standard abbreviations
Bell Syst. Tech. J.
ISSN 0005-8580
LCCN 29029519
OCLC no. 6313803



The Bell System Technical Journal was published by AT&T in New York City through its Information Department, in behalf of Western Electric Company and the Associated Companies of the Bell System.[1] The first issue was released in July 1922, under the editorship of R.W. King and an eight-member editorial board. From 1922 to 1951, the publication schedule was quarterly. It was bimonthly until 1964, and finally produced ten monthly issues per year until the end of 1983, combining the four summer months into two issues in May and July.

Publication of the journal under the name Bell System Technical Journal ended with Volume 62 by the end of 1983, because of the divestiture of AT&T. Under new organization, publication continued as AT&T Bell Laboratories Technical Journal in 1984 with Volume 63, maintaining the volume sequence numbers established since 1922. In 1985, Bell Laboratories was removed from the title to AT&T Technical Journal until 1995 (Volume 74).

In 1996, the title was changed to Bell Labs Technical Journal, and publication management was transferred to Wiley Periodicals, Inc., establishing a new volume sequence (Volume 1).

Notable papersEdit

  • In 1928, Clinton Joseph Davisson published a paper on electron diffraction by nickel crystal, thus unambiguously establishing the wave nature of electron.[2] This discovery led to a widespread acceptance of particle-wave duality of matter and won him the 1937 Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • Claude Shannon's paper "A Mathematical Theory of Communication", which founded the field of information theory, was published as two-part article in July and October issue of 1948.[3][4]
  • Many landmark papers from the developers of Unix appeared in a themed issue in 1978.[5]
  • The journal is also notorious for a November 1954 article entitled "In-Band Single-Frequency Signaling"[6] by Weaver and Newell that revealed the internal operation of the long-distance switching system in use at that time. This article enabled phone phreaks to develop the blue box apparatus that manipulated the switching system to allow them to make free long-distance calls.
  • The 2009 Nobel Prize physicists Willard Boyle and George E. Smith described their new charge-coupled device in the journal in a 1970 paper.[7]


Below is a list of some of the former editors of this journal.

  • 1922 (July) R.W. King [8]
  • 1954 J.D. Tebo [9]
  • 1957 (May) W.D. Bulloch [10]
  • 1959 (January) H.S. Renne [10]
  • 1961 (March) G.E. Schindler, Jr.[10]

Former indexing servicesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Bell System Technical Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, p.1.
  2. ^ Davisson, Clinton J. (January 1928). "The Diffraction of Electrons by a Crystal of Nickel" (PDF). Bell System Technical Journal: 90–105,. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  3. ^ Shannon, Claude E. (July 1948). "A mathematical theory of communication" (PDF). Bell System Technical Journal: 27:379–423. Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  4. ^ Shannon, Claude E. (October 1948). "A mathematical theory of communication" (PDF). Bell System Technical Journal: 623–656,. Retrieved 2010-10-21. 
  5. ^ Ritchie, D.M.; K. Thompson (July–August 1978). "The UNIX Time-Sharing System". Bell System Technical Journal. 57 (6). Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  6. ^ Weaver, A.; N. A. Newell (1954). "In-Band Single-Frequency Signaling" (PDF). 33 (6). Retrieved 2011-03-03. 
  7. ^ "Charge coupled semiconductor devices." Bell System Technical Journal, 49(4): 587-93, April 1970.
  8. ^ "Forward". Bell System Technical Journal. New York City: American Telephone and Telegraph Company. 01 (01): 1–3. July 1922. Retrieved 2013-01-20. 
  9. ^ The History of Phone Phreaking. 1954.
  10. ^ a b c "Announcement of New Editor". AT & T. Retrieved 2013-01-20. 

External linksEdit