June 21, 2012
"When one door closes another one opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."
Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922)
Born in Scotland, Bell spent a lifetime researching the acoustical properties of the human voice, perhaps influenced by his mother’s increasing deafness. His family moved to Ontario, he then moved to Massachusetts as a professor of speech pathology at Boston University, where his research eventually led him to the invention of the “acoustical telegraph”. Initially dismissed as a toy, the success of the telephone made him very wealthy and funded what he considered his real scientific work, further research on aircraft and hydrofoil boats. He founded the journal Science, was a charter member and president of the National Geographic Society and a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution. The bel and decibel, units of sound energy, were named in his honor by Bell Laboratories, which he established. He steadfastly refused to have a telephone in his study, saying it interrupted his thinking.