An Ivory Tower That Spins Pure Gold

As the R&D arm of Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs has a big hand in profits

In February, Tony Tyson was perched in the foothills of the Chilean Andes, trying to solve one of the universe's greatest mysteries. The billions of stars we see represent only one-tenth of the mass of the cosmos. The rest is enigmatic "dark" matter, detectable only by the way it pulls galaxies or bends light. Tyson has pioneered a way to use telescopes, high-tech cameras, and sophisticated imaging algorithms to spot the light-bending, thus charting dark matter's place in the heavens. It's a classic quest for new knowledge--and the stuff of Nobel prizes. But the 59-year old cosmologist is no ivied-hall academic. He's one of 1,150 scientists and technicians at Bell Laboratories, the research arm of telephone-equipment maker Lucent Technologies Inc.

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