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N.J. seeks a way to recover its innovation sector


APRIL 19, 2015    LAST UPDATED: SUNDAY, APRIL 19, 2015, 10:24 AM


What can New Jersey — once the home of storied inventors like Thomas Edison and the Bell and Sarnoff labs — do to get its innovation mojo back?

That question held center stage at a forum of business and civic leaders in Newark last week that outlined a way to jump-start New Jersey’s struggling economy by tapping into the traits that once made the state a thriving, innovation powerhouse.

The success of Bell Labs, created in 1925 with a staff of 4,000 scientists and engineers, has become a symbol of New Jersey’s former stellar, and now greatly diminished, technological prowess.

The laboratory’s string of groundbreaking discoveries, ranging from laser spectroscopy, cosmic microwave background radiation, the first orbiting communications satellite (Telstar), a solar battery cell and the UNIX operating system that transformed the Internet, garnered eight Nobel prizes and 32,000 patents — a daunting legacy that hangs over the state’s efforts to restore its reputation as a high-tech center.

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