Alexander Graham Bell : biography
In 1880, Bell received the Volta Prize with a purse of 50,000 francs (approximately US$ in today’s dollars) for the invention of the telephone from the Académie française, representing the French government. Among the luminaries who judged were Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas. The Volta Prize was conceived by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801, and named in honor of Alessandro Volta, with Bell receiving the third grand prize in its history.Crosland, Maurice P. "Science Under Control: The French Academy of Sciences, 1795–1914". Cambridge University Press, 1992. As cited by James Love in Knowledge Ecology International, March 20, 2008, p. 16. Retrieved: January 5, 2010.Davis. John L. Annals of Science, Volume 55, Issue 3, July 1998, p. 301. Retrieved from InformaWorld.com, January 5, 2010. Boston Daily Evening Traveller, September 1, 1880, Library of Congress, Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers. Retrieved: April 5, 2009. Library of Congress, Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers. Retrieved: April 5, 2009. Library of Congress, Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers. Retrieved: April 5, 2009. Library of Congress, Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers. Retrieved: April 5, 2009. Library of Congress, Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers. Retrieved: April 5, 2009. Since Bell was becoming increasingly affluent, he used his prize money to create endowment funds (the ‘Volta Fund’) and institutions in and around the United States capital of Washington, D.C.. These included the prestigious ‘Volta Laboratory Association’ (1880), also known as the Volta Laboratory and as the ‘Alexander Graham Bell Laboratory’, and which eventually led to the Volta Bureau (1887) as a center for studies on deafness which is still in operation in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. The Volta Laboratory became an experimental facility devoted to scientific discovery, and the very next year it improved Edison’s phonograph by substituting wax for tinfoil as the recording medium and incising the recording rather than indenting it, key upgrades that Edison himself later adopted. Library of Congress, Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers. Retrieved: April 5, 2009. Note (N.B.): The last line of the typed note refers to the future disposition of award funds: "… and thus the matter lay till the paper turned up. He intends putting the full amount into his Laboratory and Library". The laboratory was also the site where he and his associate invented his "proudest achievement", "the photophone", the "optical telephone" which presaged fibre optical telecommunications, while the Volta Bureau would later evolve into the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (the AG Bell), a leading center for the research and pedagogy of deafness.
In partnership with Gardiner Hubbard, Bell helped establish the publication Science during the early 1880s. In 1888, Bell was one of the founding members of the National Geographic Society and became its second president (1897–1904), and also became a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution (1898–1922). The French government conferred on him the decoration of the Légion d’honneur (Legion of Honor); the Royal Society of Arts in London awarded him the Albert Medal in 1902; and the University of Würzburg, Bavaria, granted him a PhD He was awarded the Franklin Institute’s Elliott Cresson Medal in 1912. He was one of the founders of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1884, and served as its president from 1891–92. Bell was later awarded the AIEE’s Edison Medal in 1914 "For meritorious achievement in the invention of the telephone". IEEE Global History Network. Retrieved: August 8, 2011.
The bel (B) and the smaller decibel (dB) are units of measurement of sound intensity invented by Bell Labs and named after him. sfu.ca. Retrieved: July 28, 2010. freedictionary.com, American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language by Houghton Mifflin Company, Fourth Edition, 2000. Retrieved: September 2, 2009. Since 1976 the IEEE’s Alexander Graham Bell Medal has been awarded to honor outstanding contributions in the field of telecommunications.