I would like to share my dislike with others in the blogosphere about the fate of Bell Labs (see Lubos and Doug “Sad. Just sad.”). People working in these labs changed the World and represents much better than other what doing science means for all.
Lucent is also in Italy being a wide-world corporation. Some years ago I tried to be hired by them as a small part of Bell Labs was also in Italy but I get no answer back. They were already in the crisis that changed so deeply this company till the status we see today. One should understand that, for industry, research can be a luxury, what really matters today is to find as rapidly as possible solutions to make money. This does not mean that it is the right way to proceed but is the way I see applied everywhere,
In some way, money overcome the idea-leaded path toward the future we were all accustomed to and we have to forget it. We do not need solutions, we need more and more convinced people that buys our products. These are not time for Einstein, it is time to sell refrigerators to Eskimos.
If this is our future, money rather than ideas, bad times are waiting us. In Italy the question of industry doing research is dead many years ago. In US there are a lot of company doing this. The hope is that they do not give up.