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Bells Labs Commissions Custom Bennett Award

Bell Labs, the world-renowned industrial arm of Alcatel-Lucent, and the world’s pre-eminent research organization in the field of communication networking, commissioned Bennett Awards to create a new custom award design for its inaugural Bell Labs Prize. Designed to provide motivation and incentive to drive disruptive innovation, the Bell Labs Prize recognizes proposals that “change the game” in the field of information and communications technologies by a factor of 10.

Since the creation of the Bell Labs Prize six months ago, close to 500 applicants submitted ideas for consideration. Seven finalists were selected, who then presented their ideas to a distinguished panel of judges. Following this, three winners were chosen to receive cash prizes and a unique opportunity to work with Bell Labs to further explore their ideas.

The first-place prize was awarded to Emmanuel Abbe, assistant professor at Princeton University, for his subject of:  A Shannon Theory of Social Networks and Beyond. In addition to a cash prize of $100,000, Professor Abbe received the custom award created by Bennett Awards for this prize.

For this prestigious recognition award, Bennett Awards collaborated with Bell Labs to bring their ideas to life in the form of a new, custom sculpture award. The centerpiece of the award is a handcrafted sculpture featuring two figures – one male and one female – holding a globe. The sculpture also incorporates sculpted elements meaningful to Bell Labs and the Bell Labs Prize, including representations of the first transistor, fiber optics, the UNIX operating system, the Horn antennae, the Shannon algorithm, and Telstar.  

Two sculpture awards were created: one for the first-place winner, and one as a perpetual award that will include the name of each year’s winner. Both awards were cast in pewter. The individual recognition award featured a brushed pewter finish, while the perpetual award was plated in bronze. Both sculptures were mounted on trapezoid-shaped marble bases. The perpetual award also included a second-level handcrafted wood base to house the names of the winners.

More information on the Bell Labs prize can be found at More information on Alcatel-Lucent can be seen at