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AMOS E. JOEL, JR.

1918–2008

Elected in 1981

“For inventions and contributions to switching system developments for the nationwide public telecommunications network.”

BY W. O. FLECKENSTEIN
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY

AMOS E. JOEL, JR., a world authority in the field of switching, died October 25, 2008. He was 90 years old. Amos was born in Philadelphia on March 12, 1918. He was fascinated with electronics in his childhood and graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. He earned his bachelor’s (1940) and master’s (1942) degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After graduation he was hired by Bell Laboratories, where he worked for 43 years. During World War II, he designed circuits for general-purpose digital computers and was instrumental in the development of coding and decoding machines for military and diplomatic uses.

Amos Joel was totally engaged in switching technology for his entire adult life. In his career at Bell Laboratories he was involved in many projects, was a prolific inventor, wrote a great deal about switching technology, and participated in many education and training programs. One could make a very long list of his contributions. For this tribute I have decided to focus on three contributions that I believe are major:

First, the Automatic Message Accounting (AMA) system, which was a necessary ingredient in the move from operator-handled toll calls to Direct Distance Dialing (DDD) by the customer.



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