Unsung Science

How the Cellphone was Born: Three Months of Craziness

Dec. 10, 2021

In the early 1970s, “mobile phones” were car phones: Permanently installed monstrosities that filled up your trunk with boxes and, in a given city, could handle only 20 calls at a time. Nobody imagined that there’d be a market for handheld, pocketable cellphones; the big phone companies thought the idea was idiotic. But Marty Cooper, now 92, saw a different future for cellular technology—and he had 90 days to make it work. A story of corporate rivalry, Presidential interference…and unquenchable optimism.

Guests: Marty Cooper, father of the cellphone. Arlene Cooper, technology entrepreneur.

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