William Oliver Baker
5th President of Bell Labs
In office
Preceded byJames Brown Fisk
Succeeded byIan Munro Ross
Personal details
Born(1915-07-15)July 15, 1915
Chestertown, Maryland
DiedOctober 31, 2005(2005-10-31) (aged 90)
Chatham, New Jersey
Frances Burrill
(m. 1941; died 1999)
Alma materWashington College (B.S.)
Princeton University (Ph.D.)

William Oliver Baker (July 15, 1915 – October 31, 2005) was president of Bell Labs from 1973 to 1979 and advisor on scientific matters to five United States presidents.[1]


He was born on July 15, 1915, in Chestertown, Maryland.[1]

He received his degree from Washington College and went on to get a doctorate from Princeton University, studying under Charles Phelps Smyth. He later did research for Bell Labs that helped lead to synthetic rubber. He held 11 patents in all. He headed Bell Labs from 1973 to 1979. Prior to being named president, he had served as Bell Labs Vice President for Research since 1955. Baker had lived in the New Vernon section of Harding Township[2] and was a longtime resident of Morristown, New Jersey.[1]

In 1979, he was a resident of Morristown, NJ upon his tenure ending as President of Bell Labs. [3]

He died of heart failure on October 31, 2005, in Chatham, New Jersey.[1]

Awards and honors


  1. ^ a b c d Margalit Fox (November 3, 2005). "William O. Baker, 90, an Adviser to Five Presidents About Scientific Matters, Dies". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "William O. Baker stood with presidents", New Jersey Hills, November 4, 2005. Accessed December 2, 2019. "It was 1961. New Vernon resident and scientist William Oliver Baker stood with President John F. Kennedy in the oval office."
  3. ^ The Daily Register, VOL.101 NO. 248, APRIL 12, 1979,
  4. ^ "W. O. Baker". www.nasonline.org. Retrieved 2022-11-10.
  5. ^ "SCI Perkin Medal". Science History Institute. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  6. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved 2022-11-10.
  7. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Charles Lathrop Parsons Award". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2016-01-14.
  9. ^ "Miles Conrad Memorial Lectures". Retrieved October 19, 2021.
  10. ^ "Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences Recipients". American Philosophical Society. Retrieved November 27, 2011.