Alexander Graham Bell was a Scottish-born inventor, scientist, and engineer who is credited with inventing and patenting the first practical telephone. He also co-founded the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in 1885.
Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech. That both his mother and wife were deaf profoundly influenced Bell's life's work. His research on hearing and speech further led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in his being awarded the first U.S. patent for the telephone, on March 7, 1876. Bell considered his invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study.
Many other inventions marked Bell's later life, including ground-breaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils, and aeronautics. Though Bell was not one of the 33 founders of the National Geographic Society, he had a strong influence on the magazine while serving as the society's second president, from Jan. 7, 1898, until 1903.
Beyond his work in engineering, Bell had a deep interest in the emerging science of heredity. Source: Wikipedia
* For more information on the life of Bell see: Canadian Encyclopedia
Of note: Bell was one of the founders of AT&T, the company that had a subsidiary called Bell Labs, which invented the transistor and the laser, creations that transformed the world.