Kao, Sir Charles Kuen

Kao, Sir Charles Kuen, 1933–2018, British-American physicist, b. Shanghai, China, Ph.D. Imperial College London, 1965. Kao was an engineer and researcher at Standard Telecommunications Laboratories Ltd. in Great Britain (1957–70 and 1974–87), a faculty member at the Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong (1970–74), where he helped found its electronics department, and vice chancellor of the Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong (1987–96). After 1996 he held a variety of academic, advisory, and business positions; he was knighted in 2010. In 2009, Kao shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Willard Boyle and George Smith. He was cited for his contributions to the development of fiber optic technology, which is used to send digitized telecommunications over glass or plastic fibers using pulses of light. His discovery that extremely pure glass would enable optical fibers to transmit light over great distances helped shape the foundation of modern networked societies.

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