Shining a Light on Nobel Winners for Fiber Optic and CCD Technology

in 1901, the Nobel Prize has been awarded for pioneering discoveries and
breakthrough inventions. This year, the Royal
Swedish Academy of Sciences
granted the Physics Nobel Prize for two
scientific achievements that have helped “shape
the foundations of today’s networked societies

One-half of
this year’s physics award goes to Charles K. Kao for “groundbreaking
achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical
communication.” The other half jointly goes to Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith for “the invention of an
imaging semiconductor circuit—the CCD sensor.”

In 1966,
Mr. Kao of the Standard Telecommunication Laboratories, Harlow, U.K. and
Chinese University of Hong Kong, discovered how to transmit light signals long
distances over hair-thin optical glass fibers.

What the wheel did for transport, the
optical fiber did for telecommunications
,” said
Richard Epworth, who worked with Kao in the 1960s.

Today, optical fibers are at the core of all communications systems
and enable global broadband communications, such as the Internet. Almost all
long-distance telephony and data traffic, including text, music, still images,
and video, is carried around the world in just a split second on fiber cable.

A large part of that fiber optic
traffic is digital imagery. Boyle and Smith each earned a fourth of the award
for their 1969 invention of the first successful imaging technology using a
digital sensor, or Charge-Coupled Device (CCD). The CCD is the digital
camera’s electronic eye and is the core of digital photography. This remarkable
technology makes use of the photoelectric effect by which light is transformed
into electric signals. The CCD captures the signals and maps them in a large
number of image points or pixels. CCD technology is also used in medical
applications, such as body scans.

optics cable is also one of the fastest-growing transmission mediums for both
new cabling installations and upgrades. Sign up for our FREE Fiber Optic Technology white
paper to find out why fiber is the ideal choice for your network backbone.


Easy, wireless access to a projector presentation

Ever need multiple PC or Mac® laptop users—or even mobile PDA users—to be able to stream video and audio from right where they sit? And lugging your own laptop to a meeting can be difficult.

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