October 6, 2009

2009 Physics Nobel for Optical Fibers and CCDs

Charles K. Kao  •  Willard S. Boyle  •  George E. Smith

COLLEGE PARK, MD – The 2009 Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to three industrial physicists who developed technology critical to the modern information age.

Charles K. Kao
Half the prize goes to Charles K. Kao (Chinese University of Hong Kong) for “groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication."   Charles Kao was previously recognized by American Physical Society (APS) for his fiber optic work with the 1989 James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials (shared with J.B. MacChesney and R.D. Maurer).

Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith
Half of the prize will be shared by Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith (both of Bell Labs) for “the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit – the CCD sensor."  Willard Boyle is currently a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

APS Commendation
"We extend our sincere congratulations to all three Physics Nobel Laureates,” said APS president Cherry Murray." We are particularly pleased that we can count Boyle among our distinguished APS Fellows, and that the APS had the foresight twenty years ago to honor Kao for his pioneering work on optical fibers. If it weren’t for the contributions of all three of these outstanding physicists, the revolutionary advances in information technology we’ve witnessed in recent decades could never have been possible.”

Gray arrow  Background and additional information in Physics Today

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