Charles K. Kao life and biography

Charles K. Kao picture, image, poster

Charles K. Kao biography

Date of birth : 1933-11-04
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Shanghai, China
Nationality : Chinese
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-12-20
Credited as : scientist, "Father of Fiber Optic Communications", Nobel laureate

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Charles Kuen Kao,(born November 4, 1933) is a pioneer in the development and use of fiber optics in telecommunications. Kao, known as the "Godfather of Broadband", "Father of Fiber Optics" or "Father of Fiber Optic Communications", was awarded half of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics for "groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication".

Charles K. Kao's research formed the basis for fiber optics — the transmission system fundamental to everything from instant messaging to the World Wide Web — for which he won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics.

In a 1966 paper written while he worked at Standard Telephones and Cables, Kao showed that light could be transmitted over long distances using extremely thin glass filaments. In later studies, he demonstrated that these optical signals could be sent over with great clarity and speed and at unprecedented volumes.

Kao was born in Shanghai, but his family fled to British-ruled Hong Kong when Kao was about 15. He is a dual citizen of the UK and US, and resides in California, where he is being treated for increasing symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, a regenerative brain condition. His name is sometimes presented in English as Gāo Kūn or Kao Kuen, and his early research was conducted in collaboration with George Hockham, a co-worker at Standard Telephones and Cables.

Kao is one of the few earliest who started studying the environmental effects of the land reclamation in Hong Kong, and presented one of his first related studies at the conference of ACU (Association of Commonwealth Universities) in Edinburgh in 1972.

Kao was the Chairman and Member of the Energy Advisory Committee (EAC) of Hong Kong SAR for two years, and retired from the position on July 15, 2000. Kao is a Member of the Council of Advisors on Innovation and Technology of Hong Kong SAR, appointed on April 20, 2000.Kao is also a visionary of modern submarine communications cables and largely promoted this idea.

He predicted in 1983 that world's seas would be littered with fiber optics, five years ahead of the time that such a trans-oceanic fiber-optic cable first became serviceable.

Ali Javan’s introduction of a steady helium-neon laser and Kao’s discovery of fiber light-loss properties now are recognized as the two essential milestones for the development of fiber-optic communications.

Kao has been suffering from Alzheimer's disease since early 2004 and has speech difficulty, but has no problem recognizing people or addresses.Kao's father also suffered from the same disease. Since 2008, he has resided in Mountain View, California, United States, where he moved from Hong Kong in order to live near his children and grandchild.

Author of books:
-Optical Fiber Technology II (1980)
-Optical Fiber Systems : Technology, Design, and Applications (1982)
-Technology Road Maps for Hong Kong : An In-Depth Study of Four Technology Areas (1991, with Kenneth Young)
-A Choice Fulfilled : The Business of High Technology (1991)

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