Charles K. Kao Age: The full name of Charles Kao is He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009 for his discovery of how light can be carried over fiber-optic cables. Charles Kuen Kao (Pinyin Gao Kun) is a scientist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009. He shared the award with scientists Willard Boyle and George E. Smith, who were recognised for their contributions to the development of the charge-coupled device (CCD). Kao was a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Sir Charles Kuen Kao (November 4, 1933 – September 23, 2018) was a Chinese-born British-American electrical engineer and physicist who was a pioneer in the invention and application of fibre optics in telecommunications. He was born in the United Kingdom and raised in the United States.
As early as the 1960s, Kao devised a number of ways for combining glass fibres with lasers in order to transport digital data, which served as a foundation for the development of the Internet as we know it today.
In 1957, Kao graduated with honours from the University of London with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. His first job was with Standard Telephones and Cables, a British subsidiary of the American telecommunications corporation ITT, which he started the following year. In 1960, he joined ITT’s Standard Telecommunication Laboratories in Harlow, England, where he remained until his retirement in 1990. In 1965, Kao graduated with honours from the University of London with a PhD in electrical engineering.
When he and fellow British engineer George Hockham hypothesised that ultra-pure glass fibres might carry light over long distances without experiencing any signal degradation in 1966, the world was taken by surprise. The first practical fiber-optic cable was successfully manufactured in 1970, and by the end of the twentieth century, fiber-optic cable was used to transmit a large proportion of the world’s telecommunications signals.
In 1970, Kao left ITT to pursue a doctorate at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he remained for four years. ITT hired him back as head scientist of its electro-optical products group in Roanoke, Virginia, where he remained until his retirement in 1974.
Eventually, he rose to the position of director of engineering in that division, and he served as executive scientist and director of research at the ITT Advanced Tech Center in Shelton, Connecticut, from 1983 to 1987. The Chinese University of Hong Kong was his alma mater from 1987 until 1996, and he served as vice-chancellor and president.
As a result, Kao rose through the ranks to become chairman and chief executive officer of Transtech, a Hong Kong fiber-optics firm, and then chairman and chief executive officer of ITX Services, a technology transfer company, between 1996 and 2001.
Kao was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain ailment, in 2004 and has been living with the disease ever since. In 2010, he and his wife, Gwen Kao, established the Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Condition Limited to raise awareness of the disease and to provide care for individuals who are affected by it in Hong Kong.