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Graduate wins nobel prize

PUBLISHED: 12:33 08 October 2009 | UPDATED: 17:14 25 August 2010

A MAN who helped revolutionise global communication has received the Nobel Prize for Physics.

A MAN who helped revolutionise global communication has received the Nobel Prize for Physics.

Former graduate of Woolwich Polytechnic - now University of Greenwich - Professor Charles Kao, won the prestigious accolade for his breakthrough in fibre optic technology.

Fibre optics have transformed the internet by allowing faster communication.

Charles Kao graduated in 1957 with a BEng in Electrical Engineering and accepted an honorary degree from the university in 2003.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich, Baroness Blackstone, said: "We have always regarded Charles Kao as one of our most distinguished alumni.

"The university is delighted that the great achievement of one of its graduates has been recognised by the Nobel committee.

"We were also delighted that he came along to an alumni event in Hong Kong during the last year."

Professor Kao's research proved that strands of glass fibres can transmit near limitless amounts of digitised data on pulses of laser light.

His discoveries enabled the use of fibre optics in the development of the internet, video conferencing and electronic commerce.

The other half of the Nobel Physics Prize for 2009 was jointly awarded to Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith for the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit - the CCD sensor.

Nobel prizes, founded by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, were first awarded in 1901. Previous winners of the physics prize include Pierre and Marie Curie in 1903 for their work on radiation, and Guglielmo Marconi in 1909 for his work in wireless telegraphy.

Laureates receive a gold medal, a diploma and a sum of money. The formal award ceremony takes place in Stockholm and Oslo on December 10.


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