Behind state-of-the-art light technologies are people who are true leaders. Our industries are full of visionaries who are making a real difference with technologies that have a significant impact on lives. Novus Light Technologies Today highlights here five such notables:
Englert and Higgs
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2013 to François Englert of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium and to Peter W. Higgs of the University of Edinburgh, UK for the theory of how particles acquire mass, which was the missing piece in the Standard Model puzzle.
In 1964, they proposed the theory independently of each other (Englert together with his now deceased colleague Robert Brout).
On 4 July 2012, at the CERN Laboratory for particle physics, the theory was confirmed by the discovery of a Higgs particle. CERN’s particle collider, LHC (Large Hadron Collider), is probably the largest and the most complex machine ever constructed by humans. Two research groups of some 3000 scientists each, ATLAS and CMS, managed to extract the Higgs particle from billions of particle collisions in the LHC.
Chu was chosen as OSA's 2013 advocate of Optics for “public policy leadership and efforts in support of the advancement of the science of light, “particularly his efforts in increasing investments for photovoltaics, LEDs, and other optics-based energy technologies,” said OSA President Donna Strickland.
Chu is well known in the optics community for his Nobel Prize-winning work on laser cooling. An OSA Fellow and Honorary Member, Chu was appointed by President Obama as the Secretary of Energy in 2009 after an impressive career that included positions at Bell Labs, Stanford University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of California, Berkeley.
In 2013 we lost an optical communications pioneer, Tingye Li, who was honoured at the 2013 Optical Fibre Communication Conference and Exposition for his contributions to light-wave technology and optical fibre communications.
Li worked at AT&T Bell Labs for more than four decades before his retirement in 1998. He and his team at Bell Labs developed the world’s first (sparse channel) wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) system. The use of WDM and optical amplifiers changed the paradigm of network economics and is considered to be of revolutionary significance in the history of light-wave communications.
Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) Professor David Payne was knighted in Queen Elizabeth II’s 2013 New Year Honours List for services to photonics research and applications.
Payne is a Professor at University of Southampton (UK) and Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC). He was recognised as a Knight Bachelor for his extensive contributions to harnessing light in telecommunications, sensing and lasers for manufacturing.
He has to his credit a number of key discoveries, including pioneering research developing a practical optical fibre amplifier, the erbium-doped fibre amplifier (EDFA), and its use in optical fibre transmission systems. This crucial component forms the backbone of the Internet and made its explosive growth possible through the ability to transmit and amplify vast amounts of data.
Written by Anne Fischer, Managing Editor, Novus Light Technologies Today