Kao, Charles Kuen

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Charles Kuen Kao, 1933–, British-American physicist, b. Shanghai, China, Ph.D. Imperial College London, 1965. Kao was an engineer and researcher at Standard Telecommunications Laboratories Ltd. in Great Britain (1957–70 and 1974–87), a faculty member at the Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong (1970–74), and vice chancellor of the Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong (1987–96). Since 1996 he has been chairman and chief executive officer of Transtech Services Ltd., Hong Kong. In 2009, Kao shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Willard Boyle and George Smith. He was cited for his contributions to the development of fiber optic technology, which is used to send digitized telecommunications over glass or plastic fibers using pulses of light. His discovery that extremely pure glass would enable optical fibers to transmit light over great distances helped shape the foundation of modern networked societies.