To celebrate Kao’s contributions to the field of technology, Google will honor the engineer on Thursday by releasing a Doodle to celebrate his birthday, which is his 88th. The animated Doodle shows Kao who is widely regarded by the title “the father of fiber optics,” making use of the green fiber laser to transfer data from one side of the Doodle to the other.

In Shanghai in November. 4 3rd, 1933. Kao learned English, French and the Chinese classics prior to making the move to England to pursue electrical engineering. After graduating with the bachelor’s degree Kao was employed in Standard Telecommunication Laboratories in Harlow, England, while he was studying for an electrical engineering doctorate.

Google Doodle for Charles K. Kao

In 1966 the year 1966, a Chinese-born electrical engineer and physicist by the name of Charles K. Kao co-authored the idea to transform global communication and set the foundation for the internet we have today.

Together with his collaborator George Hockham, Kao proposed using glass fibers made of thin material to transfer data over vast distances. They proposed replacing heavy copper wires currently being used in communications. Although originally rejected by the industry, Kao’s idea could revolutionize communications technology and the field as a whole.

In the past glass fibers were able to transmit light pulses for phone signals for only about 20 metres (65 feet) before the majority of the light was dissipated. However, Kao’s landmark paper from 1966 Dielectric-Fiber Surface Waveguides for optical Frequencies indicated that it could have the capability to carry light signals over more than 100 km (62 miles) via a fiber that was made of ultrapure glass.

Kao and Hockham emphasized in their report they concluded that “a fiber of glassy material” with a particular structure “represents a possible practical optical waveguide with important potential as a new form of communication medium.”

Four years later, enthused by Kao’s visionary work, a group of researchers developed an ultrapure fibre for the very first time.

Kao’s groundbreaking research enabled the rapid growth of broadband communication through thousands of kilometers of fiber optic cables which transmit huge amounts of information around the world in just a second. Kao was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work. Kao will be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009.

The year 1977 was the time that General Telephone and Electronics, the United States telecom provider, created history by routing phone calls via the fiber optic network of California and the network only increased from that point. On the other hand, Kao continued looking ahead and leading the ongoing research into fiber optics, and in 1983, he shared his vision of fiber optics to connect the world via cables undersea. In the same year, TAT-8 was run across the Atlantic Ocean, connecting North America to Europe.

In the years since the usage for fiber optics increased exponentially, in particular due to the development and expansion that the Internet has brought. Today, aside from the subsea fiber optics that connect all continents of the world as well as those broadband “backbone” networks that internet service providers utilize to connect various parts of a nation as well, you can obtain the direct connection of fiber optics to the internet right from your home. When you read this article, you’ll realize that your internet traffic is likely to have been connected to the fiber optic cable.

This day’s Google Doodle for Charles K. Kao depicts the man using a laser that is directed at an optical fiber cable. Of course, as is the case with a Google Doodle the cable is cleverly curled to form”Google. “Google.”

In the cable itself there is a fundamental principle that governs fiber optics. The light is directed towards the one end and, as the cable bends and curves, the light bounces against the walls that is the wall of the cable. Moving forward in a constant manner until it is able to reach the other end of cable and is converted into binary.


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