Sir Charles Kao

Kao Data Mourns the Loss of Sir Charles Kao

  |   News

It is with much regret that we record the passing of Sir Charles Kao.

Sir Charles Kao, the genius for whom the Kao Data Campus is named, passed away last Monday in Hong Kong, from complications arising from pneumonia. His loss has been widely reported on numerous channels including The Washington Post, The New York Times, the BBC, DatacenterDynamics and the Institute of Engineering & Technology.

Sir Charles Kao and George Hockham’s invention of fibre optic cable in 1966 revolutionized the world of optical communications forever and paved the way for a host of modern innovation, including broadband internet. This discovery was so significant that Sir Charles Kao was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2009. He had previously been awarded the Alexander Graham Bell Medal in 1985 and the Faraday Medal in 1989.

According to a tribute on its website, Sir Charles completed his PhD in electrical engineering at UCL in 1965, under the supervision of Professor Harold Barlow. His thesis investigated ‘Waveguides for millimetric and submillimetric electromagnetic waves’. He went on to pursue a career in both industry and academia, including founding the Department of Electronics in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he later became Vice-Chancellor.

In 2010 Sir Charles was knighted in the Queen’s birthday honours list and was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate for Science by UCL. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2002. Subsequently he had campaigned alongside his wife for greater understanding of the condition, establishing the Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010.

Jan Daan Luycks, CEO of Kao Data, said, “It is saddening to hear of Sir Charles Kao’s death. It is fair to say that the modern world would not be same without him. At Kao Data, we look forward to building on his legacy of innovation in a sector which he helped to create.”

The directors and staff of Kao Data Campus extend their sincerest condolences to Sir Charles’ wife, Gwen Kao, their children, Amanda and Simon and the wider family.

To read more about the development of fibre optics at the site on which the Kao Data Campus is built, please click the link:


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