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Wheatstone lecture success: Enlightening the world

Published: 6 March 2013

Optoelectronics Research Centre Director, Professor Sir David Payne, was guest of honour at the recent launch of the Wheatstone Lecture programme at King’s College London. 

Sir David was invited to be the key speaker at the event that is organised in memory of Sir Charles Wheatstone who became the first Professor of Physics at King’s College London in 1834. 

He spoke to assembled guests about Enlightening the World, outlining his key role in the development of optical fibre technology, looking at the lessons learned and asking what could be next for the world of photonics. 

Twenty five years ago Sir David and his team made a one of the most significant developments of modern telecommunications – the creation of the erbium doped fibre amplifier (EDFA), the world’s first successful optical amplifier has subsequently transformed the Internet with its ability to transmit and amplify huge amounts of data. 

One of the most highly recognised scientists in the UK, he remains at the heart of this pioneering work. He was recently awarded a knighthood and has received numerous award and international recognition over his prestigious nearly 50-year career, including the Marconi Society Prize and Fellowship for his pioneering work in fibre optoelectronics and fibre telecommunications. 

Professor Anatoly Zayats, Head of Experimental Biophysics and Nanotechnology at King’s College London, said: “Sir David gave an outstanding inaugural Wheatstone lecture, sparkling with wit, wisdom and insight as the audience was guided through the history of optical fibre communications in which he has played such a pivotal role. 

“The audience, ranging from school children to undergraduates and high-profile academics, was enthralled by the vision for the future of fibre-optics and optical communications - both bright and exciting. A great start to what we hope will be an annual event for the years to come.” 

Find out more about the Wheatstone lecture series

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