Charles K. Kao was a renowned electrical engineer and physicist who helped to popularize fiber optics in telecommunications. He was born in Hong Kong under British rule, and after graduation he immigrated to England.
He studied Electrical Engineering at the University of London, eventually joining Standard Telephones & Cables. He began his career in 1965 at Stehli & Cie, a Swiss firm that was near bankruptcy. He was placed in charge of developing the world’s first high-density fiber optic cable for use on ships.
During this time he discovered that impurities were causing light loss in fibers. He developed various methods to connect glass fibers with lasers over the years, laying the groundwork for the Internet’s development.
He was not only dubbed the “Godfather of Broadband” for this discovery, but he also received several accolades and honors, including the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics. He had British and American citizenship at the time of his death in Hong Kong. Charles K. Kao Wiki, Bio, Height, Childhood, Wife & Children.
Charles K. Kao Age, Childhood & Early Life
Charles Kuen Kao was born on 4 November 1933, in Shanghai, China. Kao Chun-Hsiang’s father, Kao Chun-Hsiang, was a renowned Shanghai attorney. He later became a legal consultant and lecturer on Chinese law in Hong Kong while working as an attorney in China. His mother’s name was King Tsing Fong, and she hailed from the island of Hainan in southern China.
He was born second, after his parents’ two remaining children. He had a younger brother named Timothy. He also had two older siblings, a sister and a brother, who died of measles before he was born. Charles K. Kao began his formal education at the illustrious Shanghai World School in 1943, shortly after losing his elder brothers to disease.
The people of Shanghai had lived under Japanese control since 1937, but they were largely unaffected by the conflict due on to their residence within the Shanghai French Concession. The second world war had little influence on their lives. However, in 1948, with the arrival of the Red Army, the family decided to emigrate from Shanghai.
Charles K. Kao Education
In 1948, the family moved to Hong Kong, where Charles was enrolled at St. Joseph’s College. He received straight A’s in the school matriculation examinations and was academically outstanding.
In 1953, he moved to London and enrolled at the Woolwich Polytechnic, where he studied engineering. He subsequently completed an A-level course at the same institution before proceeding to study electrical engineering at university. In 1957, he earned a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Woolwich Polytechnic (now University of Greenwich).
Charles K. Kao Height & Weight
How tall is Charles K. Kao? He is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs around 70 Kg. He has black hair and has dark brown eyes.
Charles K. Kao Career
Charles K. Kao first joined Standard Telephones & Cables (STC), a British offshoot of International Telephone & Telegraph Co (ITT), in 1957 shortly after receiving his bachelor’s degree. In 1958, he was assigned to the microwave division for one year before moving on to various parts.
In 1960, he applied for a lectureship at Loughborough Polytechnic; but, when STC offered him a position at their research facility, the Standard Telecommunication Laboratories (STL), Harlow, he decided to stay back. His lawyers handled all legal issues related to the polytechnic while his house deposit was returned by his attorneys.
In 1987, Charles K. Kao returned to Hong Kong, where he served as the Vice Chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong until 1996. He was also a Non-Executive Director and member of the Audit Committee for Varitronix International Limited in Hong Kong from 1991.
From 1993 to 1994, he was the President of the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning (ASAIHL). From 1996 to 2001, he was Transtech Services Ltd’s CEO and from 2000 to 2007, ITX Services Ltd’s CEO. Both firms are located in Hong Kong.
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Charles K. Kao Major Works
Charles K. Kao is recognized for his contributions to the field of telecommunications and fiber optics. Working with George Alfred Hockham, he successfully identified how light may be transmitted through fiber-optic cables without significant loss.
Charles K. Kao Awards Lists
Kao was the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize in Physics, which he received in 2009 “for groundbreaking achievements in fiber optics for optical communication.” Other significant medals include Marconi Prize (1985), IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal (1985), and Faraday Medal (1989).
In 2010, he was promoted to Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE). In addition, in 2010, he was given The Grand Bauhinia Medal (GBM), Hong Kong SAR. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Charles K. Kao Wife & Children
Charles K. Kao married Wong May-wan (Gwen), a Standard Telephones & Cables colleague, in 1959. They had two children: a son named Simon, born in 1961, and a daughter named Amanda, born in 1963.
He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2004. In order to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease, he and his wife established the Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease Limited in 2010.
Charles K. Kao passed away in Hong Kong on September 23, 2018 of an unspecific cause. He was 84 years old and was survived by his wife and children.
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