Oral-History:Charles Kao


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About Charles Kao

This interview is part of the Marconi Foundation 30th Anniversary Commemoration.  Charles Kao starts this interview by discussing the beginning of his interest in optical communications. He talks about the creative process in making the breakthrough with fiber optics. He talks about the early experimental trials and problems when dealing with optics. He discusses the process to get an adequate transparent material (glass) in order to get the guided material. He talks about the article that he published with George Hockhem in 1966. Then, he talks about the need to get funding for their actual fabrication of the fiber. He briefly mentions his chemistry experiments when he was a child and how he was surrounded by curiosity-driven people. The interview ends with Kao’s brief comments about future changes in society due to significant new technologies.

About the Interview

CHARLES KAO: An Interview Conducted by Robert Colburn, IEEE History Center, 26 February 2004

Interview # 435 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and The Marconi Foundation, New York City

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, Rutgers - The State University, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
Charles Kao, an oral history conducted in 2004 by Robert Colburn, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.


Interview: Charles Kao
Interviewer: Robert Colburn
Date: 26 February 2004
Place: New York City