Professor Charles K. Kao, former CUHK Vice-Chancellor, awarded Nobel Prize

December 2009

Professor Charles K. Kao, former Vice-Chancellor of CUHK (1987-1996) and ‘Father of Fibre Optics’, received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf at the Concert Hall in Stockholm, Sweden on 10 December 2009 amid warm applause.

He was honoured by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for his groundbreaking idea about fibre optics put forward over four decades ago, which eventually revolutionizing communication and ushering in a new era of telecommunications and the internet.

When the news was announced on the evening of 6 October 2009, it thrilled Hong Kong and, in particular, the CUHK community.

His Nobel lecture ‘Sand from centuries past; Send future voices fast’, which told the marvellous story of the persevering pursuit of his strong belief, was delivered on 8 December by Mrs. Gwen Kao on his behalf at Stockholm. The lecture, broadcast live on the CUHK campus and website, inspired the minds of many young students and researchers.

Professor Charles K. Kao joined CUHK as reader and chair of the then new Department of Electronics. He was later appointed as the first Professor of Electronics. He was Vice-Chancellor of CUHK from 1987 till his retirement in 1996. During his years as Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kao relentlessly pursued excellence in developing CUHK into a world-class local university. The pursuit of excellence has since become the raison d’être of CUHK.