Corning Receives IEEE Milestone Award for Invention of First Low-Loss Optical Fiber
CORNING, N.Y., May 1, 2012 — Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) announced today that it has received a Milestone Award in Electrical Engineering and Computing from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for the invention of low-loss optical fiber, which played a pivotal role in changing the way the world communicates. The IEEE Milestone Award recognizes significant technical achievement and innovation that occurred at least 25 years ago.
“Corning is honored to receive this highly prestigious award from IEEE,” said Marty Curran, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Optical Fiber. “Corning’s 1970 invention of low-loss optical fiber, and the manufacturing process used to produce it, together revolutionized the telecommunications industry and changed the world forever. The explosion of the Internet and other information technologies would not have been possible without optical fiber. Only optical fiber provides the nearly limitless bandwidth required for high-speed transmission of voice, data, and video the world depends on for the way we live, work, and play.” Today, there are more than 1.6 billion kilometers of fiber installed around the world.
Low-loss optical fiber was invented by three Corning scientists – Dr. Robert Maurer, Dr. Peter Schultz, and Dr. Donald Keck after representatives of the British Post Office came to Corning in the mid-1960s seeking assistance in creating pure glass fiber optics. The scientists produced an optical fiber having a total attenuation of about 17 decibels per kilometer, far superior to the best bulk optical glasses of the day, which had attenuations of approximately 1,000 dB/km. In recognition of this achievement, Drs. Maurer, Schultz and Keck have been inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and were awarded the National Medal of Technology in 2000.
“The demonstration of low-loss transmission through optical fiber showed us immediately that optical communications could be practical,” said Gordon Day, IEEE president and CEO. “But few recognized, or could have recognized, that in a few decades it would change the lives of almost everyone in the world. The first low-loss fiber was a truly defining moment in the history of technology in the 20th century.”
The IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing Award is an initiative of the IEEE History Center. Since establishing the program in 1983, the IEEE has awarded more than 100 Milestone awards around the world. The IEEE Milestones recognize the work of leading inventors, including Benjamin Franklin, Samuel F. B. Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison; and innovative companies, including Westinghouse, Philips, IBM, and HP. This most recent IEEE Milestone dedication is sponsored by the IEEE Photonics Society, which is focused on the field of quantum electronics.