Wednesday 7 October 2009

Woolwich educated Nobel Prize winner - for research done on Greenwich Peninsula

Newspaper reports outline the Nobel prize won by Charles Kuen Kao's for his work on fibre optics - which had paved the way for the current broadband. The papers report on his education at Woolwich Polytechnic. We note that the Times includes a quote from Baroness Blackstone because they say 'the University of Greenwich includes the former Woolwich Polytechnic".
(of course the Times should note that the University of Greenwich IS Woolwich Polytechnic but stripped of those departments which educated Dr. Kao and made it so prestigious).

However, the newspaper report also points out that Dr.Kao's research was done at STC. Was therefore their work done in Greenwich at what is now the Alcatel works? We would be grateful for information. In 2000 Alcatel published a book - in an attempt to show that the technology driving the internet was developed only a short distance from the Dome, where it had been decided to ignore local industries. The booklet includes a photograph of Dr.Kao and makes a strong case for much of the optical fibre technology being developed here. They also say that in 1986 the Greenwich factory secured the first order for an international fibre optic cable.

So - anyone who has any information please add it here


Anonymous said...

When I worked for STC it was accepted he did this work at the STC Labs (STL) in Harlow. There is/was a plaque there to that effect. The site at Greenwich was more product / manufacturing rather than R&D.

Richard Buchanan said...

Further to the above comment, at the time Dr Kao was working on optical fibre at STL, STC were at several locations, particularly at North Woolwich; and SCL (Submarine Cables Ltd) were at Greenwich. SCL had been Telcon in their glory years, the site going back to the earliest submarine telegraph days.
STC were much later into (telephone) submarine cables, and made them at Southampton, with repeaters designed and made, as one of its activities, at N Woolwich. STC took over in 1970, completing the move from, and closing, N Woolwich in mid 1970s.