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Tue, 11 Dec 2018

Northeast Today

Narinder Singh Kapany: The Man Who Bent Light

Narinder Singh Kapany: The Man Who Bent Light
July 20
14:07 2018

NET Bureau

We have reached an era where almost everything is possible and accessible with just a click. Within less than a second the screen flashes in front of you with the information you asked for. Miracle, isn’t it? This miraculous technology began some 7 decades back when a Punjabi University student pioneered in the field of Fibre Optics. Popularly known as the ‘Father of Fibre Optics’, Narinder Singh Kapany, an Indian-born American Physicist was in fact the person to coin the term ‘Fibre Optics’.

Through his research, Kapany presented to the world that light can travel in bent glass fibres. His research paper captioned “A Flexible Fiberscope, using Static Scanning” appeared in the scientific journal Nature in its January 2, 1954 issue and paved the path for instruments such as endoscopes and laser probes. Hence, it can be said that without Narinder Singh Kapany laser surgery, high speed communication, solar energy, biomedical instrumentation wouldn’t have been possible.

Born to a Sikh family in Punjab, Kapany studied at Agra University and served briefly as an Indian Ordnance Factories Service officer, before going to Imperial College London in 1952 to work on a Ph.D. degree in optics. In 1960 he founded ‘Optics Technology Inc’ where he was the Chairman of the Board, President and Director of Research for long 12 years and in 1967 he successfully brought the company in public with several acquisitions and joint ventures across the United Sates. In 1973, he established his second business venture ‘Kaptron Inc.’ which he sold to AMP Incorporated.

Also known as the ‘Silicon Valley Legend’ Kapany’s significant contribution to the world of physics has led him to bag many awards and honors which include including ‘The Excellence 2000 Award’ from the USA Pan-Asian American Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the National Inventors Council and is the Fellow of scientific societies the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Optical Society of America and the British Royal Academy of Engineering and has been recipients of several awards and recognition. He owns more than one hundred patents and has authored four books on opto-electronics and entrepreneurship and published more than 100 scientific papers.

It’s difficult to imagine a life without internet nowadays. Thanks to this legend from our country whose exuberance made the digital world and medical advancements possible. Kapany truly deserves a Nobel-Prize for his contributions.

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