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David Richardson Wins 2024 John Tyndall Award

David Richardson 2

NEW JERSEY — Optical fiber is the unsung hero of the Information Age, carrying massive amounts of data at the speed of light through undersea cables connecting continents and delivering the internet to homes and offices around the world. Modern manufacturing relies on optical-fiber lasers to cut, polish, and join materials from glass to steel. The work of David Richardson can be found throughout, providing more power, more capacity and greater capabilities in fiber-based technologies. 

TyndallAward 2024Winner Social

IEEE Photonics Society, and Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide have named David Richardson, Microsoft, UK, the 2024 recipient of the John Tyndall Award. Richardson is recognized for pioneering contributions to the development of optical fibers and their applications and commercialization in fiber lasers and optical communications. 

“David Richardson has been instrumental in advancing the field of photonics, with contributions that span across fiber lasers, space-division multiplexed fiber transmission, and innovative optical fibers,” said René-Jean Essiambre, President of the IEEE Photonics Society. “His profound technical expertise has not only guided students and emerging professionals for many years but also played a pivotal role in the successful commercialization of high-power fiber lasers.”

“His contributions to the field are not limited to his pioneering work,” added Optica President Michal Lipson. “His leadership and service, including serving as a Technical Program Chair and General Chair for OFC, will benefit our community for years to come. It is a pleasure to recognize David’s accomplishments with this award.”

The award, one of the top honors in the fiber optics community, is named for John Tyndall, a 19th-century scientist who was the first to demonstrate the phenomenon of total internal reflection. It recognizes an individual who has made pioneering, highly significant, or continuing technical or leadership contributions to fiber optic technology. 

Richardson will receive the award at OFC 2024, where he will also deliver a plenary speech on “Emerging Fiber Technologies for Future Optical Networks” on Tuesday, 26 March. In his talk, Richardson will discuss emerging technologies of radically new transmission fibers and discuss where they are likely to prove most disruptive and impactful in future optical networks.

As part of their commitment to fiber optic technology innovations, Corning Incorporated sponsors the award, which consists of a specially commissioned glass sculpture, a scroll, and an honorarium. The award will be jointly presented by IEEE Photonics Society, Optica, and Corning at OFC 2024, the world’s leading conference and exhibition for optical communications and networking professionals. The hybrid conference will take place from 24 – 28 March 2024 in San Diego, California, USA. 

Richardson received his BS and PhD in fundamental physics from Sussex University, UK. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a Professor at the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), Southampton University, UK and served as Deputy Director of the ORC from 2000-2023. He was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 1991 in recognition of his pioneering work on short pulse fiber lasers. 

Richardson is a prominent figure in the international photonics community. He has enjoyed considerable success as an entrepreneur, co-founding SPI Lasers Ltd (acquired by Trumpf in 2008) and Lumenisity Ltd (acquired by Microsoft in 2022). He has also led several government-funded collaborative research programs throughout Europe and as served as a General Chair for both OFC and ECOC. He has co-authored more than 550 peer-reviewed journal papers and been awarded over 20 patents. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, Optica, and the IET. He has won various awards for his research, including the IET Team Innovation Award, Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award and the Harold Hartley Award from the Institute of Measurement and Control. He is also co-recipient of the Horizon2020 “Breaking the Barriers in Optical Communications” Inducement Prize. 

About IEEE Photonics Society
The IEEE Photonics Society forms the hub of a vibrant technical community of more than 100,000 professionals dedicated to transforming breakthroughs in quantum physics into the devices, systems and products to revolutionize our daily lives. We organize, contribute to and participate in technical conferences, journals and other activities covering all aspects of photonics in order to share and disseminate our breakthroughs. And provide our members with professional growth opportunities, publish journals, sponsor conferences and support local chapter and student activities around the world. Learn more at:

About Optica
Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is the society dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students and others interested in the science of light. Optica’s renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement. Discover more at:

About Corning Incorporated
Corning is one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science, with a 170-year track record of life-changing inventions. Corning applies its unparalleled expertise in glass science, ceramic science, and optical physics along with its deep manufacturing and engineering capabilities to develop category-defining products that transform industries and enhance people’s lives. Corning succeeds through sustained investment in RD&E, a unique combination of material and process innovation, and deep, trust-based relationships with customers who are global leaders in their industries. Corning’s capabilities are versatile and synergistic, which allows the company to evolve to meet changing market needs, while also helping our customers capture new opportunities in dynamic industries. Today, Corning’s markets include optical communications, mobile consumer electronics, display, automotive, solar, semiconductors, and life sciences. Learn more at