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John Tyndall Award

For outstanding contributions in any area of optical-fiber technology, transmission systems, and networks using fibers.

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Nomination Period: June 1 – August 10
Nominators must complete a nominee submission by the submission deadline.

Nominators must complete a nominee submission by August 10th with the following: 

  • Candidate contact information: Name, Affiliation, Mailing Address, Email, Phone Number
  • Academic Background: College or University / Location / Major Field / Degree / Year
  • Academic Honors: List of candidate’s highest honors, include IEEE and non-IEEE recognitions
  • Employment Background: Limit of four (4)
  • Accomplishments: Maximum of eight (8) relevant to nomination.  Include: Name of item, date published, name of publication or event, patent number
  • Proposed Award Citation: (Word Count: 25)
  • Nominee’s curriculum vita (Maximum of three pages)
  • Endorsements: Three letters of endorsement are required.  You may enter the endorsers name and email to send an automatically generated email request, or if you have received the endorsement, you can upload directly to the system. (One page limit per endorsement) 

AUGUST 10, 2023

About the Award

The John Tyndall Award is presented annually to a single individual who has made outstanding contributions in any area of optical-fiber technology, including optical fibers themselves, the optical components used in fiber systems, as well as transmission systems and networks using fibers. The contributions which the award recognizes should have met the test of time and should have been of proven benefit to science, technology, or society.  

Jointly sponsored by the IEEE Photonics Society and Optica, the award is endowed by Corning Inc.   

Presented to: An Individual

Scope: to recognize outstanding contributions in any area of optical-fiber technology, including optical fibers themselves, the optical components used in fiber systems, as well as transmission systems and networks using fibers.

Prize: A specially commissioned Steuben crystal sculpture, a scroll, and an honorarium.

Basis for Judging: In the evaluation process, the following criteria are considered: the contributions which the award recognizes should have met the test of time and should have been of proven benefit to science, technology, or society. The contributions may be experimental or theoretical. 

Sponsored by:

IEEE PhotonicsSocietyLogo White
Corning Logo White 250px
Optica logo

Introducing Our Award Honorees

We are proud to recognize and celebrate honorees of the John Tyndall Award. First established in 1987 to honor the memory of John Tyndall who made distinguished contributions to physics, particularly his demonstration of total internal reflection in a continuous stream of water, our honorees as a group set the standard for pioneering or continuing contributions to fiber optics technology.

Our Most Recent Honoree

Richardson 225x300

David Richardson, 2024

For pioneering contributions to the development of optical fibers and their applications and commercialization in fiber lasers and optical communications.

Professor David Richardson obtained his BSc and PhD in fundamental physics from Sussex University U.K. in 1985 and 1989 respectively. He spent the 3 years of his PhD working on sensitive tests of time-reversal symmetry and measurements of topological phase using ultracold neutrons at the Institute Laue Langevin in Grenoble, France.

He joined the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at Southampton University, one of the world’s leading photonics research Institutes, in 1989 and was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 1991 in recognition of his pioneering work on short pulse fiber lasers.

He was promoted to Professor in 1999 and served as Deputy Director of the ORC with responsibility for optical fiber and laser related research from 2000-2023. He made extensive contributions to fiber optics and its applications during his academic career, including within the fields of optical communications, high power fiber lasers, optical amplifiers, nonlinear optics and microstructured optical fibers. He has led various large and successful Government funded collaborative research programs within both the UK and Europe during his time at Southampton and has worked directly with leading companies from around the globe. He has co-authored more than 550 peer-reviewed journal papers and produced more than 20 patents in his career to date.

Richardson is a prominent figure in the international photonics community, for example serving as a General Chair for both OFC and ECOC – the leading international optical communications conferences. Professor Richardson was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2009 and Fellow of the Royal Society in 2018. He is also a Fellow of the IEEE, Optica and the IET. He has won various awards for his research over the years, 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 was a co-recipient of the Horizon2020 “Breaking the Barriers in Optical Communications” Inducement Prize.

Richardson has also enjoyed considerable success as an entrepreneur, co-founding two spin out companies: SPI Lasers Ltd in 2000 (high power fiber lasers for industrial applications – which was acquired by Trumpf in 2008), and more recently Lumenisity Ltd in 2017 (hollow-core fiber cables for telecommunications), serving as CTO and Board Member up until its acquisition by Microsoft in Dec 2022. He joined Microsoft full time as a Partner Researcher early in 2023 to further his long-held ambition to develop new and empowering hollow-core fiber-based network solutions and to deploy them at scale.

View All Award Winners

Year Award Winner Citation
2023 Ming-Jun Li For seminal contributions to advances in optical fiber technology.
2022 Meint Smit For leadership in building a photonic integration ecosystem, and pioneering contributions to key photonic devices including the arrayed waveguide grating.
2021 Michal Lipson In recognition of her fundamental and technological advances in integrated photonic devices.
2020 Roel Baets For seminal research in silicon photonics and for driving the foundry model in this field.
2019 Kim Roberts For pioneering contributions to the development of practical coherent communication systems.
2018 Peter J. Winzer For contributions to understanding and advancing the capacity of coherent optical communication systems including advanced modulation formats and spatial multiplexing.
2017 E.M. Dianov For pioneering leadership in optical fiber development and outstanding contributions to nonlinear fiber optics and optical fiber amplifiers.
2016 Alan H. Gnauck For sustained pioneering research contributions that drove commercialization of high-speed, high capacity lightwave communication systems.
2015 Paul Daniel Dapkus For pioneering and sustained contributions to the development of metal organic chemical vapor deposition and high performance quantum well semiconductor lasers.”
2014 Kazuro Kikuchi For pioneering contributions to the fundamental understanding of coherent detection techniques.
2013 James J. Coleman For contributions to semiconductor lasers and photonic materials, processing and device designs, including high reliability strained-layer lasers.
2012 John Bowers For pioneering research in hybrid-silicon lasers and photonic integrated circuits.
2011 David F. Welch For seminal contributions to photonic ICs and semiconductor lasers developed in fiber optic communication systems around the world.
2010 C. Randy Giles For seminal contributions to advanced lightwave communications networks including erbium-doped fiber amplifiers, fiber Bragg grating-based subsystems, amd MEMS crossconnects.
2009 Joe C. Campbell For seminal contributions to the understanding,design and telecommunication systems implementation of avalanche photodiodes
2008 Robert W. Tkach For pioneering breakthroughs in high-capacity transmission systems and networks, including the invention of NZDF (non-zero dispersion fiber) and dispersion management of optical fiber nonlinearities.
2007 Emmanuel Desurvire For pioneering contributions to the physical and theoretical understanding of Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers and to their early development.
2006 Donald Scifres For seminal contributions to semiconductor laser diode technology that power the optical fiber networks and as an entrepreneur in creating one of the premier companies that bring to practice the semiconductor diode laser technology to serve the fiber optics industry.
2005 Roger H. Stolen For fundamental contributions to the understanding of optical fiber nonlinearities, including the identification and understanding of simulated Raman scattering in fibers.
2004 Larry Coldren For contributions to semiconductor laser diode technology, including widely tunable DBR lasers and vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers.
2003 Andrew Chraplyvy For pioneering research on optical fiber nonlinearities and their dispersion management, and leading wavelength-division-multiplexed fiber transmission systems beyond Terabit/second capacities.
2002 Neal Bergano For outstanding technical contributions to and technical leadership in the advancement of global undersea fiber optic communication systems.
2001 Tatsuo Izawa For contributions to vapor-phase axial deposition for optical-fiber fabrication and pioneer work of silica-based lightwave circuits.
2000 Stewart Personick For pioneering research in optical receiver design, system engineering, and optical time domain reflectometry, and for leadership in education and the promotion of fiber optics.
1999 John MacChesney For the invention and development of the MCVD process which is one of the major techniques for the manufacture of low loss optical fibers and for high purity overcladding tubes using sol-gel techniques.
1998 Kenichi Iga For pioneering contributions in the development of surface emitting lasers and planar microlens arrays for parallel optoelectronics.
1997 Ivan Kaminow For contributions to lightwave device technology involving high-speed modulation, integrated optics, semiconductor lasers, polarization effects in fiber, and WDM components, and to optical FDM networks.
1996 Kenneth Hill For discovery of photosensitivity in optical fibers and its application to Bragg gratings used in device applications in optical communications and sensor systems.
1995 Tingye Li For sustained advances in high-capacity optical fiber communication systems created by his pioneering research, leadership, and personal contributions over more than two decades.
1994 Elias Snitzer For pioneering contributions to optical propagation in fiber and to rare-earth-doped lasers and amplifiers.
1993 Yasuharu Suematsu For contributions to wide-band optical fiber communication through his proposed dynamic single-mode lasers and semiconductor-based integrated optics.
1992 Dr. Donald B. Keck For the invention and development of methods for manufacture and measurement of devices for optical communication, including low attenuation fibers
1991 David N. Payne For outstanding contributions to the design, measurement and fabrication of optical fibers and active fiber devices.
1990 Thomas Giallorenzi For significant technical, management, and professional contributions to the development and applications of fiber optics and optical fiber sensor technology.
1989 Stewart Miller For his foresight, dedication, technical contributions and pioneering leadership in building the broad foundations for today’s fiber-optic telecommunications systems.
1988 Michael Barnoski In recognition of his invention of devices and instruments fundamental to fiber optic technology, and the leadership that he has exerted both in professional societies and in industry in advancing optical communication technology.
1987 Robert Maurer In recognition of his contributions to the discovery and understanding of materials and techniques for the fabrication of glass fiber waveguides for optical communication.