John Tyndall Award

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

Nominate a Colleague Today!

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

Ming-Jun Li

Ming-Jun Li, 2023

For seminal contributions to advances in optical fiber technology. 


Dr. Ming-Jun Li received the B.S. degree in applied physics from Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China, in 1983, the M.S. degree in optics and signal processing from the University of Franche-Comte, Besancon, France, in 1985, and the Ph.D. degree in physics from University of Nice, Nice, France, in 1988.


Dr. Li joined Corning Incorporated in 1991 and is currently a Corporate Fellow. He has contributed to many optical fiber products including bend insensitive fiber for fiber-to-the-home, large effective area fiber, ultra-low polarization mode dispersion fiber and ultra-low loss fiber for high data rate transmission, low stimulated Brillouin scattering fiber for analog transmission, high bandwidth multimode fiber for data centers, multicore fibers and few mode fibers for space division multiplexing, various specialty fibers for connectors, fiber lasers, sensors and endoscopes, and glass waveguide devices for optical interconnect and sensing applications.


Dr. Li received the 1988 French National Prize on Guided-wave Optics, and Corning’s 2005 Stookey Award. He was a member of teams who won 1999 R&D 100 Award for LEAF® fiber, 2008 R&D 100 Award for ClearCurve® fiber, 2008 ACS Northeast Regional Industrial Innovation Award, Corning’s 2016 Outstanding External Publication Award, and 2017 ACS Heroes of Chemistry Award. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for ClearCurve bend-insensitive optical fiber in 2022. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the IEEE, and a Fellow of the Optica. He holds 265 U.S. patents and has published 7 book chapters and over 330 papers in journals and for conferences. He has served as Associate Editor and Coordinating Committee Member, and Deputy Editor for the Journal of Lightwave Technology. He has also served as guest editor for several special journal issues and as general chair, program chair, subcommittee chair and member for many international conferences.

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.