Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Is have it

The "Is" are Inventors. And "it" is the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The inventions? Optical communication fibre and the charge-coupled device (CCD).

Here's the lowdown and the breakdown.

Update: There's an interesting little interview with one of the laureates, George E. Smith, on the Nobel Foundation website. It turns out that Dr. Smith and Dr. Willard S. Boyle, co-inventors of the CCD, and both of Bell Labs, worked out all the basic principles of CCDs in a single afternoon 40 years ago! Dr. Smith, it appears, has long believed in the virtues of going straight for the scientific jugular: his 1959 PhD thesis (University of Chicago) is just eight (yes, 8) pages long. It was subsequently published in the journal Physical Review in the same year. Einstein's 1905 doctoral thesis is just 24 pages long. It's here, see for yourself. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

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