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UC Alum Wins Marconi Prize

McMicken grad Robert Tkach is called one of "two pioneers of the science of optical nonlinearities in fiber optic communication systems."

Date: 7/10/2009 12:00:00 AM
By: Wendy Beckman
Phone: (513) 556-1826

UC ingot   Bell Labs scientists Andrew R. Chraplyvy and Robert W. Tkach, research partners for more than two decades, have been awarded the 2009 Marconi Fellowship and Prize for their research into optical fiber nonlinearities and their development of novel mitigation techniques that vastly increased the transmission speed and capacity of optical fiber communications systems.

Bob Tkach received a BS in physics and a BA in math in 1976 from UC's McMicken College of Arts & Sciences. While at UC, he worked in the lab of Howard Jackson.

“Bob had just come here, but we recognized him immediately as a very talented undergraduate even at the time,” says Jackson, a professor of physics.

After UC, Tkach attended Cornell University, earning a master's and PhD degrees. Tkach joined Bell Labs in 1984 where he quickly teamed up with Chraplyvy. They jointly addressed the challenges of optical nonlinearities and dispersion management. Tkach joined AT&T Labs in 1996 and Celion Networks in 2000. He returned to Bell Labs in 2006 where he is now Director of Transmission Systems and Networks Research.

Tkach received the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award from the Research and Development Council of New Jersey and is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, the IEEE and AT&T. Tkach received the 2008 John Tyndall Award jointly sponsored by the OSA and IEEE and in 2009 was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

The Marconi Society, established in 1975, annually recognizes a living scientist whose work in the field of communications and information technology advances the social, economic and cultural improvement of all humanity. Their concept of dispersion management significantly advances transmission technology.

The pair will receive the award October 9, 2009, at the annual Marconi Awards Dinner at the Palazzo Re Enzo in Bologna, Italy. The dinner and the preceding two-day Marconi Symposium are being hosted by the Bologna-based Fondazione Guglielmo Marconi.

Read the full Marconi Society release here.