Southampton scientist ‘who made the internet possible’ receives international award

Sir David Payne (second left) receiving his award at VinFuture 2022, Vietnam <i>(Image: Daily Echo)</i>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/″ data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/″/></div>
<p><figcaption class=Sir David Payne (second left) receiving his award at VinFuture 2022, Vietnam (Image: Daily Echo)

A SCIENTIST at the University of Southampton, whose pioneering work made the internet possible as we know it today, has been awarded a major international prize.

Sir David Payne is a professor of photonics and director of the Optoelectronics Research Center at the University.

He has been recognized globally for his research in developing optical fiber technology.

Sir David, who lives in Hamble, has just received his latest accolade in Hanoi, Vietnam: the VinFuture Foundation Grand Prize.

The 78-year-old has been praised for his breakthrough in what’s known as the erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA), which made possible the internet optical backbone.

Upon receiving the prize, Sir David, said: “VinFuture 2022 is a great prize. Beyond the goal of honoring science–technology inventions, the prize also serves as a bridge connecting the brilliant minds of scientists, contributing to collaboration on breakthrough ideas and helping to change the lives of millions of people across the world.

“To me, the greatest accolade is recognition by my peers, by other scientists. To be on the same platform with Tim Berners-Lee, Vinton Cerf, and other prize winners is absolutely incredible for me.

“As I’m approaching the end of my career, I can now look back and say, I did something that changed the world. That is important to me.”

Thirty-five years ago, Sir David and his team at Southampton made one of the most significant developments in modern telecommunications.

It was a discovery that was set to transform the internet and become the backbone of the internet as we know it today.

Now, 35 years later his development of the erbium doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) – the world’s first successful optical amplifier, which employs the rare earth ion erbium to boost the intensity of the signals as they spread through the billion-km world wide web of optical fibers – still plays a pivotal role in our global communications.

One of the most highly recognized scientists in the UK, Sir David remains at the heart of this pioneering work. He has received numerous awards and international recognition over his prestigious 50+ – year career.

The Optoelectronics Research Center at the University of Southampton is one of the largest and most prominent research institutes in the world.

Its staff have received many awards for their work, but the VinFutures Grand Prize is perhaps the most prestigious. Ranked 12th in the UK and in the top 100 globally, the University of Southampton is a world-class institution with campuses in Southampton, Winchester and Malaysia.

Under the theme “Reviving and Reshaping”, the prestigious VinFuture Prize 2022, which is in its second year, aims to find and celebrate outstanding science and technology achievements that create positive changes following the pandemic.

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