Giants in History: Narinder Singh Kapany

A hero of the fibre optics revolution 

Narinder Singh Kapany (31 October 1926 - 4 December 2020)


Physicist Narinder Singh Kapany (31 October 1926 – 4 December 2020) pioneered the use of optical fibres to transmit images, and founded several optical technology companies. Born in Punjab, India, he worked at a local optical instruments factory before moving to London for PhD studies at Imperial College. There, he devised a flexible fibrescope to convey images along bundles of glass fibres. This became the precursor to modern endoscopes. Kapany’s innovations made possible other biomedical applications such as imaging live tissue and repairing detached retinas using lasers. Following engineer Charles Kao’s demonstration that optic fibres could be used in telecommunications, Kapany developed fibre couplers, (de-)multiplexers and amplifiers to improve information transmission. Kapany was also an astute entrepreneur who founded several companies including Optics Technology, Kaptron, and K2 Optronics. (Photo courtesy UC Santa Cruz)

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