Professor Polina Bayvel (UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering) has been awarded the 2014 Royal Society Clifford Paterson Lecture for her fundamental research in high bandwidth digital communications and nonlinear optics. This prize lecture is given on a subject in the field of engineering, and aimed at scientists working in modern and popular fields such as new media technologies and consumer electronics. Previous winners include Maurice Wilkes, an early computing pioneer, Alec Broers, noted for his pioneering work in nanotechnology, and many previous Professors and Heads of Department from UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering (see full list of previous recipients).
Head of the UCL Optical Networks Group (ONG), which she set up in 1994, Professor Bayvel and her group work on challenges in optical communications networks. Specifically, they focus on the analysis and design of high-capacity adaptive optical network architectures, wavelength-routing algorithms, high-speed optical fibre transmission and the study and mitigation of fibre nonlinearities using a variety of signal processing techniques.
She has authored and co-authored more than 300 refereed journal and conference papers, and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), Institute of Electronic & Electrical Engineers (IEEE), the Optical Society of America, UK Institute of PhysicsIn 2007 she received the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award for the study of ‘Optical networks – at the nonlinear and quantum limits’ and was recently awarded the IEEE Photonics Society Engineering Achievement Award.
Her BSc (Eng) and PhD degrees in electronic and electrical engineering were awarded from the University of London in 1986 and 1990, respectively, with her Ph.D. research focused on nonlinear fibre optics and its applications. She worked under a Royal Society postdoctoral exchange fellowship in the Fibre Optics Laboratory at the General Physics Institute in Moscow (USSR Academy of Sciences, as it was then) in 1990. Subsequently, she worked as a Principal Systems Engineer at STC Submarine Systems, Ltd (UK), and Nortel Networks (Harlow, UK, and Ottawa, Canada) on the design and planning of optical fibre transmission networks. In 1993 she was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, which she held for ten years at UCL’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. She was promoted to a Chair in Optical Communications and Networks in 2002. Professor Bayvel leads the £4.8M UK EPSRC Programme ‘UNLOC – Unlocking the capacity of optical communications‘.
Professor Bayvel will receive her prize at a ceremony at the Royal Society in November, and deliver the Clifford Paterson Lecture in October 2014.