Professor Polina Bayvel to Give Royal Society Lecture

23 September 2014

Prof Polina BayvelHead of UCL’s Optical Networks Group, Professor Polina Bayvel, Professor of Optical Communications and Networks, is to give the 2014 Royal Society Clifford Paterson Lecture on Monday 27th October.  She will speak on the topic of “Communicating with Light”.

Some of the greatest scientific and technological successes of the past 50 years are in the area of communications. Most of the data we generate and receive (whether emails, tweets, videos or mobile calls) are now carried by optical fibres, which use light to transmit vast quantities of information over trans-oceanic distances. The use of hundreds of wavelengths (colours of light), over, a single fibre, as well as other properties of light: its amplitude, phase and polarisation, have led to increases of many orders of magnitude in the optical information carrying capacity. This sparked the communication revolution and the growth of the Internet, and created an illusion of infinite capacity being available. But as the amounts of data increase, is there a limit to the capacity of an optical fibre communication channel? Professor Bayvel will describe the challenges and limits of communicating with light and the advances in optical and digital signal processing to maximise optical network capacity.

The lecture is free to attend, and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Doors open at 6pm, with the lecture starting at 6:30pm. More details can be found on the Royal Society website.

Professor Bayvel has been awarded the lecture for her fundamental research in high bandwidth digital communications and nonlinear optics. She set up UCL’s Optical Networks Group in 1994 – the first academic research group undertaking systems engineering research in optical communication systems and networks – and the group is now a world-leading research laboratory with over 30 researchers and PhD students. She is currently the director of the £4.8M UK EPSRC Programme ‘UNLOC – Unlocking the Capacity of Optical Communications’, aimed at maximising the capacity of optical networks in the nonlinear regime.

The Clifford Paterson Lecture is one of a series of Royal Society Prize lectures, and is given biennially on any subject in the field of engineering. It is aimed at scientists working in modern and popular fields such as new media technologies and consumer electronics. It was originally endowed by The General Electric Company in memory of Clifford Paterson FRS, founder of the GEC Research Laboratories. Previous recipients of the award from the department have included Alec Cullen (1984), John E Midwinter (1983), Cyril Hilsum (1981) and Sir Eric A Ash (1978).

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