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David Welch wins 2011 John Tyndall Award

Date Announced: 10 Feb 2011

PIC pioneer and Infinera co-founder and chief strategy officer receives award for contributions to fiber optic communication systems.

WASHINGTON, Feb.10—The Optical Society (OSA) and the IEEE Photonics Society are pleased to announce that David F. Welch, co-founder, executive vice president, and chief strategy officer at Infinera, is the recipient of the 2011 John Tyndall Award. Welch is being recognized for “seminal contributions to photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and semiconductor lasers deployed in fiber optic communication systems around the world.”

After receiving a BSEE from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Cornell University, Welch went on to Spectra Diode Labs (SDL) where he worked as a research scientist and eventually vice president of research. He went on to become the chief technology officer and vice president for corporate development, where he was responsible for the development of laser and optical technologies, as well as successfully executing six corporate acquisitions and merging SDL and JDS Uniphase. After instituting the largest technology acquisition of its time, Welch co-founded Infinera, an optical networking company that is the leading supplier of fiber optic transmission systems using PIC technology.

Welch has made numerous contributions to the field of optical communication systems—including more than 250 published articles and 125 patents—and has been recognized for this work throughout the course of his career. He received the Adolph Lomb Award from OSA in 1992, the Engineering Achievement Award from the IEEE Photonics Society (then LEOS) in 1998, and the OSA Joseph Fraunhofer/Robert M. Burley Award in 1999. He is also a fellow of OSA and IEEE and serves on the board of directors of OSA.

The Tyndall Award recognizes Welch’s many contributions to the field, including the development and commercialization of the world’s first large-scale PICs deployed in telecom networks worldwide. Earlier in his career, he played an important role in the development of high-power semiconductor lasers, high efficiency Nd:YAG lasers, fiber lasers and amplifiers, and devices associated with non-linear optical materials. In addition, Welch was also heavily involved in the development of materials and fabrication techniques used in semiconductor laser systems.

“Dave’s distinguished career includes a unique mix of pioneering research contributions, successful entrepreneurship, and community leadership in the optical communications field,” said OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan. “His work has played a key role in the important advances we’re seeing in the bandwidth, intelligence, and other capabilities of optical networks today, and will pave the way for future communication systems breakthroughs. In honoring him with the Tyndall Award, we seek to recognize such progress and his noteworthy accomplishments so far in his career.”

Welch will be presented the award next month during the plenary session of the 2011 Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (OFC/NFOEC) held at the Los Angeles Convention Center March 6 - 10.

“David’s work on lasers and photonic integrated circuits is well known in the industry and certainly worthy of commendation,” said Rich Linke, IEEE Photonics Society executive director. “We are very excited to celebrate David’s achievements at OFC/NFOEC in Los Angeles. This conference is the perfect venue for David to be recognized for his significant contributions to optical telecommunications and this award gives us an opportunity to highlight these important advancements for the full optical communications community.”

The Tyndall Award is the highest recognition in the optical telecommunications community and is co-sponsored by OSA and the IEEE Photonics Society. First presented in 1987, the Tyndall Award recognizes an individual who has made pioneering, highly significant, or continuing technical or leadership contributions to fiber optics technology. Corning, Inc. endows the award, a glass sculpture that represents the concept of total internal reflection. The award is named for the 19th century scientist who was the first to demonstrate a phenomenon of internal reflection.

Source: OSA


Angela Stark
The Optical Society
+1 202.416.1443

E-mail: astark@osa.org

Web Site: www.osa.org

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