Charles K. Kao’s quotes, awards, education, net worth, and biography

Charles K. Kao’s quotes, awards, education, net worth, and biography

Charles K. Kao’s quotes are among the most famous quotes on the internet. They are inspirational and motivational. Charles K. Kao was a Chinese-born, British-American electrical engineer and physicist. He was famously known as the father of fibre-optic communications. He rose to stardom after discovering the development and use of fibre optics in telecommunications.

Charles K. Kao’s quotes
Charles Kao, inventor of optical fibres. Photo: Science & Society Picture Library
Source: Getty Images

Charles K. Kao received numerous awards, such as Charles Stark Draper Prize and Medal Prince Philip, due to his outstanding achievements in the telecommunication industry. Have a look at this biography to learn more details about him.

Profile summary

  • Full name: Charles Kuen Kao
  • Famous as: Charles K Kao
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 4 November 1933
  • Age at death: 84 years
  • Zodiac sign: Scorpio
  • Place of birth: Shanghai, China
  • Nationality: British-American, Chinese
  • Ethnicity: White
  • Religion: Christianity
  • Sexuality: Straight
  • Height in inches: 5’ 8’’
  • Height in centimetres: 173
  • Weight in pounds: 154
  • Weight in kilograms: 70
  • Hair colour: Black
  • Eye colour: Brown
  • Father: Kao Chun-Hsiang
  • Mother: King Tsing Fong
  • Sibling: 1
  • Marital status: Married
  • Spouse: Gwen May-Wan Kao
  • Children: 2
  • High school: St. Joseph's College
  • University: University of Greenwich, University College London, Princeton University
  • Profession: Electrical engineer and physicist
  • Net worth: $1million - $5million

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Charles K Kao’s biography

He was born in Shanghai, China, to his parents, Kao Chun-Hsiang (father) and King Tsing Fong (mother). His father was a lawyer and professor. However, his family relocated to Hong Kong when he was 15 years old. Charles was a Christian believer.

He was raised in Taiwan alongside his younger brother named, Timothy Wu Kao. Similarly, his brother is a civil engineer and a former Professor at the Catholic University of America.

Charles K. Kao's educational background

Charles studied Chinese classics at home under a tutor before joining Shanghai World School to learn English and French. He completed his high school education at St. Joseph's College in 1952.

Later, he enrolled at the University of Greenwich, where he pursued research on electrical engineering and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree. He also obtained a PhD in electrical engineering from the University of London in 1965.

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When was Charles Kao born?

Charles K. Kao’s age
Professor Charles Kao (Father of Fibre Optics) at the grand opening ceremony of "Relenteless Spirit to Dream and Innovate". Photo: Edward Wong
Source: Getty Images

The electrical engineer was born on 4 November 1933. Therefore, at the time of his death, Charles K. Kao's age was 84 years. He died on 23 September 2018 in Sha Tin, Hong Kong, and his zodiac sign was Scorpio.

What was Charles K. Kao’s nationality?

Charles Kao was a British-American national. He was also Chinese because that is where he was born.

What is Charles K. Kao famous for?

Charles was a British-American electrical engineer and physicist. He was famously known as the father of fibre-optic communications. He rose to stardom for his contribution to the development and use of fiber optics in telecommunications in 1966.

He landed his first job at Standard Telecommunication Laboratories, the research center of Standard Telephones and Cables (STC) in Harlow, England. While there, he invented the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication. He also worked at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and in the United States at International Telephone & Telegraph Co (ITT) and Yale University.

Charles K. Kao's awards
Nobel Prize winner Charles Kao (C) waves after being presented the Grand Bauhinia Medal during the 2010 Honours and Awards Presentation Ceremony. Photo: DAVID WONG
Source: Getty Images

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Charles K. Kao's awards

Charles K. Kao received numerous awards for his significant contribution to the telecommunication industry. Below is a list of some of the awards won by Charles K. Kao.

  • 2010: Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • 2010: Grand Bauhinia Medal
  • 1999: Charles Stark Draper Prize
  • 1999: Asian of the Century
  • 1996: Japan Prize
  • 1996: Medal Prince Philip
  • 1992: Spie Gold Medal
  • 1992: CBE
  • 1989: IET Faraday Medal
  • 1989: James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials
  • 1987: C&C Prize
  • 1985: Marcon Prize
  • 1985: IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal
  • 1978: IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award

Charles K. Kao's Nobel prize

In 2009, Sir Charles Kuen Kao was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for innovatory achievements regarding the transmission of light in fibres for optical communication.

Charles K. Kao quotes

The Chinese-born engineer is remembered for many great quotes. Some of his quotes are:

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  • Ideas do not always come in a flash but by diligent trial-and-error experiments that take time and thought.
  • Because of the earlier loss of the two elder siblings, my brother and I lived a very pampered and protected life. Nursemaids kept constant watch. With my parents busy at dinner parties and social events, we only met them as if for a daily royal audience.
  • When information is infinite, individual pieces of information are worth nothing.
  • If you really look at it, I was trying to sell a dream … There was very little I could put in concrete to tell these people it was really real.
  • Maybe it was the home tutoring, or the late start to formal schooling, or an overly cautious and protective upbringing, but in any case, I never became a talkative person. As an adult, I am not always comfortable in social gatherings with small talk. I must have inherited my father's gentle nature.
  • The primary school I attended in Shanghai was a very liberal one, established by scholars who had return from an education in France. The children of leading families were enrolled there, including the son of a well-known man believed to be a top gangster of the underworld!
  • When you are young, you are fervent about the things you believe in.
  • The introduction of optical fiber systemswill revolutionize the communications network. The lowtransmission loss and the large bandwidth capability of the fibersystems allow signals to be transmitted for establishingcommunications contacts over large distances with few or noprovisions of intermediate amplification.

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What was Charles K. Kao's net worth?

The Chinese-born engineer's net worth was alleged to be between $1 million- $5 million at the time of his death. However, this information is not verified. His primary source of income was his engineering career.

Personal life

Charles K. Kao’s quotes
Professor Charles Kao Kuen (Father of Fibre Optics) and Gwen Kao Wong May-wan (wife of Kao) officiate the grand opening ceremony of "Relenteless Spirit to Dream and Innovate". Photo: Edward Wong
Source: Getty Images

Charles was married to a British-Chinese wife named Gwen May-Wan Kao. The two first met at a graduation ceremony in London. They also worked together as engineers at Standard Telephones and Cables.

The couple tied the knot in 1959 in London. They shared two children, a son, and a daughter named Simon and Amanda, both living in Silicon Valley, California.

How tall was Charles K. Kao?

His height was 5 feet 8 inches (173 centimetres), and he weighed 154 pounds (70 kilograms). He had black hair and brown eyes.

What was Charles K. Kao's cause of death?

Charles Kao succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease in 2018 after suffering from the disease since 2004.

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Fast Facts about Charles K. Kao

  • He was born on 4 November 1933 in Shanghai, China.
  • He was widely known for discovering the use of fibre optics in telecommunications.
  • He was a British-American national born in China.
  • He had a younger brother named Timothy Wu Kao.
  • He was married to Gwen May-Wan Kao with whom they shared two children, Simon and Amanda.
  • The famous engineer had black hair and dark brown eyes.

Charles K Kao was a British-American engineer and physicist born in China. He was famously known for discovering the use of fibre optics in telecommunications. The engineer is also known for several quotes. Charles K. Kao’s quotes have become a great inspiration for many across the globe. They are a reflection of the great legacy he left behind.

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