John Tyndall Award

The John Tyndall Award is presented annually to a single individual who has made outstanding contributions in any area of optical-fiber technology, including optical fibers themselves, the optical components used in fiber systems, as well as transmission systems and networks using fibers. The contributions which the award recognizes should have met the test of time and should have been of proven benefit to science, technology, or society. The contributions may be experimental or theoretical.  Established in 1987, this award is jointly sponsored by the IEEE Photonics Society and The Optical Society (OSA). Nominees need not be members of the sponsoring societies. The Award is endowed by Corning Inc. and consists of a specially commissioned Steuben crystal sculpture, a scroll, and an honorarium. The presentation is made the following year at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference (OFC).

 2020 Honoree



Roel Baets

For seminal research in silicon photonics and for driving the foundry model in this field.



Roel Baets is full professor at Ghent University (UGent) and is also associated with IMEC, both in Belgium. He received an MSc degree in Electrical Engineering from UGent in 1980 and a second MSc degree from Stanford University in 1981. He received a PhD degree from UGent in 1984. From 1984 till 1989 he held a postdoctoral position at IMEC. Since 1989 he has been a professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture of UGent where he founded the Photonics Research Group. From 1990 till 1994 he has also been a part-time professor at Delft University of Technology and from 2004 till 2008 at Eindhoven University of Technology, both in The Netherlands.

Professor Baets has mainly worked in the field of integrated photonics. He has made contributions to research on photonic integrated circuits, both in III-V semiconductors and in silicon and silicon nitride, as well as their applications in telecom, datacom, and sensing. In recent years his research has focused on medical and environmental sensing applications of silicon photonics.

As part of a team of 9 professors, Roel Baets leads the Photonics Research Group. With about 90 researchers this group is involved in numerous (inter)national research programs and has created six spin-off companies. The silicon photonics activities of the group are part of a joint research initiative with IMEC.

Roel has led major research projects in silicon photonics in Europe. In 2006 he founded ePIXfab, the globally first Multi-Project-Wafer service for silicon photonics. Since then ePIXfab has evolved to become the European Silicon Photonics Alliance. Roel Baets is also director of the multidisciplinary Center for Nano- and Biophotonics (NB Photonics) at UGent, founded in 2010. He was co-founder of the European MSc programme in Photonics, a joint master programme of UGent and VUB.

Roel Baets is an ERC grantee of the European Research Council and a Methusalem grantee of the Flemish government.  He is a Fellow of the IEEE, of the European Optical Society (EOS) and of the Optical Society (OSA).  He is also a member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts.  He has been a recipient of the 2011 MOC award and of the 2018 PIC-International Lifetime Achievement Award.  Currently, he is Director-at-Large in the Board of Directors of the Optical Society. 

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