If No Narinder then no internet, no laser surgeries, no high speed communications
Narinder Singh Capany was the first person in the world who coined the term Fibre Optics. Capany was born in 1927 in Moga, Punjab, he graduated from Agra University and went on to his Ph.D at Imperial College, London.
His groundbreaking research led to wide ranging applications in not just high speed communications, but also medical imaging from OFC networks to endoscopic to laser surgery.
There he became the first person in the world to demonstrate that light can travel in bent glass fibres. His research paper entitled “A Flexible Fiberscope, using Static Scanning” appeared in scientific journal Nature in its January 2, 1954 issue and paved the way for instruments such as endoscopes and laser probes.
Kapany followed up this first paper with one published in Optica Actain February 1955 entitled ‘Transparent Fibres for the Transmission of Optical Images’. As an author and lecturer, Kapany has published over 100 scientific papers and four books on opto-electronics. He has lectured to various national and international scientific societies. His popular article on Fibre optics in Scientific American in 1960 established the new term (Fibre optics); the article constitutes a reference point for the subject even today. In November 1999, Fortune magazine published profiles of seven people who have greatly influenced life in the twentieth century but are unsung heroes. Kapany was one of them.
So when the 2009 Nobel for Physics went to Charles Kao for the discovery of Fibre Optics, the scientific community was stunned at the exclusion of Kapany. True, Kao also had made tremendous strides in the field, but his work was only the successor of the ground breaking research undertaken by Kapany, and built upon it. Once again, due to the blatant refusal to award Indians a Nobel (as has been the case with, , Jagadish Chandra Bose etc.), Kapany remains bereft of the recognition he so deserves.