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Link title At the time of the work by Elias Snitzer et al, the prospects of optical fibres for telecommunications were not foreseen - since that was not taken seriously until the work of Charles Kao. The subsequent need for and development of amplifiers for optical fibre communications (e.g. mainly the erbium doped amplifier) came some 20 years after Snitzer's work. Thus although work of D. Payne et al and others who did the initial development work on the Erbium-doped amplifier does credit Snitzer (as stated in the Nomination documents), it seems that this may have been a quite minor influence. Therefore, I suggest that the supporting documents for the Snitzer proposal should make this clearer than they seem to at present. E.g. I am suggesting that perhaps the Snitzer amplifier work did not really lead in a direct way to the amplifiers actually used in the telecom domain for optical fibre transmission.
Tony Davies 6 Aug 2012
This milestone plaque wording implies that this milestone directly lead to other innovations in the field. It appears from this comment that really the work of Charles Kao more causally lead to those innovations. Perhaps the last sentence of the plaque needs revision then? Confining the plaque to the innovation at hand may be better than attributing the progression of the overall field to a specific sequence of innovations if the chain of precedence is not indisputable. This milestone may stand better recognized on its own.
[responding to Tony Davies] I fully agree that the work of Payne and others was essential to the development of optical fiber amplifiers suitable for optical communications and have made the suggested modifications to the text.
Rich Linke 21 August 2012