Herbert John Shaw


Herbert John Shaw
Herbert John Shaw
Seattle, WA, USA
Death date
Associated organizations
Stanford University
Fields of study
Fiber optics
IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award


Herbert John Shaw was born on June 2, 1918 in Seattle. He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Univeristy of Washington (1941). Shaw received both his master's (1942)and doctoral degrees (1948) in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Upon receiving his PhD, Shaw joined Stanford University's electrical engineering department as a research associate. Two years later he joined Stanford's Microwave Laboratory. Shaw became the Laboratory's associate director in 1977, and in 1983, became a research professor in applied physics.

Shaw is recognized for his contributions to the field of fiber optics. In 1982, he and his colleagues developed an optical gyroscope that could be used in airplane, missile, and ship navigation. This gyroscope was small enough to fit into a box of chocolates and also weighed less and could last longer than typical mechanical gyroscopes. Shaw held nearly 100 U.S. patents and authored 291 technical publications.

Shaw garnered numerous awards and honors throughout his career. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and he was a fellow of the IEEE. In 1976 Shaw received the IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award.

In addition to all of his professional achievements, Shaw was an avid outdoorsman, enjoyed dancing and spending time with his family, and was also a licensed masseur. He died on January 19, 2006 at his home in Palo Alto, California.