U.S. Physicists Share Nobel Prize

Charles K. Kao, William S. Boyle and George E. Smith, three American physicists, shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for their contributions to development of fiber-optic cable and digital camera sensors, The Wall Street Journal reported (Subscription required).

Kao discovered how to transmit light signals through thin glass fibers in the mid-1960s. The discovery eventually brought about the creation of modern fiber-optic networks that transmit video, audio and data.

Boyle and Smith invented the digital camera sensor that turns absorbed light into pixels that build digital images. The charge-coupled device (CCD), as it is known, is used in digital devices from simple digital cameras to robotic medical equipment.