Peter C. Schultz
Born Dec 3 1942
Fused Silica Optical Waveguide; Method of Producing Optical Waveguide Fibers
Patent Number(s) 3,659,915; 3,711,262
Corning Glass researchers Robert Maurer, Donald Keck, and Peter Schultz made optical fiber, capable of carrying 65,000 times more information than conventional copper wire, a practical reality.
In 1970 Maurer, Keck, and Schultz designed and produced the first optical fiber with optical losses low enough for wide use in telecommunications. Previously, the limiting factor was the amount of light lost during transmission. The key was restricting light loss to 20 decibels per kilometer (at least one percent of the light entering a fiber remains after traveling one kilometer). Scientists around the world had worked on the problem for years to no avail.
Optical fiber is the foundation for the global, multimedia telecommunications network of tomorrow. More than 90 percent of the U.S. long-distance traffic is already carried over optical fiber; more than 800 million kilometers has been installed, virtually all of it using the original design of Maurer, Keck and Schultz.
The discovery by the group at Corning was quickly recognized as a breakthrough, paving the way for the commercialization of optical fiber and literally creating a revolution in telecommunications.
Schultz was born in Brooklyn, New York, and received a B.S. in 1964 and a Ph.D. in ceramics in 1967 from Rutgers University. He joined Corning in 1967 as a senior ceramicist. He is president of Heraeus Amersil Inc. in Atlanta.
Photo courtesy of Peter Schultz.