Imagine one day you watch TV and hear the anchorman announce that you have won the Nobel Prize and you do not know what is a Nobel Prize and ask your wife about it– is it possible?

This incident has happened to Charles K. Kao, a.k.a. “Father of Fiber Optics“– 2009 Nobel Laureate for Physics.  His  discoveries make modern communications and internet possible.

Mr. Kao has Alzheimer’s disease and has pretty much forgotten all his work.  His wife Gwen said “the husband that I used to know is no longer there“.  Charles will deliver his Nobel Lecture today through his wife  (Dec. 8, 2009) in Sweden.
http://nobelprize.org/award_ceremonies/lectures_2009.html

Kao’s collegues said if the Prize has arrived a year or two earlier before his mental condition deteriorates , Kao would have been able to understand and enjoy it.

Better late than never?

Ken Lai

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