Nobel laureate dies Saturday

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Willard Boyle helped pave way for digital camera

Nobel laureate Willard Boyle passed away over the weekend. He shared the Nobel prize for physics in 2009.


AMHERST - A Nobel laureate from Amherst whose work paved the way for today’s digital cameras died Saturday.

He was 86.

Willard Boyle shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2009 with George E. Smith and Charles Kao for their work in developing a type of semi-conductor circuit that revolutionized the way the world takes pictures.

Boyle, who lived in Wallace and Halifax in later years, moved to northern Quebec at a young age and was home-schooled by his mother before going to high school at Lower Canada College in Montreal.

He flew Spitfires for the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. After the war he went back to school, receiving his PhD in physics from McGill University. He taught physics at Royal Military College before going to New Jersey to work for Bell Labs.

The scientists' discoveries included the transmission of light in fibres for optical communication and the invention of the charge-coupled device (CCD sensor), which is an imaging semiconductor circuit used as a digital camera's electronic eye.


Organizations: Lower Canada College, Royal Military College, Canadian Navy McGill University Bell Labs

Geographic location: AMHERST, Wallace, Northern Quebec Montreal New Jersey

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Recent comments

  • bearcat
    May 09, 2011 - 07:11

    RIP to a great man