Head of UCL’s Optical Networks Group speaks to BBC Radio 4: The Life Scientific podcast

Professor Polina Bayvel, head of ONG at UCL, spoke to BBC Radio 4 about her pioneering journey through the ever-evolving field of optical communications.

In this weekly podcast from BBC Radio 4, Professor Jim Al-Khalili talks to leading scientists about their life and work, finding out what inspires and motivates them and asking what their discoveries might do for us in the future.

Polina Bayvel has been at the forefront of creating the optical fibre networks that are capable of transporting vast quantities of data from one place to another: linking continents via cables laid under oceans or enabling computer systems in data centres to share information. Without these high-speed networks, ultra-fast high-capacity broadband will remain a dream.

Polina tells us how she moved to the UK from the Soviet Union when she was 12 and worked in industry for many years, before deciding that she wanted to set up a lab to find out what optical fibres were capable of: just how much data could they transport, and how fast?

Source: BBC Radio 4, The Life Scientific

Producer: Anna Buckley

Duration: 34 minutes

Released on: 11 Feb 2020

Listen now on BBC Radio 4