Prestigious award goes to VUB scientist, Hugo Thienpont


Our fellow countryman, Hugo Thienpont, is recognised worldwide as an authority in the field of photonics and his achievements have now been rewarded by the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), by conferring upon him one of the highest annual honours in that field, the Gold Medal Award.

Photonics, you say? Photonics is the science and digital technology of light and is used for the production of items such as displays, cameras, microscopes, lasers, space telescopes and satellites. For decades now, Hugo Thienpont, VUB's Vice-Rector for Innovation and Valorisation Policy, Professor and Director of the VUB research group B-PHOT Brussels Photonics, has been developing tools that significantly improve society and well-being in Belgium, Europe and far beyond in a sustainable manner.

In specific terms, this translates into all kinds of practical applications for a diverse range of industries, such as communication, food, climate, medicine, printing and so on. Some well-known examples include optical fibres that enable superfast online communication, optical sensors used in the monitoring of food, air and drinking water, solar cells that supply green energy, lasers that enable the 3D printing of metals, endoscopes for minimally invasive exploratory operations, laser scanners for self-driving vehicles and optical sensors for robots.

The award will be presented next summer during the SPIE Optics & Photonics 2021 conference in the US.