Canadian physicist shares Nobel Prize

Willard S. Boyle helped develop digital camera sensor

Born in Amherst, N.S., Willard S. Boyle will share the Nobel Prize in Physics with collaborators George E. Smith and Charles Kao for developing a sensor used in digital cameras. Citing their “groundbreaking achievements” in physics, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the award on Tuesday. Born in Amherst in 1924, Boyle moved to northern Quebec at a young age. He was home-schooled by his mother as his father worked as a doctor at a lumber camp. Boyle then went on to high school at Lower Canada College in Montreal, and flew Spitfires in the Second World War before completing a Ph.D. in physics at McGill University in 1950. Boyle, who taught physics at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, before joining Bell Labs in New Jersey, said he didn’t know ahead of time he’d be winning the award.”I just found out because my wife punched me, she woke me up and she said, ‘It’s not a joke’,” Boyle told CBC News from his condo in Halifax (he holds Canadian and American citizenships). He and the other scientists’ discoveries include the transmission of light in fibres for optical communication, as well as the invention of the charge-coupled device, used in a digital camera’s electronic eye.

CBC News

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