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Lunch Hour Lecture: The illusion of infinity – is there a limit to optical fibre bandwidth?

ThomasHughes17 February 2016

Heliograph in use via Wikimedia Commons.

Heliograph in use via Wikimedia Commons.

Professor Polina Bayvel (UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering) opened her Lunch Hour Lecture with the worrying fact that our internet capacity is finite and we are fast approaching that limit. What can we do to find new capacity so that our optical fibre can manage the growth of the coming decades?

Professor Bayvel explained that optical communications have been a part of human communications for millennia. Fire and smoke signals, heliographs and Aldis lamps (which both use flashes of light to signal) are all forms of communication called “free space communications”. These were important for our predecessors’ long distance communications, but with the major flaw that they didn’t work on cloudy or otherwise poor visibility days.

Modern communications are almost entirely built around optical fibre networks. These work by bouncing beams of light along glass cables. The light is received and decoded into whatever information was requested. They allow huge amounts of data to travel long distances, and with the help of repeaters which receive the signal and rebroadcast it, can travel around the whole world.

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UCL Alumni Professional Networking Event: Entrepreneurship

CarlySchnabl28 March 2011

Cakes, elderly care, opinion polling and a popular restaurant chain may at first glance appear entirely unrelated. In fact, they are all extremely successful ventures that were instigated by the entrepreneurial UCL alumni who were on the panel for last Wednesday night’s CASE Circle of Excellence alumni professional networking event. UCL students Ben Wakeham, 3rd year BA Philosophy and Economics and Tom Palmer, 3rd year BSc Economics report on the event.

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Lunch Hour Lecture 17 March: Great 2 meet u IRL :-) Twitter and digital identity

CarlySchnabl24 March 2011

Claire Ross, UCL reports on Claire Warwick’s Lunch Hour Lecture to mark the fifth anniversary of Twitter on 21 March. Is Twitter is an ephemeral technology, consisting of mundane, pointless tweets about people’s personal lives, normally revolving around what people had for lunch? Or can a study of its use help us to understand how we express our identities on and offline?

Watch the Lunch Hour Lecture here (36 minutes)

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Lunch Hour Lecture: Sex, Drugs, the Internet & Juries, 10th March

CarlySchnabl22 March 2011

Sarah Polcz, UCL Laws, reports on last week’s Lunch Hour Lecture, “Sex, Drugs, Race and the Internet: Jury Myths and Challenges”. UCL Laws’ Professor Cheryl Thomas confronted these misconceptions, sharing the findings of her ground-breaking research for the Ministry of Justice on juror decision-making.

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