Professor Richard Penty’s first foray into the world of optical communications was via a sponsorship with the National Coal Board for whom he designed a 1Mb/s optical line card. He graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in Engineering and Electrical Sciences in 1986 and a PhD for research into nonlinear optical fibre devices in 1990. Richard was then an SERC IT research fellow at Cambridge until taking up a lectureship in physics at the University of Bath in 1990. In 1996 he moved to the University of Bristol as a lecturer in electrical and electronic engineering subsequently being promoted to Professor of Photonics. In 2001 he moved to the Cambridge University Engineering Department and was elected to a fellowship of Sidney Sussex College in 2002 and to the Mastership in 2013. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the IET in 2012.