Sir Charles Kao is generally regarded as the father of fiber optics, based in part on his discovery that signal loss in fiber cables was a direct result of impurities in the glass rather than a flaw in the technology—a breakthrough that affects nearly every aspect of our present-day communication infrastructure. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009 "for groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication," this memoir chronicles the personal and scientific odyssey of one of the twentieth century’s most influential scientists. Beginning with his childhood in war-torn Shanghai and Hong Kong, Kao then explores the turbulent rift that forced him from his family. Later, he details his early work and experience that established the basis for his seminal research with glass fibers in the 1960s. Following this groundbreaking work, Kao gives his account of his later tenure as a professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and eventually as Vice Chancellor of the university. After offering his thoughts on being honored with the Nobel Prize, Kao ends with a reflection on his personal and professional experiences as well as with some last insights into the future of science.