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Fellows Directory

Ian Shanks

Professor Ian Shanks OBE FREng FRS


Elected: 1984


Ian Shanks is a leader in the development and use of the liquid-crystal display technology now ubiquitous in modern devices, ranging from flat screen televisions to specialist aircraft cockpit displays. He made important contributions to nematic liquid crystals, which allow varying levels of light to pass through as they twist and untwist when a voltage is applied.

He is particularly well known as an inventor — his research publications include the first presentation of a three-dimensional television. He also realised that liquid crystal technology could be adapted to enable the mass-production of biosensors at low cost, including glucose sensors for use by people with diabetes.

Ian is keenly interested in education and is co-founder of the Optoelectronics College. The project provides teaching materials on optoelectronics along with equipment and professional development for teachers. Ian’s services to innovation were recognised in 2012 with the award of an OBE.

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