Polina Bayvel

Polina Leopoldovna Bayvel CBE FRS FREng FInstP (Russian: Полина Леопольдовна Байвель; born 1966)[1] is a British engineer and academic. She is currently Professor of Optical Communications & Networks in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University College London.[3] She has made major contributions to the investigation and design of high-bandwidth multiwavelength optical networking.[4][5]

Polina Bayvel

Polina Bayvel at the Royal Society admissions day in London in 2016
Polina Leopoldovna Bayvel

(1966-04-14) April 14, 1966 (age 53)[1]
EducationHasmonean High School for Girls[1]
Alma materUniversity College London (BSc, PhD)
AwardsClifford Paterson Lecture (2014)
Scientific career
Standard Telephones and Cables
University College London
ThesisStimulated Brillouin scattering in single mode optical fibre ring resonators (1990)

Education and early life

Bayvel was born into a Jewish family,[6] and grew up in Kharkiv and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) until 1978.[7] Her father is the physicist Leopold P. Bayvel, her mother Raisa (Rachel) was a textile/pattern technologist/garment engineer and later published studies in Eastern-European Jewish history.[8]

She was educated in England at Hasmonean High School for Girls[1] and University College London where she was awarded a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1986 followed by a PhD in 1990.[9] In 1990, she was awarded a Royal Society Postdoctoral Exchange Fellowship in the Fibre Optics Laboratory at the General Physics Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow.[10]

Research and career

Bayvel's research has focused on maximising the speed and capacity of optical fibre communication systems, and the fundamental studies of capacity-limiting optical nonlinearities and their mitigation.[4][11][12][13] She has made major contributions to the investigation and design of high-bandwidth, multi-wavelength optical communication networks.[14]

She was one of the first to show the feasibility of using the wavelength domain for routing in optical networks over a range of distance- and time-scales. She has established the applicability of these new optical network architecture concepts, which have been widely implemented in commercial systems and networks. These systems and networks underpin the Internet, and the digital communications infrastructure – and are essential for its growth.[4] A new project, the Initiate project, aims to test technologies that will make internet connections faster and more secure, which Polina Bayvel indicated will allow them to test them at a national scale.[15] Her research has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).[16]

Awards and honours

Bayvel won the Institute of Physics Clifford Paterson Medal and Prize in 2002. She was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2002 and was awarded the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Photonic Society Engineering Achievement Award in 2013. In 2014 she delivered the Clifford Paterson Lecture[17] and in 2015 was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering Colin Campbell Mitchell Award.[4] She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2016.[4][14] Bayvel was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to engineering.[18][19]

In 2019 Bayvel was elected to the Board of Directors of The Optical Society, she began her three term on 1 January 2020.[20]

Personal life

She has two children with Anatoly Zayats, who is Professor of Physics at King's College London.[21]


  1. Anon (2017). "Bayvel, Prof. Polina". Who's Who. ukwhoswho.com. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U287263. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  2. Polina Bayvel publications indexed by Google Scholar
  3. "Six IOP members are recognised in 2017 New Year Honours". Institute of Physics. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  4. Anon (2016). "Professor Polina Bayvel FREng FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 29 April 2016. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the royalsociety.org website where:
    "All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License." --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. "Prof Polina Bayvel". London, England: University College London. 2016. Archived from the original on 30 April 2016.
  6. All The News From Hampsted Garden Suburb Synagogue
  7. ""И 20 лет, и 30 лет – живым не верится, что живы…" – Общество". Gazetya Vremya (in Russian). 8 July 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  8. doi:10.1080/0449010X.2003.10703810 Rachel Bayvel «From ‘the Doctors' Plot’ to the death of Stalin»]
  9. Bayvel, Polina Leopoldovna (1990). Stimulated Brillouin scattering in single mode optical fibre ring resonators (PhD thesis). University College London. OCLC 940321697. Copac 34556809.
  10. Thompson, J.M.T. (2 July 2001). Visions of the Future: Physics and Electronics. Cambridge University Press. p. 208. ISBN 978-05218-0538-4. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  11. Duser, M.; Bayvel, P. (2002). "Analysis of a dynamically wavelength-routed optical burst switched network architecture". Journal of Lightwave Technology. 20 (4): 574–585. CiteSeerX doi:10.1109/50.996576.
  12. Savory, Seb J.; Gavioli, Giancarlo; Killey, Robert I.; Bayvel, Polina (2007). "Electronic compensation of chromatic dispersion using a digital coherent receiver". Optics Express. 15 (5): 2120. doi:10.1364/OE.15.002120.
  13. Baroni, S.; Bayvel, P. (1997). "Wavelength requirements in arbitrarily connected wavelength-routed optical networks". Journal of Lightwave Technology. 15 (2): 242–251. doi:10.1109/50.554330.
  14. "Three UCL scientists elected Fellows of the Royal Society". University College London. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  15. "Internet 'playground' trials new tech to deliver smart cities". Urbana World. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  16. "Professor Polina Bayvel". Swindon: epsrc.ac.uk. 2016. Archived from the original on 30 April 2016.
  17. Communicating with Light: Clifford Paterson Lecture by Professor Polina Bayvel FREng on YouTube
  18. "No. 61803". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2016. p. N8.
  19. "Press release: New Year's Honours 2017". Government UK. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  20. "The Optical Society Elects Satoshi Kawata as 2020 Vice President - Novus Light Today". www.novuslight.com. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  21. "Parent-Carer Scientist: Polina Bayvel". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 30 April 2016.