Next week, the University of Johannesburg will be awarding an honorary doctoral degree to Prof Kornelis (Kees) Antonie Schouhamer Immink, the inventor of the Compact Disc, DVD and Blu-Ray Disc.
Prof Immink was, for over 25 years, Phillips’ leading engineer in the creation and development of digital audio and video products. His many inventions are universally found in all digital media such as the Compact Disc, DVD and Blu-ray Disc.
The impact of his work on consumer electronics is so large, that it is virtually impossible to cite digital audio or video that does not reflect his work. In the mid-70s, Prof Immink conducted pioneering experiments on digital optical recording that led to the creation of the Compact Disc that gave way to the DVD, and Blu-ray Disc.
He conducted the very first experiments on digital audio recording using optical discs in 1976. In 1977, Prof Immink developed the coding method that made digital optical recording much less sensitive to the disc damaging, making it possible to introduce the Compact Disc (CD). In 1982, he conducted the very first experiment with erasable CDs paving the way to home-recordable discs.
Fuelled by his practical contributions, he has made seminal contributions to Information Theory, shaping the fundamental
knowledge of digital coding and techniques. He wrote over 150 articles on constrained coding and has published widely on constructions and properties of codes. He has authored four books including the landmark monograph Code for Mass Data Storage Systems. Prof Immink has collaborated for several years with the Centre for Telecommunications at UJ, South Africa.
His creativity resulted in more than 1,100 patents, across the world, covering inventions in disciplines such as optics, mechanics, coding and electronics.
Prof Immink received several tributes that summarise the impact of his contributions to the digital audio and video revolution. Among the accolades received are the: IEEE Edison Medal for a career of creative contributions to the technologies of digital video, audio and data recording and an individual Technology Emmy Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). In 2000 Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands bestowed him a knighthood.
Currently, Prof Immink is the president of Turing Machines Inc, which was founded in 1998.
Says Prof Immink: “I am honoured to receive this prestigious accolade from a university of stature such as the University of Johannesburg. I have respect for the University, and I’m grateful to be honoured by means of an honorary degree that binds me to this institution that shares my passion for science and engineering.
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