Professor The Honourable Cardinal Warde, CHB
Engineer, Acadmic, Inventor
Professor The Honourable Cardinal Warde, is an award-winning Barbadian entrepreneur, innovator, scientist and scholar
Dr. Cardinal Warde, a professor of electrical engineering at MIT, is considered one of the world's leading experts on materials, devices and systems for optical information processing. Warde is an inventor on 12 patents, and has published three book chapters in addition to over 150 technical papers on optical materials, devices and systems.. He is a co-inventor of the microchannel spatial light modulator, membrane-mirror light shutters based on micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), an optical bistable device, and a family of charge-transfer plate spatial light modulators.
Early life and education
Warde grew up on the Caribbean island of Barbados. As a young boy he started making his own toys. In Barbados he attended St. Christopher's Boys School, Boys' Foundation School and Harrison College, and was a sprinter on the high-school track team. His parents demanded excellence of him in school, but gave him lots of freedom and support so he could engage his inquisitive mind outside the classroom. By age 16, he had converted his father's unused carpenter's shop into a chemistry and physics laboratory, and with his high school friends he was launching homemade rockets (with mice aboard) from the beach near his home. Fortunately, he says, none of his rockets escaped earth's gravity and most of the mice got their freedom when the rockets crashed.
After finishing high school in 1965, Warde boarded a plane for the United States. He received a bachelor's degree in physics from the Stevens Institute of Technology in 1969, where he was also a member of the school's varsity soccer team. His passion for physics continued into graduate school at Yale University where he earned M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in 1971 and 1974.
While at Yale, Warde invented a new interferometer that would work near absolute zero temperature in order to measure the refractive index and thickness of solid oxygen films for his Ph.D. research. This experience stimulated his keen passion for optics and optical engineering. Immediately after earning the Ph.D. Warde wrote letters to several of the leading engineering and science universities inquiring about possible appointment to their faculties. MIT responded to his inquiry, and he joined its faculty of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1974 as an Assistant Professor.
At MIT Warde's interest shifted toward the engineering applications of optics. He became involved with other members of the faculty in the development of devices for enhancing the performance of optical atmospheric (wireless) communication systems to improve communication performance in inclement weather, and on the development of photorefractive materials for real-time holography and optical computing. To date, he has published over one hundred technical papers on optical materials, devices and systems.
Today, Warde's research activities are focused on the development of optical neural-network co-processors that are expected to endow the next generation of PC's with rudimentary brain-like processing; transparent liquid-crystal microdisplays for display eyeglasses and novel cellular phones; membrane-mirror-based spatial light modulators for optical switching and projection displays; and spectro-polarimetric imaging sensors for remote-sensing applications.
In addition to his research and teaching duties, Warde is also an entrepreneur: in 1982 he founded Optron Systems, Inc., an incubator company dedicated to developing novel electro-optic and MEMS displays, and light shutters and modulators for optical signal processing systems. Then in 1999 he co-founded Radiant Images, Inc., a company engaged in the manufacture of transparent liquid-crystal VLSI microdisplays for digital camera and camcorder viewfinders, portable telecommunications devices, and display eyeglasses.
Dr. Warde has also dedicated himself to working with Caribbean governments and organizations to help stimulate economic development in the Caribbean area. As such he lectures frequently throughout the Caribbean at scientific and government meetings on the role of technology and education reform on economic development. He also serves, informally, as a scientific advisor to the Governments of Barbados and Belize. In addition, for the last ten years Warde has mentored students in the Network Program of the New England Board of Higher Education. The goals of this program are to motivate and encourage minority youth in the six New England states to consider majoring in science and engineering and to pursue careers in these fields.
In 2010, Warde co-founded the Caribbean Science Foundation, an organization whose mission is to help diversify Caribbean economies by incorporating science and technology-based entrepreneurship. The scholar’s foundation is also enterprising reforms in the region’s science, technology, engineering and math education programs, and boosting the number of its students pursuing STEM careers. The professor also serves as president of the Caribbean Diaspora for Science, Technology and Innovation organization.
Honours and awards
He has been recognized with a number of awards and honors for his work, including the Renaissance Science and Engineering Award from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1996; the Inventor of the Week from the Lemelson-MIT Program in 2001; the Pride of Barbados Award for Science from the National Association of Barbados Organizations in 2000; and two honorary doctorate degrees in science from the University of the West Indies and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.
In 2003, Professor Ward received the Companion of Honour of Barbados,m the country's second highest honour.