Dr. Thomas Owusu Mensah, a Ghanaian-American chemical engineer who made significant contributions to the development of fiber optic technology, has died at the age of 74.

Dr Mensah passed on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, after a brief illness.

The sad incident according to a statement issued by his family occurred at the Kumasi Catholic Hope Exchange Hospital in the Ashanti Region.

He was 74 years. 

Dr. Mensah’s work is credited with making fiber optics a more practical and cost-effective solution for data transmission. During his time at Corning Glass Works, he revolutionised the manufacturing process for fiber optic cables.

Previously limited by speed and cost, Dr. Mensah’s innovations increased production speed to 20 meters per second by 1985, and further advancements followed. This breakthrough significantly reduced the cost of fiber optics, making them competitive with traditional copper cables.

His contributions extended beyond speed; Dr. Mensah’s advancements in manufacturing processes also made fiber optic cables more affordable to produce, paving the way for their widespread adoption in modern communication systems.

Dr. Mensah’s achievements were widely recognised. He received accolades from prestigious institutions including the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and Ghana’s National Order of the Volta.

The pioneering scientist and entrepreneur excelled in both scientific research and business ventures.

He earned a degree in chemical engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana and a Ph.D. from Montpellier University in France. He was also fluent in French and English.

His intellectual prowess was evident in the early stages of his life, winning Ghana’s national French-language competition twice.

He had expertise in various cutting-edge fields like fiber optics and superconductor technology, authoring and editing books on these topics.

His work on fiber optic reels played a role in the development of advanced missile technology used during the Gulf War.

Leveraging his scientific achievements, he established Supercond Technologies, a company focusing on superconductor applications.

He believed in transitioning military technology for civilian use, like developing a super-strong composite material for everyday products.

Supercond explored utilizing fiber optics for video applications during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He was a celebrated figure who featured in exhibitions highlighting black excellence in science and engineering.