Kam Yin Lau received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in 1978, 1978, and 1981 respectively, all in Electrical Engineering from Caltech.
He joined Ortel Corporation as a founding staff member and then chief scientist, after earning his terminal degree. Ortel was acquired by Lucent in 2000. In 1988 he became an associate professor of electrical engineering at Columbia University. Two years later, he moved to the University of California-Berkeley, where he is now Professor Emeritus. While there, he co-founded LGC Wireless, Inc. in 1997, which supplies in-building wireless solutions. LGC Wireless was acquired by ADC Telecom in 2007.
For his work, Lau has received the 1996 IEEE LEOS William Streifer Scientific Achievement Award, the 1996 IEEE LEOS Distinguished Lecturer Award, the 2008 OSA Nick Holonyak, Jr. Award, the 2009 IEEE David Sarnoff Award, the 2009 IET J.J. Thomson Medal, the 2013 Pioneer Award from the IEEE Aerospace Electronic Systems Society, and the 2010 Benjamin Oliver Gold Medal from the Armed Force Electronic Communication Association. He has been a Fellow of OSA since 1993.