The small city of Corning, New York (pop. 11,000), is situated 21 miles from the southern tip of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region. Despite its modest size, it contains the world headquarters of a Fortune 500 company, Corning Inc., a leading manufacturer of glass and ceramics. The firm moved to Corning in 1868, and it has been the bedrock of the city’s economy for more than 150 years. Currently, Corning is busy making glass vials for COVID-19 vaccines, as well as producing the glass used by Apple for its iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. But it has numerous other claims to fame. Back in the 1930s, the company made the mirror for Caltech’s 200-inch Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory; later it provided the glass for the primary mirror in the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as the windows for NASA’s space shuttles. However, Corning’s most earth-shattering invention came in 1970, when four of its researchers produced the first functional fiber-optic cable, thereby ushering into existence the entire world of modern digital communication.