MEMORIES OF CHANG-LIN TIEN
Henry T. Y. Yang
Chancellor of the University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
I remember first hearing about Professor Chang-Lin Tien's work and reputation when I was in my early 30s, and Dr. Tien was in his late 30s. What I heard about was this young, energetic genius who had graduated from National Taiwan University at the age of 19 and finished his Ph.D. in thermal science at Princeton in two years.
He was rising quickly through the academic ranks at the University of California, Berkeley. Everyone knew he was destined for great things. He went on to become the chair of Berkeley's Mechanical Engineering department, then vice chancellor for Research, then chancellor, then university professor. In the midst of his career at Berkeley, he took a two-year detour to serve as the executive vice chancellor for UC Irvine from 1988 to 1990. His impact on the Irvine campus is still remembered and felt.
Dr. Tien was the envy of his colleagues for his unimaginable energy and incredible productivity. He was also well known for his passion for teaching, which extended far beyond the disciplines of thermal science and mechanical engineering. His lectures and seminars frequently covered topics in the social sciences, humanities, education, environment, technology, and society. At age 26, he became the youngest professor ever to win UC Berkeley's prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award. In 1999, the University of California system honored him as university professor, a rare title conferred upon faculty of the highest international distinction.
As Berkeley's chancellor from 1990 to 1997, Dr. Tien provided exemplary leadership while continuing to do vigorous research. This scholarly style set the tone for the campus. His personal warmth and high visibility also helped make him a popular and effective administrator. During the economic downturn of the late 1980s and early 1990s, he prevented deterioration in the quality of faculty by upholding the highest standards of faculty compensation and scholastic quality. In 1995, a report by the U.S. National Research Council found UC Berkeley to have both the largest number and the highest percentage of top-ranked programs of any university in the nation.
There have been countless occasions when I have met alumni of UC Berkeley, and almost every time, the Berkeley alum would ask me, "Do you know the former Chancellor Tien?" I would answer with an emphatic, "Yes, very well." Then they would tell me about how much they appreciated and admired him, with anecdotal accounts of his inspirational teaching, his accomplishments during his tenure as chancellor, and his impact on society. Of the hundreds of Berkeley alums to whom I have spoken, none has ever expressed anything but love and respect for the former Chancellor Tien.
Professor Tien was a pioneer in his field, a fact amply attested to by the technical articles in this annual review. For over 40 years, he devoted himself to the research of thermal science and engineering with ever-increasing depth, creativity, originality, and vision. He is credited as the engineer who pioneered the field of microscale ther-mophysical engineering, which led to the creation of the new discipline of microscale heat transfer. His groundbreaking work in this area has had far-reaching effects on energy utilization and conservation, materials, and the semiconductor industry.
Dr. Tien received many honors throughout his career. There is an asteroid, Tienchanglin, named after him, as well as a Korean supertanker named Chang-Lin Tien. In 1981, he was awarded the Max Jakob Memorial Award - the highest international honor in the heat transfer field. In 2001, Dr. Tien was awarded the U.S. National Academy of Engineering's highest honor, the Founders Award. This award recognizes NAE members who have made lifelong contributions to engineering, and whose accomplishments have benefited U.S. citizens. Due to Dr. Tien's health con dition, his son, Norman, received the honor on his behalf.
In addition to his impressive research accomplishments, Dr. Tien contributed greatly to the advancement of education at all levels, reaching all areas of the world. He served with distinction on the American Society for Engineering Education's National Advisory Council; the National Research Council's Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications; the U.S. National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century; the U.S. National Science Board; and the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations. He was chair of the Asia Foundation Board of Trustees and co-chair of the Asia Society National Commission on Asia in the Schools.
Dr. Tien mapped the world with his work on educational outreach. He was also a strong advocate for diversity throughout his life. In 1995, when the UC Regents voted to ban affirmative action in the admissions process, Chancellor Tien implemented the Berkeley Pledge program. This was an ambitious campus initiative to help prepare disadvantaged students in California's public schools, from kindergarten through high school, to meet admission requirements at UC Berkeley. "We pledge to keep opportunity alive," he said. He helped kick off the program by donating $10,000 of his own salary increase to the Pledge campaign. This was a very personal testament to his belief, as expressed in a 1999 editorial, that, "[The University of California] must prepare leaders to comprehend an increasingly complex society, including an understanding of those who are isolated or on the margins. Diversity, after all, is at the heart of America's exploration of democracy."
One of the reasons for Dr. Tien's great success was his unique talent for bringing people and nations together. He especially helped to strengthen ties for academic and cultural exchange between Asia, Europe, and the United States, and among Asian nations. For example, he was one of the four co-founders of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. This association brings together the chief executive officers from 36 premier universities around the Pacific Rim - on both sides and in the middle of the ocean. It seeks to build connections between universities, and to create opportunities for collaborative teaching and research. This mission is a reflection of Chang-Lin Tien's own strong commitment to collaboration and cross-cultural exchange, which he so magnificently exemplified in his life and career.
Dr. Tien was one of the most visionary engineers of the twenty-first century. He was also a leader among leaders in higher education. He was a mentor and inspirational role model to so many, with his influence extending to every corner of the world where there is a Berkeley alum. His bold vision and passionate commitment to educational access and quality, as well as his dedicated work on behalf of social justice and the humanities, are his contributions to humankind's future. His legacy will always be with us.