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Chang-Lin Tien
John Blaustein photo

Honoring Chang-Lin Tien: A June 22 Symposium at Berkeley
19 June 2002

By Robert Sanders, Media Relations

Watch the Webcast
Live from Sibley Auditorium
8:30 a.m.,
Saturday, June 22.

Berkeley - Chang-Lin Tien, beloved former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, will miss his retirement tribute on Saturday (June 22), but his accomplishments and boundless energy will be much in the thoughts of those attending.

Former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, National Science Foundation Director Rita R. Colwell, UC President Richard C. Atkinson, former UC President Jack W. Peltason, former UC Regent Ralph Carmona and numerous colleagues of Tien's will join about 200 other guests, including his wife, three children and their families, to celebrate his life work.

Tien, 66, a University Professor emeritus and the NEC Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, stepped down as chancellor in 1997 to return to his research and to pursue other interests. Tragically, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in September 2000 and suffered a debilitating stroke during surgery to remove it. He relinquished his many duties on June 30, 2001.

The day-long symposium, to be held in Sibley Auditorium at the Bechtel Engineering Center, will feature a morning of discussions about Tien's research accomplishments by his engineering and scientific colleagues and former students. The afternoon will be filled with talks about his legacy to education and society, including tributes from Riley, Colwell and William Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The full symposium will be Webcast live beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Tien was already an internationally recognized expert in heat transfer and thermal science when he was appointed in 1990 as the first Asian American to lead a major American research university. He shepherded the campus through the toughest financial times in its history and through major disputes over the use of affirmative action in admissions.

His principled stand in favor of the use of affirmative action drew praise and criticism from around the world, though ultimately the UC Board of Regents, and later California voters, elected to forbid such considerations.

Tien's work in the area of heat transfer ranged from nuclear power to the tiniest nanochip. He contributed to research on space shuttle thermal tiles and evaluated reactor emergency cooling after the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. More recently, Tien founded an entirely new field - the study of heat transfer in extraordinarily small, almost invisible micro/nano devices, a field called microscale thermophysical engineering.

He has received many honors, including the Max Jakob Memorial Award, the highest international award in the field of heat transfer, and appointment in 1999 as an esteemed University Professor in the UC system. His name will grace the planned East Asian Library and Studies Center at UC Berkeley and already has been attached to a supertanker and an asteroid. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1976 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991, and holds 12 honorary doctorates from universities in the United States and abroad. And in 1962, at the age of 26, Tien became the youngest professor to win UC Berkeley's Distinguished Teaching Award.

  Chang-Lin Tien
Peg Skorpinski photo

More about Chang-Lin Tien:

Bio by the Mechanical Engineering Department: A comprehensive summary of Tien's many research and educational achievements.

Timeline of Tien's milestones while chancellor.

AsianWeek: "Time Out for Chancellor Tien": In a 1997 conversation with AsianWeek one week before his departure from Berkeley for an extended tour of Asia, Tien talked about the high and low points of his tenure, his impassioned fight to preserve affirmative action, the current political climate toward Asian Pacific Americans, and his brush with national politics.

Bridges with Asia: Asian Americans in the United States: Tien presented this keynote address about affirmative action's role in fighting discrimination to the Asia Society in 1996.