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Dr. Tien joined the mechanical engineering faculty at U.C. Berkeley in 1959, and rising through the ranks, he became a full professor, later chairman of the department, and for two years (1983-85) was U.C. Berkeley's vice chancellor-research. He left U.C. Berkeley in 1988 and served for two years as executive vice chancellor and UCI Distinguished Professor at University of California, Irvine (U.C. Irvine) before returning in 1990 to serve as U.C. Berkeley's seventh chancellor-the first Asian American to head a major research university in the United States.
As chancellor, he earned wide praise for his visionary leadership in guiding the campus through a period of unprecedented budgetary constraints, for his commitment to excellence through diversity, and for his openness, sensitivity, and accessibility.
Dr. Tien has achieved a remarkably distinguished record as a scientist and educator. Early in his career, he pioneered the field of thermal radiation in gases by providing the physical basis and computational method for quantifying gaseous radiation properties. His work in the 1960s on thermal radiation transport in microdomains is now considered the basis for the recent emerging microscale heat transfer field. He was the first researcher to offer a sound theoretical footing for characterizing the dependent scattering and provided experimental evidences to delineate the regions of applicability, as well as initiate the field of thermal insulation with basic formulation and analyses, and addressed all transport modes for multilayer, cryogenic, and microsphere insulation.
Dr. Tien's recent efforts have been in the area of microscale heat transfer, including both spatial and temporal scales. His work on thermal conduction in thin films, quantum structures, and fast laser-material interaction processes laid the foundation for this currently most active field of heat transfer. He has also made contributions to the broad thermal-fluid transport discipline.
Internationally recognized for his research in heat transfer technology, Dr. Tien has received many honors, including the Max Jakob Memorial Award in 1981, the highest international honor in his field. A recipient of several teaching awards, Dr. Tien in 1962 became the youngest professor (at age 26) ever to win U.C. Berkeley's prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering in 1976 and recently served as a councillor from 1998 to 2001. An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is the recipient of 12 honorary degrees from universities in the U.S. and abroad. In 1999, the International Astronomical Union approved the naming of the asteroid (International Series 3643, a minor planet) as Tien Chang-Lin Star. Recently, he was honored as a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and as an honorary member of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Anchored in both American and Asian cultures, Dr. Tien is deeply committed to maintaining educational excellence and diversity for all groups, especially those underprivileged. He has been active in many community relations activities and educational reform programs. Indicative of the scope of his leadership in both domestic and international arenas are his appointments as chairman of the Asia Foundation, chairman of the San Francisco Bay Area Economic Forum, and chairman of the Chief Executive's Commission on Innovation and Technology in Hong Kong (ended in July, 1999.) In 1999, Dr. Tien was appointed as a member of the U.S. National Science Board and the U.S. National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century. He has also served as co-chair of the National Commission on Asia in the Schools.
Dr. Tien was born in Wuhan, China, and educated in Shanghai and Taiwan. After completing his undergraduate education at the National Taiwan University, he came to the United States in 1956, earned a master's degree at the University of Louisville in 1957 and then a master's degree and a doctorate, both in 1959 from Princeton University. He has authored one book, edited 18 volumes, published more than 300 research journals and monographs, edited three international journals, and guided more than 60 students in their doctoral studies. Dr. Tien and his wife of 42 years, Di-Hwa Tien, reside in California.