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Report on the Special Symposium at
OECC 2011 that Pays Special Tribute
to Dr. Tingye Li on his 80th Birthday
Yung Jui (Ray) Chen, National Sun Yat-Sen University (NSYSU)

Dr. Tingye Li () was born on July 7, 1931. He obtained his Ph. D. from Northwestern University. After graduation, he began working at Bell Telephone Laboratories (later AT&T Bell Laboratories) in 1957, and worked there for 41 years until his retirement from AT&T Labs in 1998. Dr. Li authored and coauthored many journal papers, patents, and books in the areas of antennas, microwave propagation, lasers and optical communications. He has made numerous significant contributions in the fields of lightwave technologies and systems. His early work, with Dr. Fox, on laser resonator modes established the basis for the understanding of laser operation and is considered a classic. The research at Bell Laboratories on wavelength division multiplexing transmission systems, under his guidance, revolutionized long-distance telecommunication networks. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Photonic Society of Chinese-Americans, and the International Engineering Consortium. He is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Academia Sinica (Taiwan) and a Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.


Invited speakers at Tingye’s symposium.

     Dr. Li has been active in various professional societies, and was President of the Optical Society of America in 1995. He is the most respected and loved “elder” among the young scientists and engineers in the field of photonics, in particular in the Chinese community, not only for his monumental contributions in the field but also his willingness to spend time mentoring, advising, promoting, and encouraging young people.


President Yang presented a special gift to Tingye. An eight tier birthday cake for Tingye.



     This year is Dr. Tingye Li’s 80th birthday. Starting from OFC2011 in March, there is a special party at almost every Photonic event to celebrate Dr.Li’s birthday. OECC 2011 happened to be held on Dr. Li’s birthday (July 4 to July 8). The conference organized a special symposium on July 6, by Prof. Yung Jui (Ray) Chen, to pay tribute to Tingye. Six invited speakers, all highly accomplished in the photonics field and were tied to Tingye in their early career in “New Jersey”, presented various topics of optical communications and photonic technologies. The celebration event was kicked-off by Yan Sun (CEO of Mobim Technology) with a talk on “TINGYE” (Technology Inspired Next Generation Young Entertainment). Followed by Connie Chang-Hasnain (UC Berkeley), S, J. Ben Yoo (UC Davis), Gee-Kung Chang (Georgia Institute of Technology), Cedric Lam (Google) and Angela Chiu (AT&T Labs Research), each presented a talk on their recent advancements and, most touchingly, related their work to the early and fundamental contributions of Dr. Li. All of the talks in the symposium were painstakingly prepared with high technical content, mixed with some humor, and each ended with a deeply respectful homage to Dr. Li. He was found “speechless” in many occasions. For those who know Dr. Li, that is a rare occasion.


A great time was had by all.

     During the conference banquet that evening, the celebration continued. The President of NSYSU, Dr. Hung-Duen Yang, presented a special gift to Dr. Li. Dr. Doug Zuckerman representing IEEE Communications Society also presented a plaque of appreciation. The celebration ended with an eight-level birthday cake and everybody at the banquet sang “Happy Birthday” to Dr. Li.


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