In Memoriam: Bei Tse Chao (1918-2011)

6/18/2012 By Kate Leifheit

Bei Tse ChaoEmeritus Professor Bei-Tse Chao passed away on March 2, 2011 at the age of 92.

Written by By Kate Leifheit

Bei Tse Chao
Bei Tse Chao
Bei Tse Chao
Emeritus Professor Bei-Tse Chao passed away on March 2, 2011 at the age of 92.

Bei-Tse was born on December 18, 1918 in Su Zhou, China and spent most of his early life in Shanghai. He graduated from the Electrical Engineering Department, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, in 1939 with a B.Sc. Degree. He was awarded the Boxer Indemnity scholarship by the Sino-Britain Culture and Education Foundation in 1943 and went to the University of Manchester, England for his graduate study.

After receiving his Ph.D. in the winter of 1947, Bei-Tse started working in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From that point, he was promoted through the ranks -- from Lecturer and eventually to full Professor in 1955. Professor Chao became Head of the Department in 1975, and he remained in that position until he retired in 1987.

Professor Chao was elected as a member of U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 1981 due to his pioneering contributions to heat transfer research and leadership in engineering education. He received many other awards and honors for his distinguished achievements in scientific research and teaching. Among them, the ASME Blackall Machine Tool and Gauge Award (1957); the Heat Transfer Memorial Award (1971); the first recipient of the ASEE Ralph Coats Roe Award (1975); Max Jakob Memorial Award (1983) given jointly by ASME and American Institute of Chemical Engineers; the Benjamin Garver Lamme Medal (1984) (the highest honor from ASEE); the first recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Daniel C. Drucker Eminent Faculty Award (1985); Academician (1986), Academia Sinica, Republic of China; Senior University Scholar (1985-1988), University Illinois; the William T. Ennor Manufacturing Technology Award (1992); and the ASEE Centennial Medallion (1993). He was also a member of the Taiwan National Academy of Science and an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Bei-Tse married May Kiang in 1947 in Manchester, England. He was deeply loved and respected by his entire family whom he supported. He was a man of great generosity and strength.

Everyone who met Bei-Tse was impressed by his kindness, by how easy it was to speak with him, and by the range of his intellect – from his knowledge of science to the stock exchange. He was a true visionary, and his death is a profound loss for his family and friends, the University of Illinois, and both Science and Engineering communities. He will be missed.

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This story was published June 18, 2012.