T. Y. Lin


T. Y. Lin

Educator – Designer – Structural Engineer – Builder of Bridges – Author

Bridge Design – Building Design – Teaching – Prestressed Concrete – Textbooks

Fifty-third National Honor Member Nominated by the University of California, Berkeley Chapter

T. Y. Lin began his service to our profession in 1934 in China, becoming a chief bridge engineer for the Chinese Government railway designing and building bridges, and in 1946, in the United States, as an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. He continued there until 1976, serving through the rank of Professor and in such positions as Chairman of the Division of Structural Engineering and Mechanics and as Chairman of the University Board of Educational Development. He is now Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.

To put his theories into actual practice, Lin founded his engineering firm in 1954, later to be known worldwide as T. Y. Lin International. That firm was sold in 1989. Currently, T. Y. Lin is a partner (with Y. C. Yang, renowned structural engineer from China) and Chairman of the Board of Lin Tun-Yen China, Inc., with offices in Shanghai, Beijing, and San Francisco.

T. Y. Lin, who was born in Fuzhou, China, in 1911, completed his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at Tangshan College of Chiaotung University in 1931 and completed his master’s degree in Civil Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley in 1933. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree from Chiaotung University, Taiwan, in 1987, and an Honorary L.L.D. Degree and Honorary Professorship from Tongji University, Shanghai, China, 1987.

Lin’s professional interests and contributions have primarily centered around prestressed concrete, i.e., theoretical analysis, research, design, and construction of some of the world’s most notable buildings and bridges. Through his efforts, the mystique was taken out of the revolutionary material and concept called prestressed concrete. Some of his most notable structures are the world’s largest column-free underground arena at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco (winning him the Post-Tensioning Institute’s 1982 Award of Excellence); the Ruck-a-Chucky Bridge over the American River near Auburn, California, (the curved bridge spans are suspended from the canyon walls by steel cables); the national Hippodrome in Caracas, Venezuela, still a world record for the use of a three-inch prestressed concrete shell cantilevering out 90 feet; and the Rio Colorado Bridge in Costa Rica, called the “upside down suspension bridge.” Continuing his visionary concept of design, Lin has proposed a bridge across the Bering Straits joining two hemispheres and a bridge across the Strait of Gibraltar.

T. Y. Lin is the author of three widely acclaimed textbooks, Design of Prestressed Concrete Structures, 1955, 1963 and 1981; Design of Steel Structures, 1960; and Structural Concepts and Systems for Architects and Engineers, 1981, as well as more than 100 technical papers.

T. Y. Lin’s most cherished honor is the National Medal of Science conferred on him by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. The citation reads: “For his work as an engineer, teacher, and author, whose scientific analyses including innovation and visionary design have spanned the gulf, not only between science and art, but also between technology and society.”

Other personal awards include the California Alumni Association Alumnus of the Year (1995); Award of Merit, American Consulting Engineers Council (1987); Honorary Member, ASCE (1984); Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, Engineering Alumni Society of the University of California, Berkeley (1984); elected Berkeley Fellow No. 78 (1983); and Honorary Member, American Concrete Institute (1978).

In addition, T. Y. Lin and his international firm have received some 22 awards for his design concepts and the construction of buildings and bridges in the United States and around the world.

Tung Yen Lin was first elected to Chi Epsilon on April 18, 1947, at the University of California at Berkeley, Chapter No. 7, chartered in 1925, as a Chapter Honor Member with a general number of 3,818 and a chapter number of 426. The Supreme Council was privileged to elevate T. Y. Lin to be the 53rd National Honor Member of Chi Epsilon at the University of Kentucky on March 9, 1996, during the 34th National Conclave.

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