Chia-Chiao Lin

Chia-Chiao Lin (Chinese: 林家翹; 7 July 1916 – 13 January 2013) was a Chinese-born American applied mathematician and Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[2]

Chia Chiao Lin
Born(1916-07-07)7 July 1916
Peking, China
Died13 January 2013(2013-01-13) (aged 96)
Beijing, China
NationalityUnited States[1]
Alma materCalifornia Institute of Technology
University of Toronto
National Tsinghua University
Known forHydrodynamic stability
turbulent flow
AwardsFluid Dynamics Prize (1979)
Timoshenko Medal (1975)
Otto Laporte Award (1973)
Scientific career
FieldsApplied Mathematics
Brown University
ThesisInvestigations on the Theory of Turbulence (1944)
Doctoral advisorTheodore von Kármán
Doctoral studentsPhyllis Fox
Lee Segel
Frank Shu
David Benney
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese林家翹
Simplified Chinese林家翘

Lin made major contributions to the theory of hydrodynamic stability, turbulent flow, mathematics, and astrophysics.


Lin was born in Beijing with ancestral roots in Fuzhou. In 1937 Lin graduated from the department of physics, National Tsinghua University in Beijing.

After graduation he was an assistant teaching in the Tsinghua University physics department. In 1939 Lin won a Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Scholarship and initially was supported to study in the United Kingdom. However, due to World War II, Lin and several others were sent to North America by ship. Unluckily, Lin's ship was stopped in Kobe, Japan, and all students had to return to China.

In 1940 Lin finally reached Canada and studied at the University of Toronto from which he earned his M.Sc. In 1941. Lin continued his studies in the United States and received his PhD from the California Institute of Technology in 1944 under Theodore von Kármán. His PhD thesis provided a analytic method to solve a problem in the stability of parallel shearing flows, which was the subject of Werner Heisenberg's PhD thesis.[3]

Lin also taught at Caltech between 1943 and 1945. He taught at Brown University between 1945 and 1947. Lin joined the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1947. Lin was promoted to professor at MIT in 1953 and became an Institute Professor of MIT in 1963. He was President of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics from 1972 to 1974.[4] Lin retired from MIT in 1987.

In 2002, he moved back to China and help founded the Zhou Pei-Yuan Center for Applied Mathematics (ZCAM) at Tsinghua University. He died, aged 96, in Beijing.

Honors and awards

During his career Lin has received many prizes and awards, including:

Lin was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, cited in the American Men and Women of Science. and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Lin was elected Academician of Academia Sinica in 1958, and became a Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1994.


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