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Professor and Innovator Hung C. Lin Dies at 89

Professor and Innovator Hung C. Lin Dies at 89

Prof. Hung C. (
Prof. Hung C. ("Jimmy") Lin

The University of Maryland's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) has lost one of its most distinguished professors and dearest friends. Professor Emeritus Hung C. ("Jimmy") Lin passed away on Thursday, March 5. He was 89.

A dedicated and popular instructor who only missed one class in his years of teaching in College Park, Dr. Lin joined the University of Maryland as Professor of Electrical Engineering in 1969. He retired in 1990, and has since served as Professor Emeritus. Well known to his colleagues for his abundant energy, his career has spanned more than half a century and has been punctuated with many patent rights, honors, and awards.

"Professor Lin was not only a brilliant and distinguished professor and accomplished inventor, but he was also a warm and caring person, and a dear member of our ECE family," said ECE Department Chair Patrick O'Shea. "He cared passionately about making sure that engineering research resulted in better lives for everyone. He touched so many people, and his vibrancy and friendship will be sorely missed. This is an enormous loss for our community."

Before leaving China in 1947, Dr. Lin was an engineer at the Central Radio Works and Central Broadcasting Administration. In the United States, he was one of the first scientists at RCA Laboratories to work on transistor circuit development. The technology evolved rapidly, and he was the first inventor to incorporate p-n-p or complementary integrated circuits. His industrial experience also included research and development positions at the Hytron Division of Columbia Broadcasting Systems and Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

His most well known contribution is the invention of the lateral transistor which is used in most linear integrated circuits and digital integrated circuits. His early study of the temperature effects led to the use of diode compensation configuration which is now widely used in transistor amplifiers. It is a little known fact that the output (or "totem") driver used to control the speakers in every audio system was invented by Professor Lin. 

Dr. Lin was inducted into the Clark School of Engineering Innovation Hall of Fame in May 1990 in recognition of his significant inventions and contributions in semiconductor devices and integrated circuits.

The holder of 57 U.S. patents, he is known in particular for the invention of the quasi-complementary amplifier used in most commercial audio amplifiers and for the lateral transistor used in most linear integrated circuits. He is the author or co-author of 170 technical papers, author of the book "Integrated Electronics," and co-author of three other books: "Selected Semiconductor Circuits Handbook," "Semiconductor Electronics Education Committee Notes 1," and "Electronics Designers Handbook." In 1978, IEEE presented him with the J.J. Ebers Award. He was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for contributions to semiconductor electronics and circuits and pioneering of integrated circuits. He received the B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1941 from Chiaotung University in Shanghai, China, the M.S. degree in 1948 from the University of Michigan, and the Doctor of Electrical Engineering in 1956 from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. He was an avid tennis player, and made his way through college on a tennis scholarship.

In the academic field, he was a part-time Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Visiting Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley, and since 1969, has been a Professor at the University of Maryland, later Professor Emeritus.

Last year, Dr. Lin endowed the Jimmy Lin Fund for Innovation and Invention within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The goal of the gift was to promote innovation among ECE students, staff and faculty by stimulating, encouraging and rewarding the invention and patenting process.

Dr. Lin is survived by his wife, Anchen, two sons, Robert and Daniel, and three grandchildren, Ming, Huei, and Adrian.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 14 at 2:00 p.m. at Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home (11800 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20904, (301) 622-2290).

A campus memorial service will be held on Wednesday, March 25 at 3:00 p.m. in the University Chapel.

Prof. Lin's family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Jimmy Lin Fund for Innovation and Invention. Checks can be made out to "UMCPF" (University of Maryland College Park Foundation) with "Jimmy Lin Fund for Innovation and Invention" written in the memo area of the check, and sent to:

Jimmy Lin Fund for Innovation and Invention
Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept.
2457 A.V. Williams Bldg.
College Park, MD 20742

From the Washington Post:
Hung C. 'Jimmy' Lin, 89: U-Md. Professor Was a Master Inventor

March 5, 2009


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"He cared passionately about making sure that engineering research resulted in better lives for everyone. He touched so many people, and his vibrancy and friendship will be sorely missed."

Dr. Patrick O'Shea, ECE Chair



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