Richard K. Chang

Henry Ford II Professor of Applied Physics,
 Professor of Electrical Engineering
 and Physics

Richard K. ChangRichard Chang, B.S. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, M.S., Ph.D. Harvard University, faculty member at Yale since 1966: as an optical scientist, you have spent your career revealing the underlying Veritas of Lux. Your earliest work with Nobel Laureate Nicolaas Bloembergen laid a cornerstone of the discipline of nonlinear optics. Since that auspicious beginning you have made major contributions to our understanding of a broad range of optical phenomena, including the Resonant Raman (RAYMAN) Effect, Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering and, for the past twenty years, the interaction of light with microparticles and microresonators. Following your pioneering discoveries on laser emission from microdroplets, the field has grown enormously and it is clear that laser diagnostics for the characterization of small particles has become an important optical tool with many practical applications. Recently you have devoted yourself to one such timely and important application: the identification of airborne pathogens for the purpose of protecting the citizenry. At the same time your work on microparticle optics has had impact on fundamental studies of cavity quantum electrodynamics and on the invention of novel microlasers.

Your work has been distinguished by an elegant interplay between theory and skillful development of new experimental techniques. The more than 300 papers you have authored demonstrate your vigor and productivity, and the long list of co-authors reflects the influence you have had on your many students and colleagues. Your teaching in the classroom, and training of students in the lab have always stressed the very highest standards and the importance of detailed understanding. Generations of undergraduate and graduate students have benefited from your wisdom and guidance. You have been a model of generosity, integrity and professionalism in all of your work, and an admired and beloved mentor, who has engendered great loyalty in the students and collaborators whose careers have been launched or enhanced by their association with you. 

In addition to all of this, you have been a superb community member. Many is the time when the University has needed to call on you for help, and it has always found you a deeply concerned, committed, and loyal member of this faculty, an articulate advocate for Engineering, a partner, a friend, and an ally of any Yale cause. Your many ties with China have benefited Yale in recent times. You have been an official consulting professor at Fudan and were on a panel of three American scientists to evaluate optics programs of major universities throughout China. We are grateful for this international profile, because you embody those qualities we hope to tell the world we seek to teach: intellectual accomplishment, hard work, warmth, and humanity.

For your lasting scientific contributions, your kindness as a mentor and colleague, and your long and distinguished service to the university, Yale salutes you and wishes you the very best in your retirement.

Tribute Editor: Penelope Laurans