Elected in 1998
“For the practical production of optical fibers.”
BY AUDREY PAEK
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY
UN-CHUL PAEK, a pioneer in fast optical fiber drawing technologies and a chaired professor and professor emeritus at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), passed away on May 3, 2011, in Gwangju, South Korea.
He was born in Jinju City, Gyeongnam Province, in South Korea on December 2, 1934. A self-starter who loved learning about the world, he valued education as a path to a better life after enduring personal loss and hardship following the Korean War. In 1957 he received a B.S. in engineering from the Korea Merchant Marine Academy. Given his aptitude for math and his skills for complex problem solving, he was encouraged by a naval officer to apply for graduate studies in the United States. After returning to Korea to get married, he undertook graduate studies at the University of California at Berkeley, where he received an M.S. in mechanical engineering in 1965 and a Ph.D. in applied physics in 1969.
After Berkeley he returned to Korea to start a family. His only child, Audrey, was born in 1970. He then decided to move his family to the United States and joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey, where he worked from 1969 until 1991. Among his many accomplishments, he became a distinguished member of the technical staff and was named a Bell Labs fellow. Un-Chul Paek was a pioneer in fast