optical fiber drawing technologies, which enabled installation of today’s global fiber-optic networks. His primary research interests included fiber design for high-speed wavelength division multiplexing systems, specialty fiber fabrication and fiber devices, and large-capacity fiber production processes. His work included the development of a furnace for drawing fibers; techniques for high-speed drawing, cooling, and coating of these fibers; analysis and perfection of fusion splicing; and, ultimately, theory and design of clad lightguide fibers.
Un-Chul Paek later served as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University, from 1987 to 1993 before returning to Korea in 1991 to become executive vice president of the Korea Academy of Industrial Technology. Rather than pursue a position in the Korean government, he returned to academia to pursue his passion as a lifelong scholar, teacher, and mentor to the next generation of graduate research students. In 1994 he became dean of faculty and a professor with the information communications department at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST). He was then named director of the Research Center for Ultrafast Fiber-Optic Networks in 1995. From 2000 to 2006, he served as a chaired professor and professor emeritus at GIST.
Un-Chul Paek received many honors throughout his career for his technical achievements and publications. He was inducted as a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1998 for the practical production of optical fibers. In recognition of his lifelong contribution to the development of science and technology, he received the National Order of Civil Merit—the Presidential Medal of Honor—from former South Korean President Dae-Jung Kim. He was also a fellow of the Optical Society of America, the American Ceramic Society, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, as well as a member of Sigma Xi and an associate member of the Third World Academy of Science.
His thirst for knowledge, his personal diligence and devotion to research, and his mentorship of students and colleagues were hallmarks of his career. He believed in creating a life of meaning through service. Most people will remember him as a