Chinese-born American bioengineer Fung Yuan-cheng (馮元楨), considered the “father of modern biomechanics,” died on Dec. 15 at 100 years old, an obituary released on Friday last week by the University of California, San Diego said.
Born in 1919, Fung, who was also called Bert, obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at National Central University (then located in China and later reinstated in Taiwan), before earning a doctorate in aeronautics in 1948 from the California Institute of Technology, where he was an assistant professor and researcher for 20 years.
In 1966, Fung joined the University of California, San Diego, where he cofounded its bioengineering program and recruited Chien Shu (錢煦), a renowned physiologist and bioengineer, as a lecturer.
Photo courtesy of National Central University via CNA
Chien, who is president of the Biomedical Engineering Society, has said that Fung applied the principles of fluid mechanics to biomedical engineering, and adopted a more precise and realistic way of thinking about human health.
Many of Fung’s papers were landmark achievements that built the foundation of biomechanics, Chien said.
Fung became an academician at Academia Sinica in 1968, and he received an honorary doctorate from National Central University in 2002.
In 2000, then-US president Bill Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Science, making him the first bioengineer to receive the distinction. He was also a member of the US-based National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.
National Central University in 2008 named an asteroid discovered by the school’s Lulin Observatory 210434 Fungyuancheng, in honor of Fung’s scientific and academic achievements.
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