Yong Chen made history in 1989 as one of the student organizers
of the pro-democracy movement in China. The Chinese government's
bloody suppression of demonstrators at Tiananmen Square drove
dissent underground and abroad, and became for many a symbol of
the regime's tyranny.
Thirteen years later, Chen is making history again - this time
as leader of a team at HP
Labs that recently created the highest density electronically
addressable memory to date.
For his part, Chen was awarded a U.S. patent for the nano-imprint
lithography technology essential to the process.
Chen's method describes how to make a "master" or mold
of a chip, using electron beam lithography. The master can then
be used to stamp out copies, just like a printing press.
"We expect that this method will be much less expensive
than the current photolithographic techniques used for creating
chips," said Stan Williams, HP
Fellow and director of the Quantum Science Research group.
Chen, who joined HP Labs in June 1996, says he was lucky to have
escaped from China after the Tiananmen Square demonstrations.
"I should thank my father because he understood society
much better than I did. He saw that we had lost. He bought my
ticket, packed my luggage and put me on a flight," Chen recalls.
His first home in the United States was Berkeley, California,
a place well known for its diversity and liberal mindset -- and
about as far removed from Communist China as you can get.
"When I saw so many different types of people walking around
campus, all living and studying in their own ways, I immediately
got an idea of what freedom is," Chen recalls.
Although dramatically different from his political work, Chen
says his current work offers its own rewards.
"When you are doing something new, you need to use all of
your strength and all of your capabilities to find new pathways,"
he says. "That's very challenging work, and that is very
Education: PhD, Materials Science and Engineering,
University of California at Berkeley
Native country: China
Joined HP Labs:
Hobbies: Classical music, ceramics, photography, soccer,
Biggest influence: Grandma's rudimentary education
when culture was denied in the Chinese "Culture Revolution;"
the pro-democracy movement in China that impelled me to a
liberal and democratic country; my former research adviser
at Berkeley, Jack Washburn, who gave me the basic ideas about
scientific research and American culture; and QSR director,
Stanley Williams, who created a research heaven for me and
guided me toward an exciting research field.