Date: 2018/3/5

NTU Distinguished Chair Professor Elected a Foreign Member of the NAE

Dr. Lou-Chuang Lee (李羅權), Distinguished Chair Prof. of Geosciences at NTU and Academician of Academia Sinica, was elected a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE), according to the academy’s announcement on February 7, 2018. Prof. Lee received the honor for his substantial contributions to space physics and to technical leadership in the FORMOSAT/COSMIC program.

As a world-renowned scientist and administrator, Prof. Lee has made significant and broad impacts on radio communication, space physics, space weather forecasting, and atmospheric physics. Prof. Lee achieved a crucial breakthrough in the theory of strong scattering of radio waves by turbulent plasmas in 1975. Such scattering produces a wide variety of observed phenomena such as intensity scintillations, angular broadening, and pulse smearing. Moreover, Prof. Lee developed a non-perturbative theory for strong scattering, which has been applied to various subfields, including the propagation of radio waves, laser beams, and seismic waves in a random medium.

In 1974, satellite observations discovered that the Earth emits intense radio waves in the region about 6,000 meters above the auroral ionosphere. Other planets (i.e., Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus) in the solar system also emit strong radio waves. Prof. Lee proposed a kinetic electron cyclotron maser theory in 1979 that successfully explains the observed strong radio emission from Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. The kinetic approach of electron cyclotron maser has also been applied to the generation of Ka-band radio waves.

Solar prominences are not only a fundamental solar physics phenomenon but are important for causing geomagnetic activity at the Earth and for space weather forecasting. Prof. Lee published a paper in 1992 that for the first time successfully simulated the dynamic formation of solar prominences within a magnetic arcade. It also showed that the prominence mass is supplied by siphon-type flows induced by thermal instability.

Prof. Lee, as Director of the National Space Program Office and the founding President of the National Applied Research Laboratories in Taiwan, has led the science and engineering teams to implement the FORMOSAT-2 and FORMOSAT-3 satellite programs. The FORMOSAT-2 satellite, launched on May 20, 2004, was to provide remote sensing data and serve as the first satellite to investigate transient luminous events (TLEs), including red sprites, blue jets, elves, and gigantic jets. In 2003, the FORMOSAT-2 science team discovered “gigantic jets” in the atmosphere. These jets are located above thunder clouds. The observed gigantic jets establish a direct optical and electric link between a thundercloud (altitude ~ 16 km) and the ionosphere at ~90 km altitude, confirming the prediction by C.T.R. Wilson (a Nobel Laureate) in 1925.

FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC, a joint Taiwan/USA space mission with six satellites, was launched in 2006 to conduct GPS radio occultation, collecting atmospheric data used by weather bureaus worldwide to improve operational weather forecasting capability. There are over 3,000 worldwide registered scientific users from 81 countries.

Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions that can be accorded to an engineer. The membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology.” In 2018, the NAE elects 83 members and 16 foreign members from academia and industry. Including the newly elected members, the US membership has been brought to 2,293 and the number of foreign members to 262.


  1. “Academician Lou-Chuang Lee Elected as a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering,” Press Release of Academia Sinica. Feb. 9, 2018. Link:
  2. “National Academy of Engineering Elects 83 Members and 16 Foreign Members,” Press Release of National Academy of Engineering. Feb. 7, 2018. Link:
  • NTU Distinguished Chair Prof. Lou-Chuan Lee was elected a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

    NTU Distinguished Chair Prof. Lou-Chuan Lee was elected a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

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