Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE from HKUST(GZ) wins an award!

Recently, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) announced that Professor Ricky Shi-Wei LEE, the Dean of the System Hub at HKUST(GZ), has been awarded the 2024 ASME Worcester Reed Warner Medal. This prestigious recognition is bestowed upon him for his pioneering contributions in "defining solder joint failure modes that impact industrial test standards." The award ceremony will take place at the ASME Electronic Packaging Flagship Conference, InterPACK 2024, held in San Jose, California, from October 8th to 10th, 2024.

The ASME Worcester Reed Warner Medal was established in 1930 and is awarded annually to a scientist who has made outstanding contributions to engineering literature. Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE is one of the five Chinese scholars to receive the ASME Worcester Reed Warner Medal. He is also the only Chinese scholar in Asia to have conducted and achieved significant research in this field.

Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE expressed that this honor recognizes his eight-year-long academic journey, including a series of papers and monographs on lead-free solder joint reliability testing, as well as the impact of his work in the engineering field. He hopes to continue making further contributions to society in the future.

In his daily life, Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE is also an experienced navigator. He openly compares his explorations in the field of scientific research to sailing on vast unknown seas. Whether as a sailboat captain or as the "captain" of a research team, he needs to navigate with precision, observe the winds and waves at sea, avoid hidden reefs and hazards, and forge ahead steadily in the uncharted "waters" with determination and resilience.

"Sailing" for eight years, deepening the research on solder joint testing

Sailing on the vast ocean, day and night, facing unpredictable ocean currents and waves, the captain must make calm and decisive decisions to overcome all dangers. In the "sea of scientific research," this resilience and decisiveness come from long-term training and accumulated "scientific intuition."

At the turn of the century, with increasing consumer demands for the appearance and performance of electronic products, there was a rise in portable consumer electronics in the market. These devices were prone to damage from falls, often caused by the fracture of tiny solder joints within the product. To enhance the impact resistance of portable electronic products, it was crucial to understand the failure mechanisms of lead-free solder joints under mechanical impact loads.

Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE, relying on years of research experience, keenly identified the key issues related to solder joint reliability testing. The feeling of conducting exploratory research is akin to sailing in the dark. Initially, one of the challenges faced in the research was the lack of suitable testing equipment. Globally, there was no appropriate equipment available for the team due to the novel testing requirements, posing a significant challenge to the research. "Later, we learned that a foreign company was attempting to develop solder ball testing equipment for high-speed conditions. We quickly contacted them and reached a collaboration agreement, enabling the research to continue," recalled Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE.

From 2003 to 2011, over these eight years, Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE led the team in a series of research endeavors, including market research, program design, experimental simulations, performance testing, data analysis, and more. Each step of the team's research was carried out steadfastly and responsibly. During this period, Prof. LEE and the team published 15 high-level research articles. In 2014, their research received industry recognition for the first time, and in 2016, the solder joint failure modes became officially adopted as industry testing standards.

Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE attributes his groundbreaking research achievements to unwavering perseverance and relentless effort. While conducting scientific research that aligns with market demands may be fortunate, the true value lies in continuous deepening within the field. "Engaging in research requires enduring solitude and accumulating sufficient expertise. Simultaneously, one must have an international perspective, cultivate competitiveness on the global stage, and strive for greater influence in the international academic community," Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE encourages young scholars at HKUST(GZ). He hopes that they can truly embody the qualities of having a broad vision and delving deep into their research endeavors.

Hoisting the sailing flag to rally the team's strength

The flag, billowing in the wind and proudly standing atop the mast, serves as the symbolic embodiment of the entire sailboat's spirit. As the vessel navigates through the rolling waves, its steady progress relies not only on the calm guidance of the captain but also on the close cooperation of the crew. It is through unity and mutual support that they can sail steadily towards distant horizons.

Upon receiving the news of the award, Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE immediately informed the team that had supported and assisted him throughout the series of research endeavors. He also expressed gratitude to the Electronic Packaging Laboratory (EPACK Lab), Materials Characterization and Preparation Facility (MCPF), and Nanosystem Fabrication Facility (NFF) at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology for their equipment support. He stated, "This achievement is not solely mine; it represents the collective research efforts of many individuals."

In the face of raging winds and enormous waves, the comrades on the same boat cooperate closely, sharing life and death, forming a precious revolutionary camaraderie. This is the inspiration Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE gained during his sailing adventures: "People can only play their roles in the right positions, and mutual drive and trust among team members are crucial." As the Dean of HKUST(GZ) System Hub, Chairman of HKUST Shenzhen Research Institute, and Director of the HKUST LED-FPD Technology R&D Center at Foshan, Prof. LEE holds multiple positions and is busy with various responsibilities. However, he still insists on personally recruiting talents and training the team, firmly believing that people are the most critical factor.

The consistent "Purple Storm" of the system hub, the unified slogan and the mascot symbolizing the integration of disciplines… These are specific actions through which Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE deeply embodies the spirit of teamwork. Beyond team building, he upholds the life philosophy of "lighting candles with candles and letting life influence life" on his journey of life. He believes that "giving" is what constitutes a complete life, and it forms the foundation for the team to possess formidable strength.

"Adventure is the underlying theme of my life, and I made a firm decision to choose HKUST(GZ)"

Sailing is synonymous with adventure, it is the endeavor of the brave and the journey of the seeker of knowledge.

On the "sea of scientific research," Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE has embarked on numerous explorations along different "routes." Coming from a mechanical engineering background, he ventured into the fields of engineering mechanics and aerospace engineering. After joining the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, in response to the demand for microelectronics research and development in the Hong Kong industry at the turn of the century, he "changed course" and entered the field of microelectronics, focusing on research in areas such as lead-free soldering and reliability analysis, wafer-level packaging, and LED encapsulation. Each time he took the helm, his choices appeared resolute and composed.

In the era of great exploration, sailing into the unknown may yield greater rewards. Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE's research achievements in the field of microelectronics have been internationally recognized on multiple occasions. In 2014, he was awarded the prestigious Calvin W Rice Lecture Award by ASME, becoming the first scholar in Hong Kong to receive this industry honor. In 2021, he received the Avram Bar-Cohen Memorial Award, the most important award in the field of electronic packaging by ASME, making him the first Chinese scientist to receive this honor. In 2024, he was awarded the ASME Worcester Reed Warner Medal…

Not only in academic research but also in the field of education, Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE has chosen a new adventurous path. When asked about his decision to move from HKUST to HKUST(GZ), he openly stated, "As a member of HKUST for over 30 years, I wholeheartedly support any measures that benefit HKUST. This is my dedication to HKUST."

In August 2022, Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE and his sailing team steered the "Tongran" to bring the torch symbolizing the spirit of HKUST to HKUST(GZ) as part of the opening ceremony. Since assuming the role of Dean of the System Hub, Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE has actively engaged in hub discipline construction, faculty recruitment, laboratory preparation, and other matters, personally taking charge of everything. Prof. Ricky Shi-Wei LEE expressed, "Adventure is the underlying theme of my life. One must maintain passion and continuously explore the oceans of life. In the remaining years of my professional career, I hope to better inherit the spirit and ethos of HKUST to HKUST (Guangzhou), contribute to educational reform and research innovation in the Greater Bay Area, nurture more talents for the vibrant Greater Bay Area, promote industrial transformation, and contribute to the development of the Greater Bay Area."

Release date
16 May 2024
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