Professor Jin Au Kong, an internationally renowned expert on electromagnetic waves who served on the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science for nearly 40 years, died unexpectedly this week of complications from pneumonia. He was 65.
Kong, who joined the MIT faculty in 1969, was the leader of the Research Laboratory for Electronics (RLE) Center for Electromagnetic Theory and Applications. Over the years, he also served as a consultant to the New York Port Authority, Raytheon, Hughes Aircraft, Lockheed Missiles and Space, and MIT's Lincoln Lab. He also served as a visiting scientist at the Lunar Science Institute in Houston, a visiting professor at the University of Houston, and a high-level consultant to the United Nations. He has published more than 30 books on electromagnetics and more than 700 research papers and book chapters.
Kong earned international acclaim for his work in electromagnetic wave propagation, radiation, and scattering, and their applications in microwave remote sensing, geophysical exploration, and electromagnetic transmission and coupling in microelectronic integrated circuits.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Nantes, France in 2006. At that time, RLE Director Jeffrey H. Shapiro, Julius A. Stratton Professor of Electrical Engineering, said, "Professor Kong has been one of the world leaders in his field for decades, and continues to make fundamental contributions and advances in electromagnetic theory and applications. In addition, he has a remarkable degree of commitment to the enterprise of scholarship worldwide, and to promoting excellence at MIT and beyond."
Kong was born Dec. 27, 1942, in Kiangsu, China. He received a BS in 1962 from the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan, and an MS in 1962 from the National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu, Taiwan. He came to the United States in 1965 and obtained a PhD from Syracuse University, where he continued as a postdoctoral research engineer until 1969.
Kong passed away early Wednesday morning, March 13. He had been in the hospital only a few days and his death was unexpected. He was surrounded by his family at the time.
There will be a public memorial service celebrating his life and accomplishments; details are being worked out.
The MIT News Office will update this page as more information becomes available.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 19, 2008 (download PDF).