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A Prolific Innovator was Inspired by the Visionary Professor James D. Meindl

NICKY LU WITH BILL BOWHILL & JOHN LONG 3

Nicky Lu, Ph.D., received his B.S. in electrical engineering from National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, CA, USA, and eventually became a Professor James D. Meindl student. His experience and relationship with Meindl would impact his future career and subsequent philanthropic giving. Nicky supports the IEEE SSCS- James D. Meindl Memorial Educational Fund.

The Meindl Memorial Educational Fund was established to honor his integrative approach to education, celebrate students, and the inclusion of developing early career innovators. The Fund recognizes and encourages the future leaders of the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society and seeks to increase excitement about the solid-state circuits profession amongst young people.

“The first time I met Professor Meindl, I went to his office asking if he could mentor me as his future Ph.D. student,”

Nicky Lu

Professor Meindl had already reviewed Nicky’s records and felt his recommendation letter from Simon Min Sze made him a strong candidate. He then proceeded to pull out a photograph of himself with the president of Taiwan and the Republic of China, explaining to Nicky that “I’ve been to your country, and if you are one of the selected students from your university, I would love for you to take my course and begin your research.”

Nicky shares that what he remembers most about Meindl was his visionary farsightedness. Meindl correctly predicted that Nicky would learn semiconductor integrated circuits and eventually return to Taiwan to make significant contributions. He predicted Taiwan would one day become very important in developing silicon technology. And that is precisely what happened!

Nicky has dedicated his career to worldwide I.C. design and the semiconductor industry. He has been the founder and CEO of Etron Technology, Inc. since 1991 and has co-founded several other high-tech companies, such as Global Unichip Corp. and Ardentec Corp., which are now public in Taiwan. In the early 1990s, as a co-architect leading the 8″ wafer and DRAM technology development success for Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, he was awarded the National Medal of Excellence in Science and Technology by the Premier of the Republic of China.

“With Meindl’s training, I not only pioneered the technology of the 8″ wafer for IBM — the world’s first — but I also redesigned another 8″ wafer for Taiwan,” explains Nicky. “I am proud that it’s new, so they don’t have to pay a license fee.”

While Nicky met Professor Meindl more than 40 years ago, he insists his life continues to be influenced by him. Nicky’s ongoing innovations have led him to obtain over 40 granted and 18 pending U.S. patents, and he has published 60 technical papers. He attributes his success and entrepreneurial mindset to Professor Meindl’s constant encouragement of his students’ curiosity. This motivation would even come across in class when Professor Meindl would share essential information with students and then begin to pose questions to them to encourage their comments and opinions.

“So, when fellow IEEE Foundation donor Levy Gerzberg told me he wanted to start this fund to remember Professor Meindl,” shares Nicky, “of course I am going to contribute! I would be contributing funds I earned due to his guidance. I like that the Fund is focused on developing more opportunities for students, researchers, and entrepreneurial leaders – that’s what Meindl set out to do with his career. It is a fitting way to honor his memory.”

With many of Professor Meindl’s past students, like Nicky and Levy, giving to the Fund, it continues to grow. Nicky encourages others to join them and help perpetuate the longevity of Professor Meindl’s unique impact on future generations. 

Please donate today and support projects that have a real-world effect on the industry and humanity.

PHOTO: Nicky Lu is receiving his IEEE Heritage Circle recognition certificate, pictured with Bill Bowhill, 2024 IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society President and John Long, IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society Immediate Past President.

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