On this momentous occasion of Y. C. Fung's centennial birthday, I send my very best wishes for his good health and well-being and thank him for being a consummate teacher, a distinguished scholar, a brilliant researcher, a quintessential leader, a visionary role model, and more personally, a revered mentor, a generous colleague, and a loving friend.
We have previously written in great detail on how Fung's writing and teaching has inspired and directly influenced our studies on the biomechanics of ligaments and tendons . Therefore, in response to the invitation by the guest editors, I requested and they consented for me to write in this special issue, a brief history of how Fung brought biomechanics to everyone's attention and transformed our field. Specifically, how he orchestrated the ASME Biomechanics Symposium, which began in 1973, and launched the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering as well in 1977.
In addition, Fung led a number of colleagues to spread and share the knowledge on biomechanics worldwide. He regularly included junior colleagues in these activities to inspire and to teach them how to do things properly. Starting in 1983, Fung organized the China–Japan–USA (and later Singapore) Conference on Biomechanics. In 1990, he initiated the World Congress of Biomechanics (WCB). Between the first and the second World Congress in 1994, Fung got the biomechanics leaders together and formed the World Council to run the WCB.
With the guest editors' permission and your indulgence, I would like to share the experience of how his students, friends, and colleagues would get together to celebrate his milestone birthdays with him. In doing so, the readers may learn about how much we, his admirers, respect and appreciate his generosity and his positive influence on our lives. Finally, I will give the readers a glance of my 48 years of personal interactions with Fung with the hope to show the true meaning of “a respected mentor and cherished friend!”
The objectives of this writing are to encourage readers, especially the younger readers, to learn how Fung has successfully inspired, taught, and guided junior colleagues, like me, on why, what, and how to make sustaining contributions to our profession. I have purposely included many names who were pioneers and leaders (and I apologize to those whose names that I may have inadvertently missed) who were influential in the growth and development of the field of biomechanics for the sole purpose that interested readers could follow them individually. Finally, I will use quotes, many from Fung's own writing throughout the text so that readers might enjoy, and more importantly, appreciate his beautiful words.
A Few Words About and From Fung
“Professor Y. C. ‘Bert’ Fung is a true genius. He is fascinated with matters of nature. With his thorough understanding of the laws of physics, and armed with his mastery of applied mechanics, he has solved many important and difficult problems in aeroelasticity and biomechanics. With his distinct and clear writing skills, he communicated and taught us for over 40 years in a manner that was easy for us to understand. And we have learned! During the 1995 Cellular Engineering Conference in La Jolla, many investigators had proudly given their reports on what they had observed on endothelial cell adaptation to its environment by following a change in the direction of blood flow. But Professor Fung lectured us on why the cell would have to change its shape as he calculated the necessary angles of incidence in the leading and trailing edges of the cell wall, based on applied mathematics and physiology. When reading his collected works, one will immediately discover that Professor Fung has explained to us the reasons for the biconcave shape of red cells, the needed sheet-flow phenomena for pulmonary alveolar microcirculation, the importance of strain energy density function to describe the pseudoelasticity of living soft tissues, the appropriateness of the quasi-linear viscoelastic theory for soft tissues, and the basis for stress-dependent homeostasis, as well as the existence of residual stress in soft tissues, the importance of wave propagation theory to understand impact trauma to the chest wall – and so much more. All of these biomedical engineering problems are solved based on clear morphological and geometric characterizations, followed by appropriate application of applied mechanics theories and boundary conditions, such that reasonable solutions are achieved. His classic approach is best illustrated in his recent book entitled Biomechanics: Motion Flow, Stress, and Growth .”
In 1998, Fung received the Founders Award from the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. The following is an excerpt from his acceptance speech where he gave a brief history of himself and biomechanics:
“I would like to say a few words about my field, biomechanics, how I got there, as well as my perspective today. I spent the first twenty-four years of my working life first in China, then in the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. My early research was on the dynamics of the airplane in turbulent weather. Combining solid mechanics with fluid mechanics, we call that kind of study the theory of aeroelasticity. Later, I focused on aircraft and spaceship safety, performance and design. In 1958, however, I took a sabbatical leave from Caltech with a Guggenheim Fellowship and went to Germany. There I had time to think about problems other than aeronautics. I become interested in the mechanics of the eye because my mother was suffering from glaucoma. I studied the medical literature, but found it avoids mechanics. Gradually, I was convinced that the understanding of the function of our bodies could be improved if the roles played by forces and motion and stress and strain were analyzed as thoroughly as we do for airplanes.
Upon returning to Caltech, I began to work on blood cells, blood vessels, and microcirculation. At that time, there was a mystery in physiology. Our smallest blood vessels with walls of thickness about one-tenth of our hair was found to be the most rigid of all blood vessels. I, together with (Ben) Zweifach and (Marcos) Intaglietta, solved the mystery by pointing out that the surrounding tissues support these vessels. From this came Fung's tunnel theory of the smallest blood vessels. In the meantime, I predicted that the smallest blood vessels in the lung are the softest of all blood vessels because they have no neighboring tissue to support them. That prediction turned out to be true also. Then I got a theory to explain why our red blood cells are so strong. Billions of these little cells circulate through our smallest blood vessels whose diameters are about the same as that of the cell. Imagine yourself swimming in a tunnel so tight that both of your shoulders touch the wall, and swimming fast unceasingly for 120 days! These little red blood cells survive such gruesome condition! What's the secret? I found the answer, it's their biconcave shape like a donut without a hole. This shape guarantees that the stress in their wall to be zero. So, the red cells have a geometrical design which guarantees stress free life. This reminds me of Taoism in China; the soft winds over the hard, feminism wins over machismo!
In 1965, I realized that if we know the structure and mechanical properties of the materials of a living organ, then by the principles of physics we should be able to predict the functions of that organ. This was a vision I was willing to work for. I decided to give up my first love of aeronautics and resign my professorship at the California Institute of Technology. This decision was very difficult for me because I loved that institution. But I had fallen in love with biomechanics. In 1966, I left Caltech and moved to the University of California, San Diego to initiate a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. program on Bioengineering. On research, I decided to clarify the blood circulation in the lung. I formulated a sheet-flow theory. To fill in all the experimental details, I worked with my friends Sid Sobin and Mike Yen and many students on the anatomy, histology, microscopy, design and construction of new instruments, testing, theorizing and calculating. We finished the first round of the lung work in 12 years. It was a fun filled period. We found new things right and left. All together, we published about 100 papers on the lung, each clarifying a piece of the puzzle. Toward the end, all ad hoc hypotheses were removed, our sheet-flow theory was established, and the agreement between theory and experiment was gratifying.
Following the lung work, we looked into the heart, the intestines, the ureter, the tissue remodeling under stress, the problem of high blood pressure, etc. The field is so rich that in every direction we looked there were interesting fruits to be picked. But the most remarkable thing is that the whole field is now in full bloom. What was vision to me earlier is now a common sense. Now the field has many, many experts, working on many, many fronts. The scouting boats have been replaced by big ships. The water level is very high; and the explorers are diving to great depth. A field which was dominated by continuum mechanics before is now working on molecular mechanics. Nevertheless, the aim of biomechanics remains the same. The aim is to clarify the role of forces in relating structure to function in biology.
Thus, molecular biomechanics connects the molecular structure to molecular function. The cell membrane biomechanics connects the membrane structure to the membrane functions. Similarly, cell biomechanics links cell structure to cell function, tissue biomechanics links tissue structure to tissue function, organ biomechanics connects organ structure to organ function, whole body mechanics links up body structure to body function. Hence, biomechanics is the middle name of biological structure and function. Bioengineers use these mechanics to invent ways to help the biologists, the physicians, and the patients.
But becoming important is not the whole story. To me and many of my colleagues, the factors of personal interest and satisfaction are significant. Perhaps because the field of bioengineering is so large, and its maturity is still far away, it is easy to feel that you are still a pioneer making personal discoveries. I am sure that the sum total of our effort will benefit mankind. Thank you, very much.”
Biomechanics Symposium and Journal of Biomechanical Engineering
At the beginning of the 1970s, Fung together with John Brighton wanted to create “a forum which is devoted principally to the mechanics aspect of bioengineering.” Since both the fluids engineering (FED) and applied mechanics (AMD) Divisions of ASME also had strong interests in biomechanics, it presented a great opportunity to unify and coordinate these activities within the ASME as well as to bring together other “sister societies in engineering, biology, and medicine” with interests in biomechanics.
I was thrilled when Fung asked me to join him as a member of the Organizing Committee in 1972—only 2 years after I arrived at UCSD to begin my academic career. I helped him to select members for the Committee (Fred B. Gessner, Albert S. Kobayashi, Y. King Liu, Winfred M. Phillips, Richard Skalak, Charles Smith, Jr., David Wieting, and Wen-Jei Yang) to plan the program as well as to select papers for the inaugural Biomechanics Symposium, which took place at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia on June 20–22, 1973.
The symposium entitled “Properties of Biological Fluids and Solids: Mechanics of Tissues and Organs” was co-sponsored by the AMD and FED. There were 15 papers on Properties of Biological Fluids and Solids, seven on Mechanics and Physiology of Organs, seven on Flow of Biological Fluids, eight on Mechanics of Bones, and three on Analysis and Measurements of Natural and Artificial Organs (Fig. 1(a)).
Fung immediately transferred the leadership to Skalak who invited Robert Nerem and Albert Schultz to be the co-chairs for the following two biennial symposia that took place at Rensselaer Polytechnic University (1975) and Yale University (1977), respectively. Skalak then passed the chairmanship to William VanBuskirk, who chaired the 1979 symposium at the State University of New York (SUNY) (Fig. 1(b)).
During our inaugural gathering in 1973, a Joint Biomechanics Committee was formed to run the Biomechanics Symposium. Skalak asked me to be the Secretary. I served in that position until 1979 when I became its co-chair (1979–1983). All of these would not have happened without Fung, who gave me the opportunity to serve and showed me his vision, leadership, and diligence to ensure things got done and done correctly. His trust in (or risk-taking on) his junior colleague with little or no experience was certainly unconventional; but, on the other hand, it helped to jumpstart my academic career. I have since passed on what I have observed, learned, and absorbed and also the importance to serve our profession to my students and junior colleagues for the past 46 years.
It is also worth mentioning that, during the early years, there was only a small amount of reserve funds in the Bioengineering (formerly, the Human Factor) Division (BED) to support any divisional activities. As such, the venue for the symposia would need to be at a University. Most attendees would stay in the dormitories with no air-conditioning (in June!) and sleep in beds with rather deformed mattresses. It was rather uncomfortable for many senior faculty members. Still, the symposia were well attended, presenters were enthusiastic, and discussions were with high energy; even though the sessions would last from morning until after well after sunset.
Fast forward to the 1990s, the new leadership of the BED came up with a novel solution to solve BED's poor financial situation. They had successfully brokered with ASME to run this meeting independently and renamed it as the Summer Bioengineering Conference (SBC). In addition, the Site-Selection Committee chose beautiful locations for the SBC to attract family members to join the delegates. The Program Committee changed the meeting schedule to allow for more free time for family and other activities. As a result, SBC has become highly successful in every way! The new agreement also allowed BED to recover a much larger percentage of the meeting income to support other creative projects. With increased participation came stronger demand for the scientific program, so the BED leadership increased the frequency of the SBC to meet annually. A few years ago, it further expanded its scope and the conference was once again renamed as the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference (SB3C). It is now the most looked forward to attend conference by many of us!
As soon as the biennial Biomechanics Symposium was launched, Fung and Brighton were hard at work to start a new ASME Transaction. There were a number of meetings held to discuss its scope as well as other procedural and logistical matters. Many junior faculty members, like myself, were invited to attend and learn. Once the decision was made, delicate negotiations were conducted by Brighton and Fung with AMD and FED as well as the Policy Board on Communication and the Editorial Staff of ASME. The result was a new ASME Transaction: the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering (JBME). The first issue was in February of 1977 with Brighton as the Technical Editor . Also, to align with the other ASME Transactions, the JBME started as Volume 99 for its first year.
“The objective of the Journal is to serve as an excellent forum for the literature in Bioengineering. The scope of the Journal will reflect both the interest in the Bioengineering community and the competency of the Editorial Board.
Bioengineering is very much device and application oriented. This will also be reflected in the Journal. Also, Bioengineering is equally concerned with seeking new understanding of the behavior of living systems. Thus, the Journal will include topics ondesignof new devices,researchfor establishing fundamental system behavior,applicationof known methods to new concerns in the field of health care, andsimulationof systems to obtain a better understanding of system behavior.
We have divided the topics for review purposes into the following categories:
Artificial Organs and Prostheses Solid Mechanics
Controls and Instrumentation Design
Heat and Mass Transfer Materials
Fluid Mechanics Health Care
The Editorial Board is made up of the Associate Editors of the Journal. They are the policy-making body of the Journal. They…essentially make the decisions for or against publication.
The Associate Editors of the Journal are among the most outstanding engineers, researchers and educators in bioengineering….
The following is a list of the Associate Editors:
Perry L. Blackshear (Artificial Organs and Prostheses)
John C. Chato (Heat and Mass Transfer)
Philip A. Drinker (Health Care)
Richard J. Forstrom (Fluid Mechanics)
Y. C. (Bert) Fung (Solid Mechanics)
Seth Goldstein (Controls and Instrumentation)
Thomas J. Love (Heat and Mass Transfer)
Robert W. Mann (Design)
Robert E. Mates (Review Papers)
James H. McElhaney (Materials)
Robert M. Nerem (Fluid Mechanics)
Winfred M. Phillips (Editor at Large)
Albert B. Schultz (Solid Mechanics)
Richard Skalak (Fluid Mechanics)
Charles R. Smith, Jr. (Editor at Large)
David W. Wieting (Artificial Organs and Prostheses)”
In 1980, Fung took over as the Technical Editor and he added Michael M. Chen, Edward S. Grood, Van C. Mow, Sidney S. Sobin, and Savio L-Y. Woo as new Associate Editors.
I have taken the liberty to list the names of all early Associate Editors of JBME for the benefit of younger readers who may wish to learn more about these pioneers in the field of Bioengineering. I am also quite pleased that the established tradition/principle/procedure on review and acceptance of manuscripts has largely been kept intact by all the subsequent Technical Editors for JBME until this day!
China–Japan–USA (Singapore) Conference on Biomechanics and the World Congress of Biomechanics
After President Nixon's historic visit to China in 1972, Fung, together with his wife Luna, was invited to China the following year—after an absence of 28 years from their homeland. Following that trip, a number of well-known Chinese scholars in the mechanics area came to UCSD to study Biomechanics under Fung and to work with his students and staff. Among them were Zhemin Zheng, Zhenhuang Kang, Zulai Tao, Yunpeng Wu, Gongrui Wang, Junjian Wang, Fengyuan Zhuang, Zonglai Jiang, Shu Q. Liu, and many more. Meanwhile, Fung was invited to China to lecture and to interact with many others with major interests in mechanics and biomechanics. These stimulating activities led him to think about the need for the exchange of knowledge on biomechanics between the U.S. and China. But, to do this, he needed a new platform.
It was at a dinner gathering at the 1979 Biomechanics Symposium that Fung introduced the idea of forming the U.S. National Committee on Biomechanics (USNCB). Then on June 21, 1981, Fung, Grood, T. K. Hung, Mates, Nerem, Schultz, Skalak, and VanBuskirk gathered at the Biomechanics Symposium in Boulder, Colorado to further discuss the formation of the USNCB. Together, they decided that a National Committee should be established and formed an Organizing Committee with Fung as the Chair, Skalak as the Vice-Chair, and Nerem as the Secretary to spearhead this effort. They also created a list of other known individuals in biomechanics and invited them to participate. Many responded positively and came to the follow-up meetings held in Washington, D.C. on November 12, 1981 and in New Orleans on April 12, 1982. The minutes for those meetings read that one of the three main objectives for the USNCB was “to act in an advisory/coordinating/facilitating role in the formation of international meetings.”
With a grant funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and co-sponsorship from the (U.S.) Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), Fung led a U.S. delegation that included Woo, Nerem, Skalak, Sobin, Mow, J. Lawrence Katz, Sheldon Weinbaum, John G. Pinto, Ned H. C. Hwang, Jen-Shih Lee, Michael R. T. Yen, H. K. Chang, Edmund Y. S. Chao, George Lea, Ted Y. T. Wu, Hyland Chen, and Elizabeth R. Myers to the inaugural meeting of the China–Japan–USA Conference on Biomechanics (CJUS) held in Wuhan, China in 1983 (Fig. 2). The venue at the East Lake was serene and that environment was conducive for clear thinking and good discussion. Fung also gave a thought-provoking, stimulating plenary lecture, entitled “What Principle Governs the Stress Distribution in Living Organ?”
After the Wuhan meeting, a number of us joined the Fungs for a cruise down the Yangtze River to Anhui Province and then scaled the majestic Yellow Mountain on foot (Fig. 3).
Following the success of the first CJUS conference, Fung, again working through the USNCB, applied to the NSF's U.S.–Japan program to support the U.S. delegates for the second meeting to be held four years later in Japan (1987). The minutes of the April 13, 1986 USNCB meeting reflected that a list of 16 U.S. delegates who were nominated by its constituent societies were selected.
In 1995, the fourth Conference rotated back to China. Singapore was invited to join as the fourth country. Now the CJUSS Conference was held in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province (Fig. 4). In the conference Proceedings , Fung offered a history of this conference in his Foreword:
“Scientists and engineers love good meetings. You may have heard about what Confucius said 2400 years ago.
“When you learn and review frequently, isn't it a pleasure?”
“When friends come from afar, isn't it a real happiness?”
He explained our motivation for holding the International Conferences on Biomechanics very well. These meetings were organized by like-minded people in China, Japan, Singapore, and the United States of America. We found it useful and stimulating to talk about our work and our aspirations, and to make friends. We all have the experience that talking sharpens our thoughts, clarifies our details, and links our thoughts to a bigger picture. Often, a sudden enlightenment comes while you are talking or a new inspiration may arise. And the comments by others are very important, especially at an international conference attended by accomplished researchers.
The first China-Japan-USA Conference on Biomechanics was held in Wuhan, China on May 9-12, 1983, with Professors Huang Jiasi, Eiichi Fukada, and Yuan-Cheng Fung as chairmen, and Jun Jian Wang of the Huazhong University of Science and Technology as the chair of the Local Organizing Committee. The second Japan-USA-China Conference on Biomechanics was held on Sept. 28–Oct. 2, 1987 in Osaka, Japan. Professors Eiichi Fukada was the chairman, Takehiko Azuma, Y. C. Fung and Zhenhuang Kang were co-chairs, and Syoten Oka was the Honorary Chairman. The Local Committee was chaired by Professors Yasuyuki Seguchi and Kozaburo Hayashi of Osaka University, and Kiichi Tsuchiya of Waseda University. The third USA-China-Japan Conference on Biomechanics was held on Aug. 25-29, 1991, in Atlanta, Georgia on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, under the chairmanship of Professor Robert Nerem with the support of the United States National Committee on Biomechanics. The present Conference is the fourth one, held on May 21-27, 1995 in Taiyuan, China, with Singapore participating as the fourth member nation. The Fourth Conference was sponsored by the Chinese Society of Biomechanics, the Chinese Society of Biomedical Engineering, and the Taiyuan University of Technology. Professors Gui-tong Yang, Kozaburo Hayashi, Savio L-Y. Woo, and James C. H. Goh served as co-chairs, and Y. C. Fung was honored to be the Honorary Chairman. The Local Organizing Committee was chaired by Gui-tong Yang, with Xue-jun Fan, Lin He, Yan-zhu Liu, Wang-yi Wu, and Wen-zhou Wu as members.
These conferences have fostered free exchange of scientific ideas and international cooperation. The volumes of the proceedings are visible evidences of the exchanges. The friendship generated by these meetings is not recorded, but is very real. Communication channels were opened not only among people from different countries, but often among fellow countrymen. Especially valuable is the continued international cooperation after the meeting. Such cooperation has a beneficial effect on furthering the development of our field.
It is interesting to read the programs of these four conferences. We see how topics change in the span of a dozen years. How some concepts barely mentioned at one time took center stage at a later time. How some other topics became mature and less discussed. These changing scenarios are reflections of contemporary thinking, hence are evidences of the usefulness of the conferences.
The relaxed friendly atmosphere of these meetings has been conducive to good scientific exchange. We stayed in a beautiful guest house along the East Lake in Wuhan during the First Conference. We nestled in the Jurin Hall in Senri Hankyu Hotel in the beautiful foothills of Osaka during the Second Conference. In both Japan and China we visited historical monuments and scenic spots. At the Third Conference we used Georgia Tech's auditorium in the Weber Space Science Building for paper presentations, and nearby scenic spots for continued discussions: in the Jimmy Carter Library, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, and the Antebellum Plantation. The Fourth Conference is held in Taiyuan and Wu Tai Mountain. Taiyuan is a Buddhist Mecca, a beautiful area north-north-east of Taiyuan, a lovely place to make discussions of international cooperation more memorable….”
Fung's influence on the development and growth on biomechanics in Asia has indeed been long lasting. The two recent publications clearly demonstrate that the field of biomechanics has continued to grow and mature there [10,11].
Fung further used the USNCB as a platform to launch the World Congress on Biomechanics (WCB). Discussion of the concept and communication with other societies, especially the International Society of Biomechanics began as early as July 8, 1984. On November 18, 1985, the USNCB appointed Fung to Chair a Steering Committee for the first WCB. By the next year, the Steering Committee was established with 44 members from 21 countries:
Georgi Brankov, Bulgaria;Robert M. Nerem, Atlanta, GA
Franz Burny, Belgium;Peter Niederer, Switzerland
Aurelio Capozzo, Italy;Benno M. Nigg, Canada
Colin Caro, UK; Robert W. K. Norman, Canada
Walter Chang, Taipei, China; Giovanni Pallotti, Italy
Shu Chien, La Jolla, CA;John P. Paul, Scotland
John D.C. Crisp, Australia;Timothy J. Pedley, UK
Pascal S. Christel, France;Stephan M. Perren, Switzerland
Leo Dintenfass, Australia;Gunter Rau, West Germany
Roger M. Enoka, Robert S. Reneman,
Tucson, AZ; The Netherlands
Eiichi Fukada, Tokyo, Japan; Helmut Reul, West Germany
Kozaburo Hayashi, Erich Schneider,
Hokkaido, Japan; Switzerland
Yukihide Isogai, Tokyo, Japan;Yasuyuki Seguchi, Japan
Rik Huiskes, The Netherlands;Megha Singh, India
Ivan Hvid, Denmark;Richard Skalak, La Jolla, CA
Michel Jaffrin, France; Jean-Francois Stoltz, France
Zhen-Huang Kang,Jaroslav Valenta,
Chengdu, China; Czechoslovakia
Ivar Knets, Riga, USSR;Andrus Viidik, Denmark
Egon Krause, West Germany; Peter S. Walker, UK
Yoram Lanir, Israel;Savio L-Y. Woo, Pittsburgh, PA
Van C. Mow, New York; Wen Jei Yang, Ann Arbor, MI
Alf L. Nachemson, Sweden;Y. C. Fung, La Jolla, CA (Chair)
Members of this Committee also approved the first WCB to be held at the UCSD campus in La Jolla, California from August 31 to September 4, 1990. They also appointed Shu Chien and Richard Skalak as the Co-Chairmen of this Congress as well as the Local Committee, Geert Schmid-Schöenbein as the Secretary General, Andrew McCullough as the Treasurer, and I was the Chairman of the Program Committee. During the first WCB, the Committee met and selected Amsterdam as the location for the second WCB in 1994. Colin Caro, Rik Huiskes, and Michel Jaffrin were elected as the Co-Chairmen and would be responsible for the organization of all the needed committees.
Below is an excerpt of Fung's Foreword for the first WCB:
“The initial concept of the World Congress was based on the recognition that many people in different professions are interested in biomechanics, and biomechanics thrives by their contributions. A biomechanicist may be a physicist, a lawyer, a physiologist, a psychologist, a sociologist, a statistician, a surgeon, a chemist, a biologist, a dentist, an educator, a historian, or an engineer specialized in aeronautical, agricultural, chemical, computer, design, electrical, fluid mechanics, materials, mechanical, ocean, pharmaceutical, quality, safety, solid mechanics, sports or system engineering. They go to meetings of their own Societies, but they would also enjoy meeting in a World Congress to congregate with colleagues who normally go to other meetings. Our field is truly interdisciplinary, our participants spread overall the world.
This is the first time biomechanicists meet together under the banner of a World Congress. Now is the time for all of us to consider the question of how best to advance our interdisciplinary field in the future. How to improve the communications among biomechanicists of the world? This is the time for us to decide upon basic principles and broad outlines for future Congresses.”
More than 1200 abstracts were received. The Bioengineering family at UCSD worked together to review and select the abstracts. Fung and Chien personally edited a number of abstracts from countries where English was not their first language. In the end, the 5-day scientific program had 10 concurrent sessions plus three poster display sessions (Fig. 5). Well over 1000 delegates attended the Congress and brought so much new knowledge, different ways of thinking, and excitement to our field!
The Steering Committee took another important step at the first WCB. Members voted unanimously to create a more permanent world organization for biomechanics by reconstituting the Steering Committee as a World Council for Biomechanics. Fung was elected as the Chair, Gunter Rau as the Vice Chair, and Kozaburo Hayashi as the Secretary. Further, the membership of the World Council was enlarged to include representatives from other major Societies and all known National Committees for Biomechanics. Also, the major responsibility of the World Council would be to make sure that all future WCB meetings would be inclusive and carry the same collaborative and cooperative spirits as the first WCB. Thanks to all the great work of the leadership, the excitement and enthusiasm have sustained it. At the eighth WCB in Dublin, Ireland in July 2018, well over 4000 delegates from all over the world attended. Indeed, Biomechanics, thanks to Fung's vision and leadership, is now a truly visible and viable discipline!
Celebrating Fung's Milestone Birthdays
A number of Fung's followers and admirers have been involved in the planning of his milestone birthday celebrations and many came and joined these events. On each occasion, everyone found the gathering meaningful and joyous and enjoyed spending time with their teacher and friend on his special day!
In July 1984, I, together with Geert Schmid-Schöenbein, Peter Chen, Michael Yen, Eugene Mead, Lew Waldman, Debra Yager, and others, organized a 3-day long event in La Jolla, California to honor Fung for his upcoming 65th birthday. The title of the symposium was “Frontiers in Applied Mechanics and Biomechanics.” Almost one hundred of his former students, close friends and colleagues came from around the world and his family (Luna, Conrad and Brenda) were there. All had a chance to give tribute and say superlative words about him. We also were able to verbally admire his many other talents—calligraphy, painting, and stone carving as well as having a “green thumb.” In addition, we thanked him for his guidance and mentorship as well as his friendship and advice. All were grateful to have had the opportunity (Fig. 6(a)).
Laudations also came from Fung's dearest friends, Chia-Shun Yih, Sid Sobin, Jain-Ming Wu, Ben Zweifach, Eric Reissner, and Zhemin Zheng.
Sobin wrote eloquently:
“How can one capture on a page the essence of an individual – his effervescence, vitality, laugh and spontaneity, that counterpoise with intellectuality, introspection, intuition, creativity and so much more; yet cloaked with nobility, humanness, humility, generosity and integrity, that he provides inspiration to so many, and even awe at the accomplishments….”
Another very good outcome of this event was the establishment of an ASME/BED award in Fung's honor. Since many students and staff volunteered their efforts for this successful event, there were funds remaining that could be put to good use. We knew that the leadership of the ASME/BED had been talking about establishing a Y. C. Fung Young Investigator Award; but unfortunately, did not have the funds to support it. With the permission of the Executive Committee of BED, I was charged with the duty to explore and negotiate with the ASME office. Finally, I received their permission to fund this award as a Divisional award. Then, I asked Peter Chen, the Treasurer of the Frontiers Symposium, to issue a $5000 check to ASME to kick-start this award. The first award was given 2 years later in 1986. With subsequent efforts made by many and with additional funding from the BED, the award was eventually elevated to a societal award with a medal in 1999 (Fig. 6(b)). Eighteen years later in 2017, it was renamed the Y. C. Fung Early Career Award.
In 1989, Fung celebrated his 70th birthday with his family, good friends, and colleagues in La Jolla. We took the opportunity to honor him as the person who coined the term “Tissue Engineering” (Fig. 7). We also heard Luna speaking these memorable words about the love of her life.
“He laughs frequently and heartily. He loves deeply. He loves his family. He loves his friends. He lives simply. He does not demand anything. He does not compete with anyone and never tries to keep up with the Joneses….”
Then, in June of 1999, we celebrated his 80th birthday at the SBC in Big Sky, Montana. A special Symposium was organized by Woo, Chien, Mow, and Rik Huiskes in his honor. Subjects covered included heart, soft tissues, bone, modeling, large vessels, small vessels as well as cells. At the banquet, over 400 of his admirers toasted Fung and Yen wheeled out a huge birthday cake as we sang the “Happy Birthday” song to him.
Sept. 5, 2004 was the day that students, fellows, and friends of Fung from UCSD and Caltech celebrated his 85th birthday at the Torrey Pines Hilton Hotel in La Jolla. In addition, Paul and Amy Sung, Frank Yin and Anthony Cheung were there to “reminisce about a half century of his enormous contributions to bioengineering, to congratulate him for his outstanding achievements, and to express our appreciation for his wonderful friendship and mentorship.”
On Sept. 14, 2008, Shu Chien together with Fung's family (including his three grandsons, Nick, Tony, and Michael) and friends led us in organizing a wonderful, two-day event in La Jolla to celebrate his 90th birthday (according to Chinese tradition, the age at birth is one). A book was published to commemorate this marvelous occasion  (Fig. 8). The Preface gave details of the event:
“The program started with a luncheon in the Engineering Courtyard in the University of California, San Diego, during which the participants from far and near were able to get together for a happy reunion, particularly with Dr. and Mrs. Fung. The International Symposium on Genomic Biomechanics: Frontier of the 21st Century was held, most appropriately, in the elegant Y. C. Fung Auditorium of the Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall. Following the welcome remarks by Geert Schmid-Schöenbein and Pin Tong, there were excellent presentations on topics related to biomechanics, the field created by Dr. Fung. A group picture was taken during the intermission. Following this most successful symposium, everyone gathered in the Jasmine Seafood Restaurant in San Diego for a wonderful banquet that was delicious and enjoyable, with Savio Woo giving a heartfelt speech on Dr. Fung, his respected mentor and cherished friend; everyone could resonate with that.
We wish to thank Dr. K. K. Phua of the Word Scientific Publishing Co., Ltd. (WSPC) in Singapore for making the wonderful suggestion of publishing a book to commemorate this joyful event. WSPC has published several of Dr. Fung's books, including the two volumes of Dr. Fung's Selected Works on Biomechanics & Aeroelasticity (close to 2000 pages). We wish to express our appreciation to all our colleagues who have contributed to this book, which will be a most fitting gift to Dr. Fung on September 15, 2009, his 90th Birthday, according to the Western Calendar. With his book, all of Dr. Fung's friends and students wish to send their warmest wishes to him and Mrs. Fung for a wonderful 90th Birthday. We all look forward to the celebration of their 100th Birthday!”
There were 37 chapters in this book including a special contribution by Conrad and Brenda Fung. Earlier, another book, edited by Tong and Atluri , was also published to celebrate Fung's 90th birthday. Interested readers are encouraged to read both books in order to gain a broader perspective of Fung's lifelong contributions to the field.
Conrad and Brenda Fung invited many good friends to UCSD on October 19, 2014 to celebrate a special “95 + 92 + 65 party” (birthdays for Fung and Luna and their anniversary, respectively). It was on a sunny afternoon full of greetings, joyous conversation, and laughter.
Again, on November 10, 2018, Conrad and Brenda Fung gathered us together at UCSD to celebrate Fung's 100th birthday (by Chinese tradition). It was great to see that Fung rose to the occasion as he enjoyed spending the afternoon laughing together with his close friends and colleagues, like Ted Wu, Shao-Chi and Lily Lin, and his many admirers and well-wishers! A special issue of the Journal of Medical Biomechanics entitled “In Celebration of Dr. Fung's 100th Birthday” edited by Zonglai Zhang was published in July 2018, just ahead of the party .
There will be an official 3-day event (September 21–23, 2019) to be held at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego to celebrate Fung's Centennial Birthday—ICBME International Conference on Biomechanics and Medical Engineering (ICBME 2019), Yuan-Cheng Fung 100th Birthday Celebration. I am sure that it is going to be a wonderful event that no one would want to miss.
A Respected Mentor and Cherished Friend
My decades of association and close friendship with Fung have not only benefited my academic career, but more importantly, guided me to become a better person. Thus, I would like to share a few short stories between us with the readers. Hopefully, after reading them, it will be easy to understand why I and many others have respectfully called him our “respected mentor and cherished friend” and a 4G man.
Fung always had time for us and he gave needed advice from his wealth of experience and clear perception on a wide range of subject matters.
In May of 1970, I was interviewed by Fung for a position at UCSD. Fung was extremely generous with his knowledge and time and educated me about the University of California system and academia, in general. It was truly a remarkable experience! Those of you who have had the good fortune of knowing Fung would also know that he has been that way with everybody. Following that meeting, and for an additional 20 years, we worked mostly in the same Basic Science Building. On countless occasions, he not only taught me biomechanics, but also counseled me on difficult matters involving colleagues and students. Our friendship grew! Every Monday morning, I would begin to look forward to our regularly scheduled, private lunch together on Friday.
Fung always teaches us to do our work/research properly.
obtain mechanical properties of materials;
apply fundamental laws of physics;
use meaningful boundary conditions;
solve boundary-value problems;
perform physiological experiments to test solutions;
do validation; and
employ theory to predict the outcome of other conditions.
Many of us have followed these steps in our work and have passed his teaching on to all of our students. In recent years, perhaps only some of these steps have been followed since our research topics have become more descriptive, conceptual, and discovery in nature. Still, I suspect that, soon, we will reach the stage of quantitative analysis on structure and function relationships. Then, these important steps will need to be front and center.
Fung always encourages us and makes us feel important by praising us lavishly—even though we have not earned it.
Between 1989 and 1990, I was contemplating leaving UCSD for the University of Pittsburgh. And of course, like many others, I sought his advice from the very beginning. At first, he did not think that I should move. But, with more meetings at his office and in his home, he decided that it was indeed a great opportunity for me to pursue my dreams and gave me his full support. He even guided me through the negotiation process. In the end, he lovingly confessed that, initially, he just did not want to see me leave La Jolla—and that really warmed my heart!
On Aug. 5, 1990, Fung and many friends in the Department of Bioengineering at UCSD organized a farewell luncheon for my family. There, he gave me a copy of his new book, Biomechanics: Motion, Flow Stress and Growth . On the inside cover, he wrote an inspiring inscription:
“Dear Savio … I know your first paper: Your thesis. It was on cornea and sclera. It was the first paper in Biomechanics which treated pressure in an incompressible material correctly. Should chances and opportunities be different, you might have been an ophthalmologist ….”
He also added some advice:
“…As an older brother, I like to give you three parting advices: Slow down to enjoy, detach to preserve perspectives, and take care of your health always. Love, Y.C. Fung.”
I have treasured these lines for over 28 autumns, and every time, I read these cogent words of wisdom, my eyes well up.
Fung really cares about us in words and in action. He is indeed a cherished friend.
On a clear and beautiful day in September of 1999, my wife and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary at beautiful Laguna Beach in Southern California. Fung and Luna joined us! As we walked backward up the hill from the beach to the hotel, he observed and wrote these poetic and memorable words:
“The sky and the sea had the same shades of blue. The white crests of the waves sparkled over the sea like frolicsome gulls. The sun was warm, and the breeze was cool. We backed up the hill from the water's edge, with our eyes looking at the ocean, and using muscles I normally do not use. Our vista increased with our steps, Our well-being melted into the grandeur of the Pacific.”
In 2011, in the tribute book for my 70th birthday , Fung and Luna kindly wrote
“To Dear Savio, it has been such a joy to be your friend and colleague for such a long time—a combined 82 years if we count in both directions—and to see your career and family blossom.
Our scientific discoveries during our long collaboration, and your pioneering work in the years since, have accumulated to an extraordinary contribution to humanity. Each discovery, and each interaction, has been personally satisfying.
The personal connection is most precious. How rare is the chance to combine work and friendship, so deeply, and for so long! We have been blessed with more than our share of harmony and opportunities. Living close by for 20 years enabled our families to become fast friends, and bioengineering conference organizers pick such great venues that our community has remained close for decades since.”
I have had the distinct honor, privilege, and pleasure to introduce Y. C. Fung at conferences and ceremonies as well as to write special articles about him on a number of occasions. However, I confess that in spite of my best efforts, my remarks and writings have not been able to come close to the man that he is. The difficulty has always been to find the right words to adequately describe this brilliant teacher who possesses superior knowledge, great understanding of culture, and above all, humility!
It is, therefore, my sincere hope that on the occasion of celebrating his 100th birthday, my manuscript, together with efforts by many other authors in this special commemorative issue, have conveyed a much more complete picture of Fung's genius in addition to his gentle, genuine, and generous manner of helping and guiding others. And as a result, all of us would want to challenge ourselves to become better by immolating this 4G man who we respectfully called the “Father of Modern Biomechanics”!
The author would like to thank Dr. Peter C-Y. Chen and Dr. Michael R. T. Yen (both Ph.D. students and longtime associates of Fung) for reading and double checking the events described in this manuscript, Mrs. Diann DeCenzo, Dr. Brenda Fung, and Dr. Conrad Fung for editing, and Mrs. Pattie Woo for her beautiful photos.