UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering

New Award and Symposium Commemorate Professor Emeritus H. H. Wieder

Harry Wieder and Bill Chang
L-R: Herman "Harry" Wieder and colleague Bill Chang, who helped shape the electrical engineering and computer science departments at UC San Diego.

San Diego, Calif., July 23, 2019 -- A new award and symposium established through the UC San Diego Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering honor the late Herman “Harry” Wieder, professor emeritus of Applied Physics at UC San Diego. An expert in solid-state electronics, quantum wells and superlattice materials and devices, Wieder was a leader in his field and created a lasting legacy by mentoring the next generation of scientists.

“Our family hopes that by establishing this award, deserving students who maybe can’t afford that expense will be able to pursue their degree,” said Daniel Wieder, Wieder’s son. He and his brothers, and their families worked with the electrical and computer engineering department at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering to establish the award in their father’s memory.

The Harry Wieder Electronic Materials Excellence Award is an endowed scholarship that offers financial support to current graduate students specializing in Electronic Devices and Materials, Materials Science and Nanoscale Devices and Systems. Students need at least a 3.5 GPA and a strong history of academic and research excellence to be nominated. The Wieder Symposium will take place on August 16, 2019 in the Atkinson Hall auditorium at UC San Diego. Dan Wieder says its goal is to open a space for his father’s colleagues and mentees to share memories of him, and to highlight his contributions to research.

“Our hope is that both the award and the symposium will not only help us remember Dr. Wieder and his achievements, but that they will also inspire young people to continue in his footsteps,” said UC San Diego Professor Bill Lin, Chair of the electrical and computer engineering department.

Biography

Harry Wieder
Herman "Harry" Wieder in his office at UC San Diego

A native of Bistrita, Romania, Wieder immigrated to the United States in 1937 and served as an Army staff sergeant and field radio operator during World War II. Under the command of General George S. Patton, one of U.S. history’s most famous field commanders, Wieder translated French and German and instructed Allied soldiers in the use of radios.

Following the war, Wieder went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics from UC Los Angeles in 1949 and an honorary doctorate in Physics from Colorado State University 30 years later. Between earning his degrees and securing his professorship at UC San Diego, Wieder held leadership positions with the U.S. Navy, heading teams in physics and electronic materials laboratories in San Diego. He joined UC San Diego in 1981 as a professor of Applied Physics in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

A Lasting Legacy

In a fitting turn of events, the award will now foster advancements in Wieder’s field and continue his legacy of guiding younger generations of researchers. His students remembered him as a patient mentor, one who, according to his son and daughter-in-law, had a special passion for helping women succeed in science. Rachel Goldman, a former student and current professor at the University of Michigan, recalls that Wieder’s dedication to his mentees was one of the reasons she wanted to work with him.

“We feel good knowing that Harry’s legacy will live on through current and future students at UC San Diego, even if they never had the chance to know him personally,” said Wieder’s daughter-in-law, Becky Wieder.  

“Often we don’t fully understand the impact someone has had in life until they are gone,” said Dan Wieder. “We’ve heard from so many of our father’s colleagues, students and friends who’ve told us how much he meant to them and how much he influenced their lives. We hope the award and symposium will perpetuate that wonderful legacy.”

To contribute to the Harry Wieder Electronic Materials Excellence Award, please contact Mike Helé, Associate Director of Development at the Jacobs School of Engineering, at mhele@eng.ucsd.edu.

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