Photo of T. Y. Lin

T. Y. Lin

  • National Medal of Science
  • Engineering

For his work as an engineer, teacher and author whose scientific analyses, technological innovation, and visionary designs have spanned the gulf not only between science and art, but also between technology and society.

He was a pioneer in the world of building. T.Y. Lin’s innovative research in the field of construction materials is credited with making it possible for today’s long-span bridges and skyscrapers strong enough to withstand heavy loads, hurricanes and earthquakes.

Lin’s research perfected pre-stressed concrete and introduced it to the United States, taking steel reinforced concrete to the next level. The process involves stretching the steel and compressing the concrete in the manufacturing phase, strengthening the building material to be more durable.

Lin’s work can be seen around the world from Venezuela’s National Racetrack to San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center, which housed the largest underground room, at the time it was built in 1982.

He is as well known for pre-stressed concrete as he is for his theories and grand plans for the massive structures. Lin pitched a bridge to President Ronald Regan between Alaska and Russian, across the Bering Strait to connect the global powers with a symbol of peace following the Cold War. He also crafted plans for a 9-mile bridge across the Strait of Gibraltar to connect Spain and Morocco.

By Christine Ayala