Lee C. Teng


Last updated 7/6/2022 at 3:13pm | View PDF

Lee Chang-Li Teng, a theoretical physicist involved in many particle-accelerator-based projects around the globe, passed away peacefully in hospice care June 24, 2022. He was 95.

He was born in Beijing, China, in 1926 and was a 48-year resident of Hinsdale.

Lee received his bachelor's in physics from the Fu-Jen University in Beijing in 1946. After emigrating to the United States in 1947, he received his master's and Ph.D., also in physics, from the University of Chicago in 1948 and 1951, respectively. He was the Ph.D. student of Gregor Wentzel and the title of his dissertation was "Polarization of Vector Mesons Produced in Nucleon-Nucleon Collisions." He worked for Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi, who was also on his dissertation committee.

He held academic positions at the University of Minnesota and at Wichita State University. He was recruited to Argonne National Laboratory and subsequently to Fermilab, where he held an array of scientific leadership positions. During this time, he also was the inaugural director of Taiwan's Synchrotron Radiation Research Center. He contributed to the design, operation and upgrades of many particle accelerators for science including the zero-gradient synchrotron at Argonne, entire accelerator complex at Fermilab, the Taiwan Synchrotron and the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne. He also designed and helped deliver to Loma Linda the first proton therapy machine in the United States, which has helped many patients battle and overcome cancer.

He also mentored early career individuals and was always interested in educating his co-workers at all levels of training in particle accelerators. He gave lectures to Argonne staff as well as at the U.S. Particle Accelerator School. He was recognized by his colleagues and received the designation of American Physical Society Fellow in 1957 and the Robert Wilson Prize of the American Physical Society in 2007. Wilson was a close colleague to Lee and the principal architect of Fermilab.

He provided caringly for his wife and son and lovingly welcomed his daughter-in-law and granddaughter into the family. He loved the rest of his extended family and treated all of them as if they were his own. He also welcomed his colleagues and other friends as his extended family. His smile was contagious, which made it easy for him to make and keep friends as well as work globally.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Nancy Lai-Shen, nee Huang; his son, Dr. Michael (Kim) Teng; his granddaughter, Isabella Teng; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Tsuy-Ying Teng and Chien-Min (nee Ho) Teng; his brothers, Chien-Fei Teng, Chien-Chung Teng, George Chang-Ming Teng and Cesar Chang-Kuo Teng ,; his sisters, Phyllis Shu-Yuen (nee Teng) Chu and Lily Shu-Chiang (nee Teng) Shu; and his in-laws, Chi-lu and Jing-fen (nee Chang) Huang.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 9, at the Chinese Christian Mandarin Church, 9S565 Clarendon Hills Road, Willowbrook.

Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made online to St. Jude at https://www.stjude.org, Feeding America at https://www.feedingamerica.org or the American Physical Society at https://www.aps.org.


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