S. Y. Lee

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S. Y. Lee (Shih-Ying Lee; Traditional Chinese: 李詩穎; born April 30, 1918[1]),[2] is an American inventor, engineer and physicist notable for his research and innovation in hydrodynamics-related technologies. Lee is also an entrepreneur and Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Lee was born in 1918 and grew up in Beiping (current Beijing), China.[2] Lee attended Tsinghua University in 1936, obtained his bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1940.[3] Lee worked as a teaching assistant at Tsinghua for nearly two years and went to study in the United States in 1942. Lee obtained his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1945.

After graduation, Lee soon taught engineering at MIT; and was promoted from teaching assistant to full professor and finally Professor Emeritus after his retirement.[4]

In 1985, Lee was elected Member of the United States National Academy of Engineering for his original research on control valve stability, for innovative dynamic measurement instrumentation, and for successful entrepreneurial commercialization of his inventions.[4] Lee has been granted many US patents.[5]

Lee is a notable businessman and founded or co-founded several companies specialized in process control and hydrodynamic instruments. Lee co-founded the Setra Systems Inc.[6] with his brother Y. T. Li and is the Chairman of the company.[4] A scholarship fund at Tsinghua is based on Lee's generous donation and named after him ("清華校友李詩穎勵學基金").[3]


  • An Autobiography — China to MIT to Setra Systems (2007; Lee's autobiography)
  • Home at Tsinghua (《家在清华》; by S.Y. Lee; April, 2008)
  1. ^ Lee, Shih Ying. "United States Public Records, 1970-2009". familysearch. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b 八十二岁的上班族——李诗颖(美国国家工程院院士)自述 (in Chinese). Tsinghua Admission. Retrieved Apr 24, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b 史际平:李诗颖教授的清华情 (in Chinese). Tsinghua Alumni Association. Retrieved Apr 24, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c "Dr. Shih-Ying Lee". United States National Academy of Engineering Membership Website membership dictionaries. Retrieved Dec 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Shih-Ying Lee, Yao-Tzu Li, Inventors US Patent 3859575". Patent Universe (Beta). Retrieved Apr 23, 2010. 
  6. ^ "History of Setra". Setra Systems Inc. Retrieved Dec 19, 2011.