Tu Chen

Outstanding Achievement Award Recipient

College of Science and Engineering, October 29, 2015

Tu Chen received a master of science degree in 1964 followed by a Ph.D. in metallurgical engineering from the Institute of Technology (now College of Science and Engineering) at the University of Minnesota. Considered to be the father of the modern disk drive, Chen contributed significantly to how data is recorded and stored. His career started at IBM and then in 1971, he joined Xerox Palo Alto Research Center to work on the development of magnetic recording materials for mass data storage. In 1993, he co-founded Komag, a worldwide leader in hard disk computer memory manufacturing. The name Komag represents “magnetic media with good character and virtue.” Within a few years of its inception, Komag was a multi-million dollar company. In 2007, Western Digital, the largest manufacturer of hard drives in the world, acquired Komag for approximately $1 billion. Chen is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He was made a Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is the recipient of the 2001 IEEE R. B. Johnson Information Storage Award. He is also a dedicated alumnus. Chen and his wife established a scholarship fund at the University of Minnesota to support students in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CEMS).

Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.