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1991 › John Lienhard
13th Farfel Recipient

Department of Mechanical Engineering
M. D. Anderson Professor of Technology and Culture, Mechanical Engineering, and History
Cullen College of Engineering

John Lienhard, host of KUHF’s “The Engines of Our Ingenuity,” has the most recognized voice at the University of Houston. Professor Lienhard, who received his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, is also the M.D. Anderson Professor of Technology and Culture at the Cullen College of Engineering. A highly sought-after speaker recognized in numerous radio markets, he has authored four books, hundreds of articles, over a thousand radio essays and has conducted research for many national agencies.

Professor Lienhard doesn’t perceive the Farfel Award criteria—teaching, research, and service—as distinct activities. “We at the university have one function: to deal with knowledge. We must create, disseminate, and preserve knowledge. Creation of knowledge occurs every time you walk into a classroom. Preserving knowledge means putting it where it will be retained by the public. The dissemination of knowledge has to be associated with everything you do.” It is this clarity of insight and focus on the context of science and learning that endears his radio show to thousands of listeners daily.

Professor Lienhard, who conducts his engineering research in thermal sciences, believes teaching happens when “you create a process within the student’s mind. One person cannot ‘teach’ another. Teaching in that sense is an illusion. What you can do is create a situation in which people learn, by creating questions, by creating an environment within which students become question-oriented. The good teacher is the person who does not get in the way of the student’s own creative process.”

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