The Indonesian Optical Society


In Memory of Prof. Tjia May On

This page is dedicated for the late Prof. Tjia May On, who passed away on Tuesday, 5 Nov. 2019, 00:45 Western Indonesian Time in Medistra Hospital, Jakarta. For colleagues, former students, or friends of the late Prof. Tjia May On who want to say few words in memory of him, please send your one or two sentences to We will put your words in this page. You may say it in either Bahasa Indonesia or in English.

Pak Tjia muda
Pak Tjia edit paper

I am deeply saddened by this news, for I have many fond memories of interacting with May-On at Northwestern, and later on various occasions, once at CERN and in Bandung and several times in Illinois. He was an excellent student who developed into an equally great professor and very active researcher with many students. His breadth of research has always amazed me. My wife, Cindy, and I extend our deeply-felt sympathy to Alida. (Carl Albright, Fermilab, USA)

May Prof. May-On Tjia rest in peace. He will be terribly missed by everyone who know him. He was a wonderful man. God bless and best wishes and strength to his beloved family and friends, students, colleagues, etc. Alois and Philo Menovsky (Alois Menovsky, formerly with Univ. of Amsterdam)

I am really sorry and sad to hear that Prof. Tjia has passed away. He is one of the few highly respected persons I ever met for his professionalism, gentleman qualities and kindness and I am going to miss him dearly. Please convey my deepest condolence to his family. (Iam-Choon Khoo, Pennsylvania State Univ., USA)

I am very sorry to hear about this loss. He was a great man! (Yuri Kivshar, Australian National Univ., Australia)

My sincere condolences. He had the gift to inspire many of us. May he rest In Peace. (Thom Palstra, The Rector Magnificus, University of Twente)

I will remember him as a very kind person, courageous, honest, and help full. (Liu Hao Tjeng, Director of Max-Planck Institute, Dresden)

His legacy will of course always be remembered. His scientific as well as his educational. (Katja Loos, University of Groningen)

I am sorry to hear this news – I think Prof. May-On was indeed a founding father of Indonesian Optics, and I am sure he was delighted to see his legacy in ISMOA live on. I send my best wishes to his family at this sad and difficult time, but I do think they must be very proud of his achievements. (Judith Dawes, Macquarie Univ., Australia)

I am very saddened to hear this. I have always considered him to be one of the giants of Indonesian science, through both his one-on-one interactions with students and colleagues, and through his contributions to the entire community. Please convey my condolences to May-On’s wife and other family. (Martijn de Sterke, Univ of Sydney, Australia)

Sorry to hear that sad news. My condolences from Sydney (actually I’m in Japan and have been travelling which is why my response is delayed). I appreciate how highly regarded Prof. May-On Tjia was to the optics community and that this would be very upsetting for many. (Ben Eggleton, Univ. of Sydney, Australia)

Really sad to hear Tjia’s pass away. With all the sadness behind, please continue to strengthen the legacy that Tjia left to Indonesian photonics people. With my deep condolences. (Yong-Hee Lee, President, Korea Institute for Advanced Study)

These are really very sad news and I am feeling very sad that Prof. May-On Tjia passed away. Please forward my sincere condolences to his wife and his family. I liked Prof. May-On Tjia very much. I was impressed by his way of guiding and educating young students. He enabled many contacts between
scientists all-over the world by initiating the ISMOA conferences. This had also great influence to me. (Christoph Bubeck, Max Planck Institute – Polymer, Mainz, Germany)

This is a very, very sad news, indeed! We all who had the previlege to meet a person like him are very sad. I met him first time in 2001 in Korea when he gave a talk on a Sechu Island conference. And then on all ISMOA Conferences I joined, I had always the feeling that the climate, the atmosphere became more comfortable when he entered the room. And all the time he appreciated that we overcame the long distance to join ‘his‘ conference. But the pleasure was on our side and I miss ISMOA feeling very much. But in Europe we say something like ‘everything has got its time‘ and then it is part of the past. In getting older I do not see many sharp problems yet, but one is definitely to loose more and more friends and relatives. This is natural but difficult to accept. And, unfortunately I do not believe that I will meet those important persons anywhere else in the future. But I try to follow R.Tagore’s words: ‘ do not be sad that it’s over, but be happy that you had the pleasure to experience‘ (Andreas Brauer, formerly with Fraunhofer Institute, Jena, Germany)

It is with great sadness that I read this news (only now, as travel from Mexico has kept me away from my mail for a few days). May-On was a great scientist, teacher, and person. His scientific standards were high and rigorous; at the same time, he was a soft-mannered and gentle colleague. He initiated the fruitful program with Groningen and always showed interest. It is hard to believe that he is gone. A great loss for ITB and the physics community, and a great loss for the Bandung-Groningen axis. His memory will be kept alive, though. May-On’s passing away also must weigh very heavy to people around him and his family. Please, accept my sympathy and condolences. (Jasper Knoester, Groningen Univ., The Netherlands)

The information is a really sad news. Since first time I was aquainted with Prof. May-On Tjia, he was so kind to me and I completely understand that he is a very warm heart person. I learned a lot from him related to his research during discussion in several conferences held in Bandung and Tokyo. His passing away is really a loss to the physics field in Indonesia. I am very sorry to learn that he was keep fighting with the diseases for the last several years. I  hope his family will be recovered soon. (Takayoshi Kobayashi, Univ. of Electro-Communications, Japan)

I am extremely sorry to hear about this sad news. I only met Prof. May-On Tjia on a few occasions, when I took part in ISMOA  Symposium. From the onset, one would notice his very gentle and generous character, his sharp brain and the breadth of his knowledge of physics. I believe this must be a terrible loss. Please accept my deepest sympathy. (Olivier J.F. Martin, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland)

It is so sudden and sad news. I had heard about Prof. May-On being still active. He was a really great leader in physics society in Indonesia, and such a warm heartful person, like a father of all of us. Please accept my sincere condolences. I will miss him. (Kaoru Tamada, Kyushu Univ., Japan)

I am awfully sorry to hear about Prof. May-On Tjia. Please accept my deepest condolences on this sorrowful loss. This goes particularly to his closer family but of course to everybody that has been exposed and that was educated by him. I know how important he has been as a teacher and a mentor for many people in Indonesia and well beyond. With the foundation of the conference and the entire ISMOA spirit, it has brought me into the ISMOA world to which I am very thankful. I know he had a long and prosperous life and I am confident that his legacy will continue in all of you that belong to the ISMOA community, the way you do science, and in all the networks and relations you have been building up. Please honour him by keeping up this spirit. Please accept my sincere sympaties, and all the best for the family of Prof. May-On Tjia in this situation. (Carsten Rockstuhl, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany)

I remembered that I taught an optics experiment in UI, Jakarta approximately 40 years ago. I stayed in Jakarta with Dr. Tsujiuchi for two months before entering the company. I thinks it was the first time to have met Prof.Tjia May On. I pray his soul may rest in peace. (Kazuhiko Ohnuma, Chiba Univ., Japan)

Gone is the gentleman, a real scientist, a high caliber physicist, a dear teacher and friend, who honours me with his trust. For years we spent hours at a time thinking physics out loud and wondering about the right mathematics, discussing education and learning, the role of academia in nation building, but also on our personal ‘homework’: living to the optimum while carrying a bludgeoning disease. He said he was so brokenhearted upon hearing of my increasing physical challenges as he had high hope for me to come out of the backstage and take on a leading position, as, in his words: wholesomely intelligent and decent person. I am flattered, yet I understand the need in his reasoning. He visited me in Borromeus everytime I had to be hospitalized. Even one time ran to the emergency room when heard I was rushed into. Such generous soul. Thank you so much, Pak Tjia, for the wonderful person you are, for the great teaching and friendship to me and so many others, and for building physics in Indonesia. May you rest in divine peace in His Loving Arms. With great respect and affection, and in deep sadness, (Premana Permadi, Astronomi ITB)

With deep sadness I heard about the passing away of my dear former colleague Prof. Dr. M.O. Tjia, Pak May On Tjia. During the years of our cooperation in various projects his attitude inspired me due to his enthusiasm about a lot of topics in optics, as well as politics and other aspects of human life. A true friend, who was an enrichment for my life, passed away; I will really mis him.(Hugo Hoekstra, Hengelo, formerly at University of Twente, The Netherlands)

For me it was a pleasure to have met him. And, I guess, without his initiative to start ISMOA, I would not have been visiting ITB at all. It is a pity that the last few months in his life were so much disturbed by medical complications. His precious and long life will offer some comfort to those who mourn about his passing away. He is one of the persons in my professional life, that I will not forget. (Theo Valkering, formerly at University of Twente, The Netherlands)

This is such a great loss for Indonesia’s physics community. The late Prof. Tjia May On has contributed so much for the nation’s progress in physics education, research, writings, and innovations. Prof. Tjia has been one of the role models for many younger physicists in Indonesia. I also had the chance to learn from his writing via his book “Gelombang” right before my departure to the US. My deepest condolences to his family, his students, and his academic family in ITB and UI. Our deepest respect and gratitute for Prof. Tjia’s wonderful and committed careers in physics, education, and mentoring in Indonesia. (Nelson Tansu, Lehigh University)

Pak Tjia sudah begitu baik membukakan jalan bagi saya dan teman-teman yang lain untuk bisa belajar lebih lanjut di luar negeri. Pak Tjia juga memberikan inspirasi untuk punya integritas dalam perkerjaan dan dedikasi untuk membantu orang lain. Vale Pak Tjia, terima kasih untuk semua jasa-jasa Bapak. Tuhan berkati dan berikan kekuatan untuk Ibu Tjia dan keluarga yang ditinggalkan. (David Marpaung, University of Twente)

Prof. Tjia May On gave lots of thoughts when he supervised me for undergrad thesis back twenty years ago. Back then, he always said “Read between the lines”. It took me for a long time until I understand the use of those powerful words. I am also thankful for his supervising times. He managed to meet me at his home for a discussion about my undergrad thesis (at that time, he had lots of master and Phd students and so he did not have so much times for bachelor’s undergrad thesis). He also motivated me as he told some stories about his friendship with my late father back there at ICTP Italy in the early 70’s. In the end, Prof. Tjia has been my mentor in life and science. Now, I hope that you have a rest in peace in the heaven and may God bless all his family. Let us, your former students, bring the legacy on your research path (Danang Birowosuto, CNRS-NTU-Thales, Singapore).

May Prof. May-On Tjia rest in peace. He was not only one of the best scientist but also one of the best teacher in Indonesia. He introduced me to the world of optics; and his enthusiasm in Physics inspired me to pursue studies in Europe. (Wildan Abdussalam, Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden Rossendorf)

Saya ingat dulu ketika saya ikut seminar ISMOA di Bandung, kalau Pak Tjia bicara semua audience langsung memperhatikan, ada juga prof-prof dari luar negri, biasanya mereka sambil mendengarkan seminar juga bekerja di laptop masing masing, mereka semua langsung berhenti bekerja dan mendengarkan Pak Tjia bicara. Sebegitu power full-nya seorang Pak Tjia. Akhirnya saya berkesimpulan Pak Tjia dihormati dan dihargai oleh semua orang, karena sikap dan dedikasi Pak Tjia. Sewaktu masuk RS Medistra pada bulan Juli 2019 saya sempat bertemu dengan beliau, semangat hidupnya tinggi, bahkan saat sakit dan dirawat di RS masih periksa skripsi mahasiswa/i nya, masih memberi saran kpd juniornya tentang penelitian yang dilakukan. Semua dilakukan dengan sepenuh hati. Pak Tjia orang hebat yang tidak pernah merasa dirinya hebat, selalu humble dan mendorong yang muda untuk maju. Selain itu semua mahasiswa/i bimbingannya dibukakan jalan untuk mendapat beasiswa di luar negri untuk sekolah S2 bahkan sampai S3. Bagi saya Pak Tjia adalah guru dan panutan. Selamat jalan Pak Tjia, Tuhan berkati dan berikan kekuatan untuk Ibu Tjia dan keluarga yang ditinggalkan. (Lina Cahyadi, Universitas Pelita Harapan)

I was lucky to have been taught by Pak Tjia during my master study in UI. He taught us not only on the sciences, but the philosophy behind all those difficult equations of electromagnetics. He was humble, full of dedication, and urged us to always well behave, think of contribution to the scientific community and to our country. I will not be me of today without his advises and the opportunities brought by his network (Henri Uranus, Univ. Pelita Harapan)

Saya mengenal Prof. Tjia ketika dibimbing oleh Pak Alex untuk skripsi S1 saya. Saya terkesan dengan kesederhanaan Pak Tjia dan kesabaran beliau dalam memberikan saran-saran untuk penelitian saya. Dia turut menjadi salah satu motivasi bagi saya untuk melanjutkan studi pascasarjana hingga akhirnya menggeluti bidang semikonduktor saat ini. Selamat jalan, Pak Tjia! (Prayudi Lianto, Applied Materials, Singapore)