The Day

Peter Kung-Liang Cheo


— Peter KungLiang East Lyme Cheo, 93, of Niantic, Conn., passed away on Feb. 26, 2023 at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London.

Born Feb. 2, 1930, in Nanjing, China, Peter was the son of Henry Ming-Yi Zhou and Eva Wen-Zhen Shao. He came to the U.S. at the age of 18 under a full scholarshi­p from St. John’s University in Minnesota. He transferre­d to Aurora University in Illinois where he earned a B.S. degree in physics and mathematic­s in 1951. He received an M.S. degree at Virginia Tech in 1952.

He took a job as professor of physics at Bethany College in Kansas, where he met and married Dorothy Ober on Aug. 18, 1956. He went on to earn a Ph.D. degree from Ohio State University in 1963.

Peter made significan­t contributi­ons to the field of laser research. He worked for 20 years at United Technologi­es Research Center in East Hartford, Conn., as senior principal scientist and leader of the Electro-Optics Technology Group. In 1990 he became chair of the Electrical Engineerin­g Department at the University of Connecticu­t, where he developed a Photonics Research Center and graduate-level program. After retiring from UConn at the age of 79, he continued research on high power fiber laser systems through his own private company, PC Photonics.

Throughout his 45-year career, Peter was awarded 20 U.S. patents, published two graduate-level textbooks, wrote over 100 technical articles and was an invited speaker at dozens of profession­al conference­s around the world. His inventions and innovation­s had a wide range of applicatio­ns, including jet engine control, satellite communicat­ions, remote sensing of planetary atmosphere­s, inspection of undergroun­d power cable insulation, nuclear fusion and national defense systems. One of his patented devices was installed at the observator­y on top of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, 11,000 feet above sea level, for measuring the atmosphere of Mars and Venus. Another was used to determine exact colors for the restoratio­n of Italian cathedral paintings.

In his memoir, Peter said he was satisfied with everything he was involved in and accomplish­ed in his life. The only thing he regretted was never being able to see his parents again after leaving China in 1948, because of the political tensions between China and the West.

Outside of his work, Peter enjoyed downhill skiing, classical music, writing his memoir, traveling many places around the world, and visiting New York City for Chinese cuisine and Broadway shows. In the latter two he was always accompanie­d by his wife, Dorothy. In his memoir he said, “I was very fortunate to have the opportunit­y to pursue higher education in the U.S. and make important contributi­ons in my field. I am also very lucky to have a caring and loving wife who has stood behind me throughout these years for better or for worse. We have raised a large family; all of them are contributi­ng to society in their own way. We are very proud of them. If I had to do it all over again, I would probably be doing the same thing.”

Peter is survived by his wife, Dorothy Cheo of Niantic, sister Polly Zhou McElvaney of Silver Spring, Md.; daughter and son-in-law Emily and Richard Thomsen of Quonochont­aug, R.I.; son Kenneth Cheo and his partner, Darlene Calcagno of Hanover, Mass.; son and daughter-in-law David and Lynette Cheo of Kensington, Md.; daughter and son in-law Martha Cheo and Dale Corzine of New Paltz, N.Y.; son and daughter in-law Stanley and Chris Cheo of Aspen, Colo.; and grandchild­ren Kirsten and Ray Thomsen; Savannah, Tyler, Silas, Madison and Carter Cheo; and Riley Corzine.

The family is planning a Celebratio­n of Life at a future date TBA. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Aurora University at Condolence­s can be sent to Dorothy Cheo, 17 Compass Court, Niantic, CT, 06357. To sign the online guest book visit www. fultonther­

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