Wayne Li was bothered by the article title. "It sounds like the bicyclists are being electrocuted," he fretted. Li's usual duties include overseeing information-technology systems for several IEEE departments (including IEEE Spectrum). But this past April he took on another task: rendering the titles in this issue into Chinese.
Hence the concern over the cyclists. After mulling over one title--"China's Cyclists Take Charge"--he had it: "China's Bicycle Heaven Comes Back." The "heaven" part echoes a well-known metaphor in China.
Li is officially the systems architect for the IEEE's publishing technology department, which makes him responsible for researching and evaluating the computers and software used to put out the IEEE's many magazines, journals, and electronic databases. On the side, though, "because no one else wants to do it," he tends to the Apple Macintosh computers used at several of the magazines, including Spectrum. When a machine won't boot or a program won't load, our next step never varies: call Wayne.
Born and raised in Beijing, Li earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Science and Technology Beijing before coming to the United States in 1982 to attend Columbia University in New York City. There he received a master's and a professional degree in computer-aided design. He started working at the IEEE in 1990. He and his wife, Mona, have two sons, Eric and Brendon.
When he can squeeze it in, Li indulges a longtime passion: the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy. "All the kids in China are required to do brush painting in elementary school," he says. "In high school and college, I continued in my spare time." He favors the Yian style of calligraphy, which dates from the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-;907). Compared with other forms, he explains, "it's softer, with more rounded corners, not so aggressive looking."
Although we've had plenty of opportunity to thank Wayne over the years in person, this is the first time we've been able to do it in print. So here goes: