John died Feb. 17, 2022, of cancer in Boston, Mass., surrounded by family and friends. 

He was born March 22, 1988, in Manhattan. At Princeton he graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree, followed by a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. He won the Graduate Newport Research Award for the best Ph.D. thesis in the field of optics. After earning his doctorate, John worked in the advanced lasercom systems and operations group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory for more than seven years, occasionally serving as a lecturer at MIT. At the time of his passing, John was the photonics co-lead at Lincoln, developing techniques for highly accurate frequency control of lasers in a space environment and advancing the field of free-space laser communications.

In addition to his academic and career accomplishments, John’s interests included managing an esports team, as well as being an avid collector of custom mechanical keyboards. He loved Hawaii, especially the free spirit of Hawaiian culture and the ocean. 

At Princeton he was an active member of Quadrangle Club and a frequent mentor to undergraduates in the electrical engineering department. John was known for his generous soul and wicked sense of humor. His friends will always remember the ways he inspired them to be better and dream bigger.

John is survived by his wife, Sai Lu; and his parents, David and Amanda Chang. He will be dearly missed.

Undergraduate Class of 2010
Graduate Class of 2014