The Charlie Lieber we know

By Dan Kahne and Kang-Kuen Ni
Professors, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University

Kang-Kuen Ni and I (Dan) are writing because the Charlie Lieber we know is not the person you have been hearing about in the news. Charlie is the former Chair of the Harvard Chemistry Department, who now stands accused of failing to disclose the full extent of his connections to China’s Thousand Talents Program, and of failing to pay taxes on income received. This led to his arrest in January 2020. His trial began last week. Although it can be hard not to judge a person’s character in their difficult moments, the portrayal of Charlie throughout the trial is not consistent with the person we know.

Charlie has been driving the same car for as long as we can remember, often arriving at his lab at Harvard around 6 in the morning and, like many of us, leaving very late in the evening. One of his private pleasures is growing prize pumpkins. He grew up in a hardworking, middle-class family and is least comfortable at Departmental dinners or other work-related social gatherings. Charlie loves his family and talks about them often. The Charlie we know is sincere, shy, a little awkward, and very thoughtful. Charlie doesn’t judge people based on where they went to school or how much money they have, and he isn’t impressed by people who act like they are better than others or pretend to know things they don’t....

Read the full story at

Keywords: Charlie Lieber, Harvard

Web Editor   2022-2-11 10:38:30