Born in 1939 in Taiwan, Syd Peng was one of seven children of a poor but hardworking farmer and his wife. Syd began life in a ramshackle house with a leaky roof, carrying water for his family from a nearby well.
But Syd worked and studied hard, in Taiwan and then in America, and—thanks to his intelligence and strong work ethic—built a life as an engineer, researcher, teacher, author, and founder of the acclaimed International Conference on Ground Control in Mining.
After school and technical college in Taiwan, followed by military service with the Chinese Army, Syd got his first real job—in a coal mine. There he was exposed to the extremely unsafe mining practices of the time. “I began to fear for my life whenever I entered the mines,” he writes.
Thus, he found his lifelong passion to make coal mining—an industry upon which the world continues to depend for much of its energy needs—safer for those who go underground. He became an international expert in ground control for mining, longwall mining, and mine subsidence, helping to create safer conditions for miners and higher productivity for the industry.