Professor CN Yang at 100
Giant of Physics and Friend of CUHK Across Two Centuries
About Professor CN YANG
1957 NOBEL LAUREATE IN PHYSICS

An eminent scientist, Professor YANG Chen Ning won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1957 together with Professor LEE Tsung Dao for the discovery of non-conservation of parity in weak interactions. He is also the author of non-Abelian gauge theory (Yang–Mills theory of 1954), which has become the foundation of the standard model of elementary particle interactions.

YANG was born in Hefei, Anhui Province, in 1922. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the National Southwest Associated University in 1942 and his Master’s degree from Tsinghua University in 1944. A year later, he went on to the University of Chicago for the PhD, which he obtained in 1948. He joined the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton in 1949, first as a fellow and then as a professor. In 1966, YANG took up the newly established Einstein Chair at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (now Stony Brook University) and the founding directorship of its Institute for Theoretical Physics. He retired from Stony Brook in 1999.


YANG’s generosity as an academic is evident throughout his career, and most vividly for us through his long association with CUHK. In 1964, he was invited by CUHK to give a public lecture in Hong Kong. In 1982, YANG accepted an Honorary Professorship at CUHK, and then in 1986 graciously accepted a special Chair as Distinguished Professor-at-Large. He jointly managed The Institute of Mathematical Sciences at CUHK with Professor YAU Shing-tung during 1993-1998. He was conferred the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, by CUHK in 1997. In 1999, he generously donated his papers, manuscripts, photographs, audio-visual files as well as medals including the prestigious Nobel Medal and other memorabilia to the University, leading to the establishment of the CN Yang Archive.

YANG has received an array of honours and awards: the Nobel Prize in Physics (1957), the Enrico Fermi Medal (1979), the Rumford Premium (1980), the Oppenheimer Memorial Plaque (1981), the US National Medal of Science (1986), the Benjamin Franklin Medal (1993), the Bower Award (1994), the Albert Einstein Medal (1995), the N Bogoliubov Prize (1996), the Lars Onsager Prize (1999), the Academicum Pontificium (2000) and the King Faisal International Prize (2001)

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