Professor Yang Chen Ning

Professor Yang Chen Ning, 1957 Nobel Laureate in Physics

An eminent scientist, Professor Yang Chen Ning won the Nobel Prize in Physics when he was only thirty-five, together with Professor Lee Tsung Dao. He is currently Distinguished Professor-at-Large and Director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), a professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing and an Emeritus Professor at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Professor Yang was born in Hefei, Anhui Province, in 1922. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the National Southwest Associated University 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.

In 1956, while at Princeton, Professor Yang together with Professor Lee Tsung Dao suggested that parity may not be conserved in the weak interactions. This hypothesis was soon confirmed, and they were quickly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1957. By focusing attention on symmetry, this work had a major impact on particle physics in the ensuing decades.

Professor 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 lecture on his work on parity. The lecture, to an overflowing audience in the then newly opened City Hall, was a sensation. In 1982, Professor Yang was made an Honorary Professor at CUHK, and then in 1986 graciously accepted a special Chair as Distinguished Professor-at-Large. With Professor Yau Shing Tung, he established The Institute of Mathematical Sciences at CUHK in 1993 and with Professor Yau, became its co-director. He was conferred the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, by CUHK in 1997.

Two years later, Professor Yang kindly donated to CUHK his manuscripts and papers, as well as his medals, including the prestigious Nobel Medal. Located on the CUHK campus, the CN Yang Archive is a unique resource to study Professor Yang's science and his times.

Professor Yang has received an array of honours and awards: the Nobel Prize (1957), the Enrico Fermi Medal (1979), the Rumford Premium (1980), the Oppenheimer Memorial Plaque (1981), the US National Medal of Science (1986), the Moscow State University Medal (1992), 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).