CUHK Celebrates 85th Birthday of Prof. Yang Chen Ning and 50th Anniversary of His Being Awarded the Nobel Prize
In celebration of the 85th birthday of Prof. Yang Chen Ning, Physics Nobel laureate and Distinguished Professor-at-Large of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and the 50th anniversary of his being awarded the Nobel Prize, CUHK held a presentation ceremony of the statue of Prof. Yang on 22 September. Prof. and Mrs Yang, Prof. Wu Wei Shan, donor and sculptor of the statue and Prof. Lawrence J. Lau, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK officiated at the ceremony.
The statue of Prof.Yang was given to CUHK by its sculptor Prof. Wu Wei Shan, Director of the Institute of Fine Arts of Nanjing University. A celebrated artist, Prof. Wu was awarded the prestigious Pangolin Prize by the Royal British Society of Sculptors, which also elected him a Fellow (FRBS).
As the first Nobel Prize ever awarded to a Chinese, Prof. Yang’s honour held special meaning for the Chinese community. In October 1957, Prof. Yang in collaboration with Prof. Lee Tsung Dao made significant contributions to the theory of weak interactions by proposing that parity may not be conserved in weak interactions — the forces long thought to cause elementary particles to disintegrate. Parity non-conservation means that left-handed and right-handed particles do not behave as perfect mirror images of each other. By focusing attention on symmetry, their work had a major impact on particle physics in the ensuing decades. Through interactions with the scientific community and national leaders, Prof. Yang has witnessed and influenced many aspects of scientific development in China, and contributed to the improvement of ties between China and the US, especially between their scientific communities.
Prof. Yang has long been associated with CUHK. His public lecture in the then newly opened City Hall in 1964, at the invitation of CUHK, drew a packed audience. He has visited and lectured at the University frequently since the 1970s and has given valuable advice on academic development, especially to the Department of Physics. In 1982, Prof. Yang was made an Honorary Professor at CUHK, and in 1986, he graciously accepted a special invitation to be Distinguished Professor-at-Large. Jointly with Prof. Yau Shing Tung, he established the Institute for Mathematical Sciences at CUHK in 1994 and served as its Co-Director. Prof. Yang is also Director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics. Even now, he shares his passion for physics with the young, having been teaching a course on “Thematic Melodies of 20th Century Theoretical Physics” to graduate and undergraduate students both last year and this year.
Prof. Yang was conferred the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, by CUHK in 1997. In 1999, he made a generous donation of his papers, correspondence, manuscripts and publications, as well as his medals, including the Nobel medal, to the University. This valuable collection is housed in the C N Yang Archive, established in 2002.