Chen Ning Yang Scholarship Essays

This is a Chinese name; the family name is Yang.

Chen-Ning Frank Yang, also known as Yang Zhenning (simplified Chinese: 杨振宁; traditional Chinese: 楊振寧; pinyin: Yáng Zhènníng; born October 1,[1] 1922), is a Chinese physicist who works on statistical mechanics and particle physics. He and Tsung-dao Lee received the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physics[2] for their work on parity nonconservation of weak interaction. The two proved theoretically[citation needed] that one of the basic quantum-mechanics laws, the conservation of parity, is violated in the so-called weak nuclear reactions, those nuclear processes that result in the emission of beta or alpha particles. The most important work of Yang is Yang-Mills theory.


Yang was born in Hefei, Anhui, China; his father, Yang Wu-Chih (楊克纯; courtesy name: 武之) (1896–1973), was a mathematician, and his mother, Luo Meng-hua (羅孟華), was a housewife. Yang attended elementary school and high school in Beijing, and in the autumn of 1937 his family moved to Hefei after the Japanese invaded China. In 1938 they moved to Kunming, Yunnan, where the National Southwestern Associated University, Lianda, was located. In the same year, as a second year student, Yang passed the entrance examination and studied at Lianda. He received his bachelor's degree in 1942,[3] with his thesis on the application of group theory to molecular spectra, under the supervision of Ta-You Wu. He continued to study graduate courses there for two years under the supervision of Wang Zhuxi, working on statistical mechanics. In 1944 he received his master's degree from Tsinghua University, which had moved to Kunming during the Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945).[3] Yang was then awarded a scholarship from the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship Program, set up by the United States government using part of the money China had been forced to pay following the Boxer Rebellion. His departure for the United States was delayed for one year, during which time he taught in a middle school as a teacher and studied field theory.

From 1946, Yang studied with Edward Teller (1908–2003) at the University of Chicago, where he received his doctorate in 1948. He remained at the University of Chicago for a year as an assistant to Enrico Fermi. In 1949 he was invited to do his research at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he began a period of fruitful collaboration with Tsung-Dao Lee. He was made a permanent member of the Institute in 1952, and full professor in 1955. In 1963, Princeton University Press published his textbook, Elementary Particles. In 1965 he moved to Stony Brook University, where he was named the Albert Einstein Professor of Physics and the first director of the newly founded Institute for Theoretical Physics. Today this institute is known as the C. N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics.

He retired from Stony Brook University in 1999, assuming the title Emeritus Professor. In 2010, Stony Brook University honored Yang's contributions to the university by naming its newest dormitory building C. N. Yang Hall.[4]

He has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Academia Sinica, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society. He was awarded honorary doctorate degrees by Princeton University (1958), Moscow State University (1992), and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (1997).

Yang visited the Chinese mainland in 1971 for the first time after the thaw in China–US relations, and has subsequently made great efforts to help the Chinese physics community rebuild the research atmosphere which was destroyed by the radical political movements during the Cultural Revolution. After retiring from Stony Brook he returned as an honorary director of Tsinghua University, Beijing, where he is the Huang Jibei-Lu Kaiqun Professor at the Center for Advanced Study (CASTU). He also is one of the two Shaw Prize Founding Members and is a Distinguished Professor-at-Large at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Personal life[edit]

Yang married Chih-li Tu (Chinese: 杜致禮; pinyin: Dù Zhìlǐ), a teacher, in 1950 and has two sons and a daughter with her: Franklin Jr., Gilbert and Eulee. His father-in-law was a Kuomintang Army General Du Yuming who was taken POW at the end of Chinese civil war. First wife Tu died in the winter of 2003. Yang married then 28-year-old Weng Fan (Chinese: 翁帆; pinyin: Wēng Fān) in December 2004.[5][6]

Yang became a U.S. citizen in 1964. He now resides in China, and he was granted permanent residency in China in 2004.[7][8] He renounced his U.S. citizenship as of Sep 30, 2015[9] and became a citizen of China.[10][11]

On Yang's religious views, he is an agnostic.[12]


Publications (selection)[edit]

  • Yang C. N., Mills R. L. (1954). "Conservation of Isotopic Spin and Isotopic Gauge Invariance". Phys. Rev.96: 191–195. Bibcode:1954PhRv...96..191Y. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.96.191. 
  • Mills R. L., Yang C. N. (1966). "Treatment of Overlapping Divergences in the Photon Self-Energy Function". Prog. Theor. Phys. Sup. 37: 507. 

See also[edit]





  • Yang, C.N. (1952) [1952]. Special problems of statistical mechanics. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. ASIN B0007FZHH4. 
  • Lee, T. D. and C. N. Yang. "Elementary Particles and Weak Interactions", Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission), (1957).
  • Yang, C. N. "The Many Body Problem. Physics Monographs No. 6," Rio de Janeiro. Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Fisicas, (1960).
  • Yang, C.N. (1963) [1961]. Elementary Particles: A Short History of Some Discoveries in Atomic Physics. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ASIN B000E1CBGG. 
  • Yang, C. N. "Mathematical Deductions from Some Rules Concerning High-Energy Total Cross Sections," Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission), (1962).
  • Yang, C. N. "Symmetry Principles In Physics. Brookhaven Lecture Series Number 50," Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission), (October 13, 1965).
  • Yang, C.N. (1983) [1983]. Selected papers 1945-1980, with commentary (Chen Ning Yang). San Francisco: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-1406-X. 
  • "C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics (YITP)". Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  • Sutherland, Bill (2004), Beautiful Models, World Scientific Publishing Company, ISBN 978-981-238-859-9 
  • Yang, C.N. (1983), Selected Papers 1945-1980, With Commentary, W.H. Freeman & Company, ISBN 978-0-7167-1406-4 

External links[edit]

  1. ^ abBing-An Li, Yuefan Deng. "Biography of C.N. Yang"(PDF). Retrieved 2007-09-11.  
  2. ^"The Nobel Prize in Physics 1957". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ ab"Nobel Prize Web site". Retrieved 2014-10-16. 
  4. ^"Exclusive: New Dorm Likely to Honor Nobel Laureate". 2010-03-18. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^"杨振宁获得外国人在华永久居留证" (in Chinese). 人民網. 2004-11-05. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  8. ^"Chinese "Green Card"". China Central Television. 2005-06-24. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  9. ^"Quarterly Publication of Individuals, Who Have Chosen To Expatriate, as Required by Section 6039G". Federal Register. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  10. ^"杨振宁、姚期智正式转为中国科学院院士" (in Chinese). 2017-02-21. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  11. ^Zhang, Zhihao (2017-02-21). "Nobel laureate, Turing Award winner become Chinese citizens, join CAS". China Daily. Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  12. ^Jesse Hong Xiong (2009). "Seven". The Outline of Parapsychology. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 322. ISBN 9780761849452.  
  13. ^"Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences Recipients". American Philosophical Society. Retrieved November 26, 2011. 

The plans to build the world's new greatest collider in China have many prominent supporters – including Shing-Tung Yau, Nima Arkani-Hamed, David Gross, Edward Witten – but SixthTone and South China Morning Post just informed us about a very prominent foe: Chen-Ning Yang, the more famous part of Lee-Yang and Yang-Mills.

He is about 94 years old now but his brain is very active and his influence may even be enough to kill the project(s).

The criticism is mainly framed as a criticism of CEPC (Circular Electron-Positron Collider), a 50-70-kilometer-long [by circumference] lepton accelerator. But I guess that if the relevant people decided to build another hadron machine in China, and recall that SPPC (Super Proton-Proton Collider) is supposed to be located in the same tunnel, his criticism would be about the same. In other words, Yang is against all big Chinese colliders. If you have time, read these 403 pages on the CEPC-SPPC project. Yang may arguably make all this work futile by spitting a few milliliters of saliva.

He wrote his essay for a Chinese newspaper 3 days ago,

China shouldn't build big colliders today (autom. EN; orig. CN)
The journalists frame this opinion as an exchange with Shing-Tung Yau who famously co-wrote a pro-Chinese-collider book.

My Chinese isn't flawless. Also, his opinions and arguments aren't exactly innovative. But let me sketch what he's saying.

He says that Yau has misinterpreted his views when he said that Yang was incomprehensibly against the further progress in high-energy physics. Yang claims to be against the Chinese colliders only. Well, I wouldn't summarize his views in this way after I have read the whole op-ed.

His reasons to oppose the accelerator are:
  1. In Texas, the SSC turned out to be painful and a "bottomless pit" or a "black hole". Yang suggests it must always be the case – well, it wasn't really the case of the LHC. And he suggests that $10-$20 billion is too much.
  2. China is just a developing country. Its GDP per capita is below that of Brazil, Mexico, or Malaysia. There are poor farmers, need to pay for the environment(alism), health, medicine etc. and those should be problems of a higher priority.
  3. The collider would also steal the money from other fields of science.
  4. Supporters of the collider argue that the fundamental theory isn't complete – because gravity is missing and unification hasn't been understood; and they want to find evidence of SUSY. However, Yang is eager to say lots of the usual anti-SUSY and anti-HEP clichés. SUSY has no experimental evidence – funny, that's exactly why people keep on dreaming about more powerful experiments.
  5. High-energy physics hasn't improved human lives in the last 70 years and won't do so. This item is the main one – but not only one – suggesting that the Chinese project isn't the only problem for Yang.
  6. China and IHEP in particular hasn't achieved anything in high-energy physics. Its contributions remain below 1% of the world. Also, if someone gets the Nobel prize for a discovery, he will probably be a non-Chinese.
  7. He recommends cheaper investments – to new ways to accelerate particles; and to work on theory, e.g. string theory.
You can see that it's a mixed bag with some (but not all) of the anti-HEP slogans combined with some left-wing propaganda. I am sorry but especially the social arguments are just bogus.

What decides about a country's ability to make a big project is primarily the total GDP, not the GDP per capita. Ancient China built the Great Chinese Wall despite the fact that the GDP per capita was much lower than the today's GDP per capita. Those people couldn't buy a single Xiaomi Redmi 3 Android smartphone for their salary (I am considering this octa-core $150 smartphone – which seems to be the #1 bestselling Android phone in Czechia now – as a gift now). But they still built the wall. And today, Chinese companies are among the most important producers of many high-tech products; I just mentioned one example. As you may see with your naked eyes, this capability in no way contradicts China's low GDP per capita.

The idea that a country makes much social progress by redistributing the money it has among all the people is just a communist delusion. That's how China worked before it started to grow some 30 years ago. You just shouldn't spend or devour all this money – for healthcare of the poor citizens etc. – if you want China to qualitatively improve. You need to invest into sufficiently well-defined things. You may take those $10-$20 billion for the Chinese collider projects and spread them among the Chinese citizens. But that will bring some $10-$20 to each person – perhaps one dinner in a fancier restaurant or one package of good cigarettes. It's normal for the poor people to spend the money in such a way that the wealth quickly evaporates. The concentration of the capital is even more needed in poor countries that want to grow.

Also, China's contribution to HEP physics – and other fields – is limited now. But that's mostly because similar moves and investments that would integrate China to the world's scientific community weren't done in the past or at least they were not numerous.

Yang's remarks about the hypothetical Nobel prizes are specious, too. I don't know who will get Nobel prizes for discoveries at Chinese colliders, if anyone, so it's a pure speculation. But the Nobel prize money is clearly not why colliders are being built. Higgs and Englert got some $1 million from the Nobel committee while the LHC cost $10 billion or so. The prizes can in no way be considered the "repayment of the investments". What the experiments like that bring to science and the mankind is much more than some personal wealth for several people.

You may see that regardless of the recipients of the prize money (and regardless of the disappointing pro-SM results coming from the LHC), everyone understands that because of the LHC and its status, Europe has become essential in the state-of-the-art particle physics. Many peope may like to say unfriendly things about particle physics but at the end, I think that they also understand that at least among well-defined and concentrated disciplines, particle physics is the royal discipline of science. A "center of mass" of this discipline is located on the Swiss-French border. In ten years, China could take this leadership from Europe. This would be a benefit for China that is far more valuable than $10-$20 billion. China – whose annual GDP was some $11 trillion in 2015 – is paying much more money for various other things.

Off-topic: Some news reports talk about a new "Madala boson". It seems to be all about this 2-weeks-old 5-page-long hep-ph preprint presenting a two-Higgs-doublet model that also claims to say something about the composition of dark matter (which is said to be composed of a new scalar \(\chi\)). I've seen many two-Higgs-doublet papers and papers about dark matter and I don't see a sense in which this paper is more important or more persuasive.

The boson should already be seen in the LHC data but it's not.

Update Chinese collider:

On September 25th or so, Maria Spiropulu linked to this new Chinese article where 2+2 scholars support/dismiss the Chinese collider plans. David Gross' pro-collider story is the most detailed argumentation.


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