Chen Nin Yang was born in Hefei, Anwhei, China in 1922. He obtained his BSc at the National Southwest Associated University in Kunming, and MSc in Physics at Singhua University, China, and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, where he also served as instructor in 1948. The following year, Yang joined the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University in New Jersey, becoming full professor six years later. In 1966, he took the position of Albert Einstein Professor and Director of the newly founded Institute of Theoretical Physics (now known as the C. N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics) at the State University of New York in Stoney Brooke (SUNY). After his retirement in 1999, he was appointed Albert Einstein Professor Emeritus and Honorary Director of Instritute of Theoretical Physics at SUNY, and Distinguished Professorat-Large at the Chinese University in Hong Kong. He is currently honorary director of Tsinghua University, Beijing, where he is the Huang Jibei-Lu Kaiqun professor at the Center for Advanced Studies.
Professor Yang is a renowned theoretical physicist whose research with Tsung-Dao Lee showed that the law of parity symmetry between physical phenomena occurring in right-handed and left-handed coordinate systems is violated during the decay of certain elementary particles. Prior to that, it was assumed that parity symmetry was a universal law in physics. This and other studies in particle physics earned Yang and Lee the Noble Prize in 1957. Yang’s subsequent work with Robert Mills on the non-Abelian gauge theory (also known as Quantum Yang-Mills theory) laid the foundation for the unification of all interactions in nature. It is this latter work that was recognized by the King Faisal International Prize for Science. Yang also made fundamental contributions to statistical mechanics and the theory of quantum fluids.
In addition to the Nobel Prize and the King Faisal International Prize for Science, Professor Yang’s profoundly deep contributions to the principles of theoretical physics were recognized by numerous other prestigious prizes and medals, 18 honorary degrees and honorary fellowships of leading international scientific academies and societies worldwide. In 1986, he received the National Science Medal, the highest American distinction in science, from the President of the USA. He was
also elected Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society in London.
In 2010, SUNY in Stony Brook honored Yang’s contributions to the university by naming its newest dormitory building “Yang College”.
Professor Yang, has been awarded the prize, because he made another fundamental contribution to physics by proposing a theoretical framework which was later developed to become the basis of the present theory of the structure of matter at the smallest scales and highest energies.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his major discovery of the non-conservation of parity which proved that nature, contrary to general expectation, does distinguish between left and right in weak nuclear interactions.