YANG, CHEN-NING FRANKLIN

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YANG, CHEN-NING FRANKLIN - China’s First Nobel Prize Winner:   “I attended the International Conference. Didn’t learn anything new in physics”
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YANG, CHEN-NING FRANKLIN - China’s First Nobel Prize Winner:   “I attended the International Conference. Didn’t learn anything new in physics”

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YANG, CHEN-NING FRANKLIN.(b. 1922). China’s first Nobel Prize winner (with Tsung-Dao Lee in physics, 1957). ALS. (“Frank”). 2pp. 4to. Upton, (October 10, 1953). Written on Brookhaven Laboratory letterhead to the eminent American physicist JOAQUIN M. LUTTINGER (1923-1997).

 

Got your card. Sorry for all this delay. The unfortunate thing is that there is a letter to the editor by Schiff in the Phys. Rev.(one year after his two papers appeared) in which he made corrections & got the same results that we did. What we should do under the circumstances I do not know. What is your idea?

 

Part of my delay is due to the complication our visa problem got into. Toward the end of August everything looked hopeless. Then suddenly I was told by the State Department to go to Japan and obtain our visas there. So I left for Japan on Aug. 28. Chih Li and Franklin flew to Japan from Formosa on Sept. 1. We had a grand time in Japan. I attended the International Conference. Didn’t learn anything new in physics. Saw Schiff there. He remembered nothing of what he did.

 

We stopped for a few days in Hawaii on the way back. It was lovely there. Have been back now (all 3 of us) for a week. Looking back at the past 8 months it seems almost like a bad dream.

 

How do you like Ann Arbor now? Give my regards to Pat and Ken.

 

If you can come to N.Y. please come to visit us and Brookhaven the Cosmotron My phone no. here is PAtchogue - 3 - 2600 ext. 509 (home) 746 (office). So long—”

 

Beginning in 1946, Yang studied with Edward Teller and was an assistant to Nobel Prize-winning Italian physicist Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago. In 1949, he joined Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, where he remained until 1965 when he was named Albert Einstein Professor of Physics at Long Island’s Stony Brook University and first director of its new Institute for Theoretical Physics, which now bears his name. He is the author of the textbook Elementary Particles and, together with Tsung-Dao Lee, proved that weak nuclear reactions violate the conservation of parity. It was for this theory that they were awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize. Yang is also well known for the Yang-Mills Existence and Mass Gap, an as-yet unsolved problem and one of the seven Millennium Prize Problems for which the Clay Mathematics Institute has offered a prize of one million dollars. One of the problems was fictionalized in the 2017 movie Gifted. Yang became a U.S. citizen in 1964, and ourletter mentions his wife Chih-Li Tu (1929-2003)and eldest son Franklin, Jr.

 

During the period of our letter, Yang was conducting research at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island. After World War II, the Atomic Energy Commission saw the need for an atomic energy research center located in the Northeast and close to such institutions as Columbia, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, University of Rochester, and Yale. U.S. Army Camp Upton was selected and, in 1947, construction of the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor began. Our letter mentions Brookhaven’s particle accelerator, the Cosmotron, which reached its full energy in 1953.

 

Physicist Leonard I. Schiff (1915-1971) is best known as the author of Quantum Mechanics. Over the course of his career, he was affiliated with the University of California, California Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, and Stanford University.

 

After earning his PhD in physics from MIT in 1947, Luttinger was awarded a National Research Council Fellowship for 1948-1949. As such “Luttinger took advantage of a Swiss-American exchange fellowship to become the first American postdoc in Wolfgang Pauli’s group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich after World War II. There, he demonstrated his brilliance in contributions… to the just-developed renormalized quantum electrodynamics. Especially noteworthy is his 1948 calculation of the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron, carried out independently of and approximately simultaneously with the calculation by Julian Schwinger,” (Joaquin M. Luttinger’s obituary in Journal of Statistical Physics). Among his many innovative theories is the Luttinger liquid model, which describes the interaction of electrons in a one-dimensional conductor. He is also known for Luttinger’s theorem, the Luttinger parameter and the Luttinger-Ward function. Over the course of his illustrious career, he was affiliated with Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study and was a physics professor at the University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and Rockefeller University.

 

Folded with normal wear. Bearing a few handwritten notations and formulae on the verso of the second page, possibly in Luttinger’s hand. In excellent condition; with the original envelope addressed to Luttinger at the University of Michigan. Scarce.

 


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