Prof Shing-Tung Yau
ASHK Honorary Member awarded in 2019
PhD (University of California, Berkeley)
William Caspar Graustein Professor of Mathematics, Harvard University
Distinguished Visiting Professor-at-Large, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Director of The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Prof Shing-Tung Yau is born in Shantou, China. After he studied mathematics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, he went to the University of California, Berkeley in 1969. At the age of 22, Prof Yau was awarded the Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Prof. Shiing-Shen Chern. After a year as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and two years at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, he went to Stanford University. Since 1987, he has been a Professor of Mathematics at Harvard University. Since 2013, he is also appointed as a Professor of Physics at Harvard.
Prof Yau's work is in geometry in the broadest sense. He was the first person to combine differential geometry and analysis, and used their interaction to solve longstanding problems in both subjects. Prof Yau's work opened up new directions, set foundations and changed people's perspectives towards mathematics and their applications in physics and computer science. For example, his proof of the positive energy theorem in general relativity demonstrated—sixty years after its discovery—that Einstein's theory is consistent and stable. His proof of the Calabi conjecture gave solutions of multiple well-known open problems in algebraic geometry and also allowed physicists to show that string theory is a viable candidate for a unified theory of nature. Calabi–Yau manifolds are among the ‘standard toolkit’ for string theorists today.
Prof Yau also spends an enormous amount of energy to train young mathematicians at every level. He has been directors of The Institute of Mathematical Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Morningside Center of Mathematics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Center of Mathematical Sciences in Zhejiang University. In December 2009, Prof Yau was invited to serve as the inaugural director of the Mathematical Sciences Center at Tsinghua University (Renamed Yau Mathematical Sciences Center in 2015). In July 2017, Prof Yau has been Director of Shing-Tung Yau Center of Southeast University at Nanjing, China.
Prof Yau is renowned as an energetic teacher and educator and has received many prestigious awards over the years, including the Oswald Veblen Prize (1981), the Fields Medal (1982), John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship (1985), the Crafoord Prize (1994), the (U.S.) National Medal of Science (1997), the Wolf Prize (2010) & the Fifteenth Marcel Grossmann Award (2018).