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Hsin Pei Soh

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Hsin Pei Soh

Shu Xingbei (Chinese: 束星北; pinyin: Shù Xīngběi; aka Hsin Pei Soh, Hsin-Pei Soh, or Hsin P. Soh) (October 1, 1905 - October 30, 1983), was an educator and leading physicist in China.


Early years

Shu was born on 1 October 1905, in Ganjiang (邗江), Jiangsu Province.[1] In 1924, Shu entered Hangchow University (aka Zhijiang University 之江大学, a root of / merged into current Zhejiang University) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. In 1925, Shu transferred into the Department of Physics, Cheeloo University in Shandong Province.

Travel/study in USA & Europe

In 1926, Shu went to study in the United States, initially studied physics at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, but later transferred to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). During this period of time, Shu was quite active in various social and political activities and communities, and it's said that he even once joined the Communist Party USA.

In July 1927, Shu left USA, and travelled through Japan, Korea, Manchuria, Moscow, and Warsaw, eventually reached Germany. In Germany, Shu mainly visited Berlin, Hannover and Hamburg.

About in 1928, Shu went to UK. In October 1928, Shu enrolled into the University of Edinburgh, studied mathematics and physics under E. T. Whittaker and Charles Galton Darwin, where he obtained MSc after one year. In February 1930, Shu went to the University of Cambridge, and did study under Arthur Stanley Eddington, who would in August advise him to go to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Shu did graduate (another MSc) study at MIT, under Dirk Jan Struik. Shu was also a teaching assistant at MIT Department of Mathematics.

At Zhejiang University

In September 1931, Shu returned to China, largely due to the pressure from his mother to marry Miss Ge Chuhua, who he was engaged with. Shu taught physics at the Whampoa Military Academy. In September 1932, invited by the chair (Mr. Zhang Shaozhong 张绍忠) of the Department of Physics of Zhejiang University, Shu went to teach at the Department of Physics. In August 1935, Shu assumed the chair position in the Department of Mathematics of Jinan University, which was located in Shanghai at the time. Shu was also an adjunct lecturer at Jiaotong University. In April 1936, President Coching Chu of Zhejiang University again invited him to come back. In August 1936, Shu was promoted to associate professor, and in 1937, professor. At Zhejiang University, Shu closely collaborated with Kan-Chang Wang. During this period, some famous students of his includes: Cheng Kaijia (程开甲), Xu Liangying (许良英), Hu Jimin (胡济民), Zhou Zhicheng (周志成). Most notably, his student Tsung-Dao Lee (李政道) went on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics of 1957 for his work on the violation of parity law in weak interaction. Lee's theory, interestingly, was experimentally verified by Chien-Shiung Wu, another student of Shu.

From 1949 to 1979

In 1952, Shu was transferred to the Department of Physics at Shandong University in Jinan, Shandong Province. In 1954, Shu was transferred to its Department of Oceanography.

In 1956, classified as a head of anti-revolutionary, Shu was purged. In June 1958, during the Anti-Rightist Movement, Shu was classified as an ultra-rightist and an anti-revolutionary. Under the theme of "reform through labor" or laogai, he was sent to work in the construction field of Yuezikou Reservoir (月子口水库) in Qingdao. In 1960, Shu was transferred to the Qingdao Medical College as a teacher, but he was also forced to clean the toilets in the college and washing lab equipments.

On 11 September 1974, Shu partially regained his normal life. In 1978, Shu was transferred to the State Oceanic Administration (国家海洋局) of PR China, and became a professor and senior researcher of oceanic dynamics at its First Research Institute of Oceanography (第一海洋研究所). In 1970s, Shu did successful calculations for the pacific test of Dongfeng V Intercontinental ballistic missile. In 1979, the Chinese Society of Oceanography (中国海洋学会) Oceanic Physics Branch (海洋物理分会) was established in Guangzhou, and Shu was elected as its honorary director-general.

In December 1979, the Chinese government completely removed its classification of Shu as a rightist and anti-revolutionary, and restored his reputation.

From 1979 to death

In August 1981, Shu was elected as the honorary director-general of Shandong Society of Physics (山东物理学). From 1981 to his death, Shu was also the honorary-director of Qingdao Society of Physics (青岛市物理学会). Shu died on 30 October 1985, at the age of 77.

Selected publications


  • Selected Academic Works of Shu Xingbei (《束星北学术论文选集》); Ocean Press; ISBN 978-7-5027-6890-4; 2007.
  • General Relativity (textbook) (《狭义相对论》); Qingdao Press; ISBN 7-5436-1383-2; 1995.


Memorial essays

  • 许良英,《Xu Liangying: Mr. Shu Xingbei as I Know; Chinese Science Bulletin; 23rd Dec, 2005)
  • 李政道,《Tsung-Dao Lee: The Memorial of Shu Xingbei; China Ocean News; 25th Sep, 2007)
  • 李政道,《Tsung-Dao Lee: (My) Enlightenment Mentor Shu Xingbei; China Ocean News; 12th Oct, 2007)
  • 王淦昌,《Wang Ganchang: The Great Life of Shu Xingbei; China Ocean News; 25th Sep, 2007)
  • 程开甲,《Cheng Kaijia: Never Bend-over Facing Truth; China Ocean News; 25th Sep, 2007)

External links

  • 100 Anniversary Commemoration Celebration of Shu Xingbei Held Yesterday (in English, 2007-09-29)
  • Shu Xingbei’s Former Residence (in English,
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