Samuel Chao-chung Ting

Samuel Chao Chung Ting
Kennedy Space Center in October 2010
Born (1936-01-27) January 27, 1936 (age 78)
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Nationality United States
Fields Physics
Institutions CERN
Columbia University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Alma mater University of Michigan
Doctoral advisor L.W. Jones, M.L. Perl
Known for Discovery of the J/ψ particle
Notable awards Nobel Prize for Physics (1976)
Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award (1975)
De Gasperi Award (1988),
Spouse Kay Kuhne, Susan Carol Marks

Samuel Chao Chung Ting (Chinese: 丁肇中; pinyin: Dīng Zhàozhōng; Wade-Giles: Ting Chao-chung) (born January 27, 1936) is an American physicist who received the Nobel Prize in 1976, with Burton Richter, for discovering the subatomic J/ψ particle. He is the principal investigator for the international $1.5 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment which was installed on the International Space Station on 19 May 2011.


Samuel Ting was born on January 27, 1936, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His parents, Kuan-hai Ting (丁觀海) and Tsun-ying Jeanne Wang (王雋英), met and married as graduate students at the University of Michigan. His father's family was from Rizhao County (日照縣) in the Shandong province of China.

Samuel's parents returned to China two months after his birth. Due to the Japanese invasion, Samuel's education was disrupted, and he was mostly home-schooled by his parents. After the war, his parents became professors of engineering and psychology at National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan. From 1948, Samuel attended the prestigious Provincial Chien-Kuo High School (建國中學, now Municipal Taipei Chien-Kuo Senior High School) in Taipei. After high school, he studied one year at National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City.

In 1956, Samuel was invited to attend the University of Michigan. There, he studied engineering, mathematics, and physics. In 1959, he was awarded BAs in both mathematics and physics, and in 1962, he earned a doctorate in physics. In 1963, he worked at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which would later become CERN. From 1965, he taught at Columbia University and worked at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Germany. Since 1969, Ting has been a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Ting is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and an academician of Taiwan's Academia Sinica.

Nobel Prize

Main article: J/ψ meson

In 1976, Ting was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, which he shared with Burton Richter of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, for the discovery of the J/ψ meson nuclear particle. They were chosen for the award, in the words of the Nobel committee, "for their pioneering work in the discovery of a heavy elementary particle of a new kind."[1] The discovery was made in 1974 when Ting was heading a research team at MIT exploring new regimes of high energy particle physics.[2]

Ting gave his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in Mandarin. Although there had been Chinese recipients before (Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang), none had previously delivered the acceptance speech in Chinese. In his speech, Ting emphasized that the importance of experimental work equals that of theoretical work.

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer

In 1995, not long after the cancellation of the Superconducting Super Collider project had severely reduced the possibilities for experimental high-energy physics on Earth, Ting proposed the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a space-borne cosmic-ray detector. The proposal was accepted and he became the principal investigator and has been directing the development since then. A prototype, AMS-01, was flown and tested on Space Shuttle mission STS-91 in 1998. The main mission, AMS-02, was then planned for launch by the Shuttle and mounting on the International Space Station.[3]

This project is a massive $1.5 billion undertaking involving 500 scientists from 56 institutions and 16 countries. After the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, NASA announced that the Shuttle was to be retired by 2010 and that AMS-02 was not on the manifest of any of the remaining Shuttle flights. Dr. Ting was forced to (successfully) lobby the United States Congress and the public to secure an additional Shuttle flight dedicated to this project. Also during this time, Ting had to deal with numerous technical problems in fabricating and qualifying the large, extremely sensitive and delicate detector module for space. AMS-02 was successfully launched on Shuttle mission STS-134 on 16 May 2011 and was installed on the International Space Station on 19 May 2011.[4] [5]

Personal life

In 1960 Ting married Kay Kuhne, and together they had two daughters, Jeanne Ting Chowning and Amy Ting. Jeanne is the Director of Education at the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research. Amy is an artist.

In 1985 he married Dr. Susan Carol Marks, and they had one son, Christopher, who is currently a third-year law student at the University of Michigan Law School.


  • (with S. J. Brodsky) "Atomic Energy Commission), (December 1965).
  • "Massachusetts Institute of Technology, International Conference on High Energy Particle Physics, Palermo, Sicily, Italy, (June 23, 1975).

See also


External links

  • Autobiography
  • United States Department of Energy
  • Faculty page at MIT
  • Bio
  • PBS bio
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.