Samuel Chao Chung Ting
Samuel Ting after a presentation at the Kennedy Space Center in October 2010
|Born||January 27, 1936|
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
|Alma mater||University of Michigan|
|Known for||Discovery of the J/ψ particle|
Founder of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment
|Spouse(s)||Kay Kuhne (divorced)|
|Awards||Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award (1975)|
Nobel Prize for Physics (1976)
Eringen Medal (1977)
De Gasperi Award (1988)
Gold Medal for Science from Brescia (1988)
NASA Public Service Medal (2001)
|Institutions||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
Samuel Chao Chung Ting (Chinese: 丁肇中; pinyin: Dīng Zhàozhōng, 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 founder and principal investigator for the international $2 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, United States of America. His parents, Kuan-hai Ting and Tsun-ying Jeanne Wong, met and got married as graduate students at the University of Michigan.
Ting's parents returned to China two months after his birth. Due to the Japanese invasion, his education was disrupted. Because of the Chinese Civil War and the subsequent split of China into the two separate regions, his parents moved to Taiwan and started to teach engineering at National Taiwan University (NTU). From 1950, Ting attended Chien Kuo Middle School and Taiwan Provincial Engineering College (now National Cheng Kung University), but he completed his college studies in the US.
In 1956, Ting attended the University of Michigan. There, he studied engineering, mathematics, and physics. In 1959, he was awarded B.S.E. (in mathematics) and B.S.E. (in physics), and in 1962, he earned a doctorate in physics. In 1963, he worked at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (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 was awarded Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award (in 1976), Nobel Prize in Physics (in 1976), Eringen Medal (in 1977), DeGaspari Award in Science from the Government of Italy (in 1988), Gold Medal for Science from Brescia, Italy (in 1988), and NASA Public Service Medal (in 2001).
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." The discovery was made in 1974 when Ting was heading a research team at MIT exploring new regimes of high energy particle physics.
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 Nobel banquet speech, Ting emphasized the importance of experimental work:
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.
This project is a massive $2 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.
Ting lived in a turbulent age during his childhood and his family gave him a big influence. In his biographical for the Nobel Prize, he recalled:
In 1960 Ting married Kay Louise Kuhne, an architect, and together they had two daughters, Jeanne Ting Chowning and Amy Ting. In 1985 he married Dr. Susan Carol Marks, and they had one son, Christopher, born in 1986.
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