**** Obituary: Professor Wu-Ki Tung****

Age 69, resident of Seattle, passed away on March 30, 2009. Born in Yunan, China, moved to the US in 1961 to continue his studies, and lived most recently in Okemos, Michigan before moving to Seattle in 2005. Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University, and Affiliated Professor at University of Washington, Wu-Ki devoted his career to the field of high energy particle physics. He enjoyed professional collaborations and friendships with scientists around the world. Wu-Ki is survived by his wife of 45 years, Beatrice, sons Lei and Bruce, grandchildren Max and Allie, and his mother, Wang Shou-Ching, age 96. Kind gestures of remembrance may be made in the form of contributions to Providence Hospice of Seattle, 425 Pontius Ave N., #300, Seattle, WA 98109.


Professor Wu-Ki Tung, among the most prolific and influential theoretical high energy physicists in a generation, died on March 30th, 2009 in Seattle, Washington. Wu-Ki Tung was born in Yunan, China and educated at National Taiwan University. In 1961 he came to the United States to continue his graduate studies at Yale University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1966. He was on the faculties of University of Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Michigan State University (MSU). At IIT, he served as chair of the Department of Physics and it was there that he wrote what is widely considered to be one of the most influential books on Group Theory for physicists, used all over the world. Wu-Ki was influential in many areas of theoretical physics, unique in his ability to span the spectrum from the mathematical and formal to phenomenological.

Wu-Ki's career truly bloomed in the past twenty years or so. He is the founder of “The Coordinated Theoretical-Experimental Project on Quantum Chromodynamics” Collaboration, or as it is known throughout the High Energy Physics Community, CTEQ. This organization has been active and influential since 1992 and currently consists of 32 physicists from 18 universities. Both because it changed the way in which measurements are made, and because it brought him close to his friends, CTEQ is perhaps his most treasured legacy.

He led the CTEQ global analysis group to determine parton distribution functions (PDFs) from high energy scattering experiments, starting with deep-inelastic scattering to the full range of data from hadron colliders. His group has made great advances in our knowledge of the parton distributions in hadrons, and became one of two leading efforts world-wide in developing a series of PDFs, reflecting our growing knowledge in hadron physics. These PDFs are among the standard inputs to compare theory calculations to the Fermilab Tevatron and the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments. Wu-Ki’s group at MSU was also the first to recognize the importance of developing a systematic error analysis for theglobal analysis which has now been widely used in various experimental and theoretical analyses.

CTEQ was very much a collaboration of friends for Wu-Ki and he was delighted in bringing people together. His 40 years of practicing science in this way–as a community–naturally led to a 2007 scientific symposium in his honor at MSU, “Wu-Ki Tung Symposium”, which brought colleagues and friends from all over the world to celebrate the physics, guided and influenced by him.

Wu-Ki was also a founding member of INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF CHINESE PHYSICISTS AND ASTRONOMERS (OCPA). He participated in the first meeting to organize OCPA on the Stanford campus during the 1989 Lepton-Photon Symposium and has been actively involved in its development and activities ever since. He had served OCPA in many capacities.

Wu-Ki was a true gentleman, a thoughtful and kind person who never forgot that in the end there is more to life than physics. He loved his work, thoroughly enjoyed his friends, was always immensely proud of his family, and treasured academia. He faced his sickness with immense courage, and he continued to work until the very end. The last publication by himself is an invited article on Bjorken scaling in the new on-line “Scholarpedia” web site, sent in less than a month before his death. This is the way that he will always be remembered.


Edited by,
C.-P. Yuan
for OCPA, on April 7, 2009