The Bruce Medalists


  Photo ca. 1985 by Jane Scherr, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives
Frank Hsia-San Shu
2 June 1943 2009 Bruce Medalist

Frank Shu was born in Kunming, China and came to the United States at the age of six. He grew up in Chicago and West Lafayette, Indiana, and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at age twenty. He earned his Ph.D. in astronomy at Harvard University in 1968 and taught five years at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. From 1973 to 2002 he was on the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where he was awarded the prestigious title of University Professor in 1998. From 2002 to 2006 he served as president of National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, a position held by his father thirty years earlier. He then returned to California and joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego. In 2009 he retired as University Professor and accepted a position as a member of the Science and Technology Advisory Group and Advisor on Energy to the Premier of Taiwan. He is probably best known for work that started with his undergraduate thesis with C.C. Lin: the density wave theory of spiral structure in disk galaxies. He later made important contributions to the theories of mass transfer in interacting binary stars, the dynamics of planetary rings, the formation of stars and planetary systems, and the origin of chondritic meteorites and their short-lived radioactivities. A successful administrator, he served as chair of the astronomy department at Berkeley and greatly expanded Tsing Hua University during his term as president. His textbook, The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, has been widely used by both undergraduate and graduate students for more than 25 years. He is currently working on climate change.

Personal Web Page
at the University of California, San Diego

Presentation of Bruce medal
Mercury 38, 2, 34 (2009). See also the ASP website.

Other awards
American Astronomical Society, Warner prize, 1977.
American Astronomical Society Division on Dynamical Astronomy, Dirk Brouwer Award, 1996.
American Institute of Physics & American Astronomical Society, Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, 2000.
Shaw Prize Foundation, Shaw Prize, 2009.

Some offices held
American Astronomical Society, President, 1994-96.

Biographical materials
Absolute Astronomy
Raw Science, Who is Dr. Frank Shu? Noted Astrophysicist on Alternative Energies (video, 2014)
Shu, Frank, Autobiography on receiving the Shaw Prize, 2009

AIP Center for History of Physics
A 2009 photo, courtesy of Prof. Shu

Named after him
Lin-Shu Density Wave Theory (with C.C. Lin)
Minor Planet #18238 Frankshu

More references

The Bruce Medalists

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