Life of Wu Ta-you
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Portrait of Wu Ta-you

Wu Ta-you (1907~2000) was born in Guangzhou and received his doctorate in 1933 at age 26. He began to give classes on Higher Physics at the Southwestern United University in Szechwan in 1941. Winners of the Nobel Prize for Physics, Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang, were his students then. In fact, they consider Wu as their teacher for life.


    Wu returned to Taiwan in 1956 on the invitation of Hu Shih. When Hu recommended Wu to Chiang Kai-shek to chair the Academia Sinica, “China needs Mr. Democracy and Mr. Science after the May 4th Movement. I can devote myself to the philosophical and intellectual reform of China in order to pave way for the democratic development of China. But for the science development, we need somebody else, and he is Wu,” said Hu (Yang & Pang, 2005).

  Wu is known as the father of physics in China and has spared no pain to promote the basic science and science education in Taiwan. He was an internationally respected physicist and chaired the Academia Sinica during 1983-94. Besides papers on physics, Wu was a productive writer in extensive areas. He believed, “I am contented if every speech I made or every article I wrote can influence one or two persons.” He was known to the public as a straightforward person, “I don’t care if I offend anyone, I just want to tell the truth.” He was an honest and humorous person like a child. One day he was traveling overseas, when someone saw something arrogant on the wall, he laughed and said, “Why the wall didn’t fall when the wind broke so big?”  Wu went to the other side of the wall and said, “Somebody else broke wind on this side to support the wall!” This showed the humorous side of the Wu.   


***Pictures and contents in this page are retrieved from the visit of the Wu Ta-you Memorial Hall and the following website**