Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Samuel Chao Chung Ting and Susan Marks (AMWF History)

Since the Nobel committee introduced this year’s prize winners last week, it’s the perfect time to salute Nobel laureates in AMWF history.

Today, I’d like to give a nod to American physicist Samuel Chao Chung Ting (丁肇中), honored in 1976, along with Burton Richter, for this breakthrough in physics:

In order to search for new particles at a higher mass, I brought my group back to the United States in 1971 and started an experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory. In the fall of 1974 we found evidence of a new, totally unpredicted, heavy particle – the J particle. Since then a whole family of new particles has been found.

Ting also broke new ground when it came to his love life. The Chinese American married twice — first to Kay Louise Kuhne (with whom he had two daughters, Jeanne and Amy), and later in 1985 to his current wife Dr. Susan Marks (with whom he has a son named Christopher).

While obviously Ting is remembered for his achievements in physics, you’ve got to appreciate his courage when he first came to the US from China to study:

In China, I had read that many American students go through college on their own resources. I informed my parents that I would do likewise. I arrived at the Detroit airport on 6 September 1956 with $100, which at the time seemed more than adequate. I was somewhat frightened, did not know anyone, and communication was difficult.

And yet he succeeded, beyond imagination. His entire autobiography at the Nobel Prize site is inspiring and worth a read.

Upon accepting his Nobel Prize at the banquet, Ting would say, “I hope that awarding the Nobel Prize to me will awaken the interest of students from the developing nations so that they will realize the importance of experimental work.”

What do you think of Samuel Chao Chung Ting?

Photo credit: By Toastforbrekkie – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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