April 22, 2023 – Professor Frank H Shu, Shaw Prize Laureate in Astronomy 2009 and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Academia Sinica, Taiwan, passed away at home in Atherton, CA, USA, at the age of 79.
Professor Shu was born in Kunming, China in 1943, and emigrated shortly to the States with his family at the age of 6. He received his BSc in Physics from MIT in 1963 and his PhD in Astronomy from Harvard University in 1968. He joined the faculty at UC Berkeley in 1973 and was appointed as University Professor in 1998. From 2002 to 2006, he served as President of National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. He then joined the Physics Department at the University of California at San Diego. After his retirement in 2009, he started his work on climate change at Academia Sinica and spun out a private company, Astron Solutions Corporation.
Professor Shu was widely recognized for his life-time contributions in theoretical astronomy. He has spurred fundamental changes in the existing paradigms of three different fields of astrophysics: galactic dynamics, stellar evolution, and the astrophysics of small bodies in the solar system. He received numerous awards for his contributions, including the Shaw Prize in Astronomy 2009.
Professor Shu’s relationship with the Shaw Prize, in fact, predated his receipt of the award. He played a pivotal role in the establishment and growth of the Shaw Prize, serving as the Inaugural Chair of the Shaw Prize in Astronomy Selection Committee from 2003 to 2007. He re-joined the Shaw Prize Foundation in 2018 serving as Member of the Council and Chair of the Board of Adjudicators until his resignment in 2022, further demonstrating his unwavering commitment to the Prize and its mission to honour outstanding achievements in scientific research and application.
Professor Shu will always be remembered for his profound contributions in theoretical astronomy and tireless dedication to promoting excellence in scientific research. The Shaw Prize Foundation extends its heartfelt condolences to Professor Shu’s family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time.