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Wu-ki Tung April 2, 2009

Posted by gordonwatts in physics life, university.

Wu-Ki Tung just passed away.


Wu-Ki is famous for his work on parton distribution functions (PDFs). I’ve known of him for years – but after retiring from MSU he moved to Seattle to be near his kids. Once here he joined the department of physics as an affiliate. That was when I got to know him personally. He attended many of our joint theory-experiment meetings. He helped me out a bit when I was teaching my graduate particle physics course (he wrote a book related to the topic). He smart and knowledgeable and always helpful. He will be missed.

I stole the picture from his retirement symposium page.



1. Michael Schmitt - April 3, 2009

Wu-Ki was there when I visited Seattle last winter for the INT08-3 workshop. He joined our “cookies and coffee” breaks and brought lots of questions and observations to the discussion. In fact, he delivered an impromptu talk on PDF issues at the LHC, which stimulated my thinking on the subject quite a bit. His contributions, perspective and wisdom certainly will be missed.

2. Tim Tait - April 3, 2009

Wu-Ki was an important influence on me when I was a graduate student. In fact, in an alternate reality (one in which he didn’t kick me out of his office because he had too many graduate students already), he might have ended up as my thesis advisor.

Having had a few years to observe him, he could sometimes be severe. But he was also always kind, patient, and encouraging. Through the PDFs he has made a major contribution to our understanding of Tevatron data, and one of the pillars we will need to understand LHC data. My understanding from our CTEQ colleagues is that he took important steps to pass the torch before he passed on… every time I call a CTEQ PDF, I will continue to think of him…

I am really glad I had a chance to see him again at the Higgs workshop you guys organized in Seattle this past January. I knew he was sick, but had no idea that the end was so close.

3. Gordon Watts - April 6, 2009

Thanks, both of you, for adding these comments.

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