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Chung-Tao Yang: 1923-2005

Chung-Tao Yang

Dr. Chung-Tao Yang, emeritus professor of mathematics and former chairman of the department, died September 15, 2005 of cancer. He was 82 years old.

Dr. Yang was born in Pingyang, a small rural village in southeastern China. He graduated at the top of his class in 1946 from Zhejiang University. In the early 1950s he earned his doctorate degree from Tulane.

“In the field of topological transformation groups, Chung-Tao Yang and his longtime collaborator Deane Montgomery of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton were regarded by many as the world’s leaders,” said Dr. Herman Gluck, professor of mathematics.

He taught at the University of Illinois and at Nankai Institute in China and in Taiwan. He became a visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

In 1956 he joined Penn as an assistant professor of mathematics. Two years later he was promoted to associate professor, and became full professor in 1961. In the 1960s, Dr. Yang helped to raise the level of the mathematics department at Penn to international prominence. In the early 1970s he served as its graduate chairman, and from 1978 to 1983 as its chairman.  He earned emeritus status in 1991.

Dr. Yang was an honorary member of Academia Sinica, the most prominent academic institution in Taiwan. He was instrumental in raising funds for a mathematics institute at Zhejiang University.

Dr. Yang is survived by his wife, Agnes; sons, Deane Yang and Kenneth Chang; daughters, Lynne Hamrick and Jeanne Yang; and seven grandchildren.