Chung-Pao Wu

Chung-Pao Wu

Died October 3, 2004

After preparing at Victoria Technical School and Queens College, both in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong, Chung Pao entered Yale in September, 1962 and was an intensive physics major, earning his Ph.D. in physics from Yale in 1968. He then became a research staff physicist at Yale’s Electron Linear Accelerator Laboratory and later assistant professor of physics at Nanyang University, Singapore.

For more than 30 years Chung Pao was a member of the technical staff at the David Sarnoff Research Center, Princeton, NJ, concerned with development of semiconductor materials. In 1986 he received an RCA Outstanding Achievement Award. He was the holder of numerous U.S. patents and the author of a large number of technical papers.

Chung Pao died on October 3, 2004, survived by his wife, Margaret, an internist, and sons Herman, Bryan and Winfred.

Eulogizing his father, son Herman said: “Dad was an ideal father figure, devoted and protective of his wife and children to the very end. He was always thorough and extremely careful about any decision which might have ramifications for any of us. He was incredibly smart and well educated, but he was humble about these gifts… During high school, Dad served as our personal bus driver six days a week. We would often ask him to pick us up late because of evening study sessions, sports meets, or orchestra rehearsals, but we never heard him complain once….Dad had a particular fondness for boating…His love for the water was infectious…In his later years, Dad had dreams of a sailboat replete with living quarters large enough for his family, in which he could traverse the eastern seaboard.”

Chung Pao’s widow, Margaret Wu, M.D., remembers, “One of his pastimes was woodwork and simple carpentry. Besides building several pieces of solid wood furniture for our home, he finished our full basement replete with wall units and shelves and also added a large glass-door lined sun room to our home…This October will see the 10th anniversary of Chung’s passing, and this memorial serves as a special remembrance of my late better half. Yes, he was always the better half.”

Bainbridge Cowell remembers:
I think of Chung-Pao Wu as emblematic of the international students in our class. In Silliman College he became part of our entry network. His family in Hong Kong had sent him to Yale with the understanding he could return after earning a Ph.D. in nuclear physics. We admired his dedication: he would arise at 6 a.m., fill nearly 18 hours with classes, labs, and study, and hit the sack at midnight. Chung-Pao especially strove to improve his English. To enhance his social life, we invited him to midnight pizza escapes and other adventures. He taught me to eat with chopsticks – a skill I use often! After graduation we went separate ways, but in 1970 I ran into Chung-Pao at the Yale Co-op. He had earned his Ph.D. in 1969, gone home for his first visit since 1961, and returned for a post-doctoral fellowship. He registered a corporation in Los Angeles in 1990. I wonder if Chung-Pao ever applied any of his hardearned professional qualifications in China.