Yuan Tseh Lee was born on 19 November 1936 in the island of Taiwan. He received his B.S. degree from the National Taiwan University in 1959. After finishing his M.S. degree at Tsinghua University, he pursued his Ph.D. thesis research at the University of California at Berkeley under the guidance of the late B.H. Mahan. In 1965, after receiving his Ph.D. degree, he began to conduct reactive scattering experiments in ion-molecule reaction as a post-doctoral fellow in Mahan’s laboratory.
In 1967, Dr. Lee joined Dudley Herschbach’s group at Harvard as a research fellow where they took molecular beam experimentation beyond the alkali age. After being appointed assistant professor at the University of Chicago in 1968, he rapidly made his laboratory the North American capital of molecular beam study. Dr. Lee returned to Berkeley as a full professor in 1974 and significantly expanded his research to include, in addition to crossed molecular beams, studies of reaction dynamics, investigations of various primary photochemical processes, and the spectroscopy of ionic and molecular clusters. In 1994, he retired from his position of University Professor and Principal Investigator for the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley and assumed the position of the President of the Academy of Sciences located in Taipei, the highest ranking academic institution in Taiwan consisting of 30 independent institutes and 250 academicians. In subsequent years, he has transformed the Academy of Sciences into a world class research organization. In 2006 he became President Emeritus and Distinguished Research Fellow at the same institution.
Dr. Lee has received numerous awards and honors, including the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the U.S. National Medal of Science, Faraday Medal and Prize from the Royal Chemical Society of Great Britain and the Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Medal from the Indian National Science Academy. He has also been awarded the Ernest O. Lawrence Award of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Harrison Howe Award, the Peter Debye Award of Physical Chemistry from the American Chemical Society and the Othmer Gold Medal from the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, a foreign member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Göttingen Academy of Sciences, Indian Academy of Sciences, Korean Academy of Science and Technology, and Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, a member of the Academy of Sciences located in Taipei, the Third World Academy of Sciences, and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, an honorary member of the Japan Academy and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He has received Doctor Honoris Causa from thirty-five universities around the world.
Dr Lee took office on 30 September 2011.
by Jacinta Legg