The University Record, October 24, 1994

Nobel Laureate Joseph Taylor will give Wu Lecture in Physics

Nobel Laureate Joseph H. Taylor will deliver the third annual Ta-You Wu Lecture in Physics at 4 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 27) in Rackham Amphitheater. He will speak on “Binary Pulsars and Relativistic Gravity.”

Taylor is the James McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics at Princeton University.

Of Taylor’s discovery of the first binary pulsar, for which he received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics with Russell Hulse, the New York Times wrote:

“The discovery was important to astrophysics, but it had an especially powerful impact on a more general field of physics—the study of gravity.

“The binary pulsar exhibited the extreme warping of space and time ... and this lent strong support to several of the predictions of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Observations furnished indirect but persuasive proof of the existence of gravity waves, which has long been postulated but never directly observed.”

The Ta-You Wu Lectureship was established in 1991 through gifts from the U-M Alumni Association in Taiwan, “as a permanent tribute to Wu, one of the Department of Physics’ distinguished alumni.”

Wu received his Ph.D. from the U-M in 1933. His early work on heavy elements pointed to the existence of trans-uranium atoms.

He is the author of 21 books, including a seven-part series on theoretical physics and seven volumes of collected essays.

In 1991, the U-M awarded Wu an honorary doctor of science degree. The citation read, in part:

“More than any other individual, Ta-You Wu is responsible for raising physics to its current level in both mainland China and Taiwan [and] it is chiefly for his extraordinary work as a teacher and scientific statesman that Dr. Wu has become known throughout the world.”