Born in China in 1943, Frank Shu was educated in the United States, where he went to college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1968. He held faculty appointments at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the University of California at Berkeley before becoming President of National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan from 2002-2006. From 1994 to 1996, he served as President of the American Astronomical Society. He is presently a University Professor of the University of California’s ten campuses and a Distinguished Professor of Physics at University of California at San Diego.
Professor Shu is known for pioneering theoretical work in the structure of spiral galaxies, the process of mass transfer in close binary stars, the dynamics of planetary rings, the birth and early evolution of stars and planetary systems, and the origin of primitive meteorites. He has received a number of honors and awards including the Warner Prize, and the Brouwer Award from the American Astronomical Society, and the Heinemann Prize from the American Institute of Physics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World, and Academia Sinica in Taiwan. In the last capacity, he helped to found the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, a task in which he gratefully received much support and guidance from the then-President of Academia Sinica, Professor Ta-You Wu.