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Samuel C.C. Ting

Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of Physics
Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1976 (co-recipient)

Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of Physics
Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1976 (co-recipient)

Samuel C.C. Ting
Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of Physics
Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1976 (co-recipient)

Samuel C.C. Ting is the Thomas Dudley Cabot professor of physics at MIT. An MIT faculty member since 1969, he is also the principal investigator for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer project, a particle physics experiment module that was installed on the International Space Station in early 2011. In 1974, while leading a research team at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Professor Ting discovered the J Particle (a new kind of heavy elementary particle), work that led to the 1976 Nobel Prize in physics (shared with Burton Richter). Professor Ting holds two degrees from the University of Michigan: a BA in mathematics and physics and a PhD in physics.

Highlights of this interview include:

  • Birth in the University of Michigan Hospital
  • Growing up in China during the tumultuous 1930s and 1940s
  • Decision to become a physicist
  • Early experimental work
  • The secret to planning successful particle physics experiments
  • Winning the Nobel Prize
  • Influence of parents on his life and work
  • The challenges of leading large international science projects
  • Conceiving of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) project
  • Political ups and downs of the AMS project
  • Getting back on the space shuttle manifest after the AMS mission had been cancelled
  • Culmination of AMS—the delivery of the AMS-2 experiment to the International Space Station on the second-to-last shuttle mission

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