Shen Chun-shan

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Shen Chun-shan
Born(1932-08-29)29 August 1932
Died12 September 2018(2018-09-12) (aged 86)
NationalityRepublic of China (Taiwan)
Alma mater
Employer National Tsing Hua University
Chinese name
Chinese 沈君山
Hanyu Pinyin Shěn Jūnshān
Wade–Giles Shen3
Hokkien POJ Sím Kun-san

Shen Chun-shan (29 August 1932 – 12 September 2018) was a Chinese physicist in Taiwan who served as president of National Tsing Hua University from 1994 to 1997. [1] [2] He was known as one of the "four princes of Taiwan" along with Chen Li-an, Fredrick Chien, and Lien Chan, all of whose fathers attained prominence in politics prior to their sons' successes. [3]

China State in East Asia

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

National Tsing Hua University university in Hsinchu City, Taiwan

National Tsing Hua University is a research university located in Hsinchu City, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Chen Li-an Taiwanese politician

Chen Li-an, sometimes spelled Chen Lu-an, is an electrical engineer, mathematician and former Taiwanese politician.


Early life and education

Shen was born in Nanjing; his paternal family roots are in Yuyao, Zhejiang. His father Shen Tsung-han  [ zh ] was an agricultural expert. [3] Shen's parents were both highly educated and had studied in the United States; his maternal grandfather also went to France as an exchange student. [3] Shen followed his father to Taiwan a few years later in 1949. [3] Shen's father rose to further political prominence in Taiwan, eventually becoming the chairman of the Council of Agriculture. [3]

Nanjing Prefecture-level & Sub-provincial city in Jiangsu, Peoples Republic of China

Nanjing, formerly romanized as Nanking and Nankin, is the capital of Jiangsu province of the People's Republic of China and the second largest city in the East China region, with an administrative area of 6,600 km2 (2,500 sq mi) and a total population of 8,270,500 as of 2016. The inner area of Nanjing enclosed by the city wall is Nanjing City (南京城), with an area of 55 km2 (21 sq mi), while the Nanjing Metropolitan Region includes surrounding cities and areas, covering over 60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi), with a population of over 30 million.

Yuyao County-level City in Zhejiang, Peoples Republic of China

Yuyao is a county-level city in the northeast of Zhejiang province, China. It is under the jurisdiction of the sub-provincial city of Ningbo.

Zhejiang Province

Zhejiang, is an eastern coastal province of China. Zhejiang is bordered by Jiangsu and Shanghai to the north, Anhui to the northwest, Jiangxi to the west, and Fujian to the south. To the east is the East China Sea, beyond which lie the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.

Shen graduated from National Taiwan University's physics department in 1955. [4] In 1957, he left Taiwan for the United States, to enroll in a doctoral program in physics from the University of Maryland, from which he graduated in 1961. [2] His dissertation was entitled "Dispersion relation for the electron impact width and shift of an isolated line". [5]

National Taiwan University A national university in Taipei

National Taiwan University is a national university in Taipei City, Taiwan. NTU is the most prestigious comprehensive university in Taiwan and one of the top ranked universities in the world. It consists of 11 colleges, 56 departments, 112 graduate institutes, four research centers and a school of professional education and continuing studies.

Physics Study of the fundamental properties of matter and energy

Physics is the natural science that studies matter and its motion and behavior through space and time and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.

University of Maryland, College Park public research university in the city of College Park in Prince Georges County, Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park is a public research university in College Park, Maryland. Founded in 2006, UMD is the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland, and is the largest university in both the state and the Washington metropolitan area, with more than 41,000 students representing all fifty states and 123 countries, and a global alumni network of over 360,000. Its twelve schools and colleges together offer over 200 degree-granting programs, including 92 undergraduate majors, 107 master's programs, and 83 doctoral programs. UMD is a member of the Association of American Universities and competes in intercollegiate athletics as a member of the Big Ten Conference.


Shen went on teach at Princeton University and Purdue University as well as taking up a position at NASA. [2]

Princeton University University in Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.

Purdue University public research university in West Lafayette, Indiana, United States

Purdue University is a public research university in West Lafayette, Indiana, and the flagship campus of the Purdue University system. The university was founded in 1869 after Lafayette businessman John Purdue donated land and money to establish a college of science, technology, and agriculture in his name. The first classes were held on September 16, 1874, with six instructors and 39 students.

NASA space-related agency of the United States government

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

Return to Taiwan

Shen returned to Taiwan in 1973 to take up a post as the head of National Tsing Hua University's sciences faculty, at a salary only one-eighth that which he received in the United States, earning him praise as a "model of patriotism" for his actions. [4] While maintaining his teaching position, he also served as the head of various semi-official think tanks until 1984. [4]

Shen formally returned to politics in 1988 with his naming as Minister without Portfolio in the Executive Yuan, an appointment which drew surprise at the time because he was not then a member of the Kuomintang. [4] He later served as a member of the Central Election Commission, a member of the Council of the Academia Sinica, and most prominently with the National Unification Council, as a member of which he made three visits to Zhongnanhai to meet with People's Republic of China leaders. [3] [4] During these meetings, Shen who supported unification, pointed out to Communist Party general secretary Jiang Zemin the need to respect people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. [6]

Executive Yuan The executive body of the Republic of China

The Executive Yuan is the executive branch of the government of the Republic of China on Taiwan.

Central Election Commission (Taiwan) agency overseeing electoral affairs in the Republic of China

The Central Election Commission is the permanent statutory agency responsible for managing local and national elections in the Republic of China (Taiwan). It is an important agency which carries out elections and enhances the democracy in the country. It is also charged with improving the election legal system, improve the quality of service, reinforce impartiality and independence. It has offices in all counties, cities, and municipalities. It is headed by the Chairman of commissioners or Chief of Commissioners.

Academia Sinica National Academy of Taiwan

Academia Sinica, headquartered in Nangang District, Taipei, is the national academy of Taiwan. It supports research activities in a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from mathematical and physical sciences, to life sciences, and to humanities and social sciences. As an educational institute, it provides PhD training and scholarship through its English-language Taiwan International Graduate Program in biology, agriculture, chemistry, physics, informatics, and earth and environmental sciences. Academia Sinica is ranked 144th in Nature Publishing Index - 2014 Global Top 200 and 22nd in Reuters World's Most Innovative Research Institutions. The current president since 2016 is James C. Liao, an expert in metabolic engineering, systems biology and synthetic biology.

Shen took up his post as the president of National Tsing Hua University in 1993; he retired from that position and from academic life in 1997. [1]

Other activities

Outside of his academic and political work, Shen enjoyed playing Go and contract bridge. [7] He was a member of the Republic of China team that finished second in the 1969 Bermuda Bowl world teams bridge championship, a particularly notable success given that he and teammate Frank Huang had never previously played as partners. [8] [9] He was ranked as a 6th-dan go player. [10] In 1978, he got Harvey Feldman, then Director of the United States Department of State's Office of Republic of China Affairs, to reveal over a game of Go the timetable for the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations which would end formal relations between Washington and Taipei. [11] Novelist Jin Yong introduced Shen to world Go champion and People's Republic of China citizen Nie Weiping in 1984 in Hong Kong; the two would go on to become good friends through their mutual interest in both Go and bridge, though they did not have many opportunities to meet. [12] In 1991, they were able to integrate their bridge play into cross-straits diplomacy, entering the 1991 Far East Championships in Guangzhou as partners. [13] 9th-dan professional Go player Cho U also credited Shen with teaching him the game as a child; the two first played when Cho was seven. [10]

Shen started the first overseas chapter of the University of Maryland's alumni association, and was a member of the first group elected to their Alumni Hall of Fame when it was established in 1995. [2] [14]

Illness and death

Shen's health deteriorated further after his retirement; he suffered his first stroke in June 1999. In September 2005, a year and a half after the 2004 publication of the first portion of his memoirs, he suffered his second stroke. [15] However, even after his second stroke, he continued writing; his series of biographies of five Go masters Go Seigen, Minoru Kitani, Rin Kaiho, Cho Hunhyun, and Nie Weiping was published in June 2006. [16] On 6 July 2007, he suffered his third stroke, involving intracranial hemorrhage; he was hospitalised at Hsinchu's Mackay Memorial Hospital. [17]

After surgery, his condition stabilised, but he was left in a coma. Later in the year, he was transferred to Wanfang Hospital. Doctors there assessed his condition as roughly nine points on the Glasgow Coma Scale, meaning that his brain was still basically in good condition, and there remained a possibility that he might regain awareness. [18] In early 2008, he showed some response to voices, and his condition was reportedly continuing to improve. [19] However, from 2012 until his death, he remained comatose. [20]

Shen had many famous visitors while in his coma. In October 2009, Nie Weiping travelled to Taiwan to see Shen, in what he described as a "final visit". [12] Chi Cheng also came to sing to Shen every so often, not knowing whether he could hear her or not; she and her former Tsing Hua professor visited Shen in January 2010 while in Hsinchu. [21] Ma Ying-jeou paid a visit in February 2011, and recited poetry for Shen, to which Shen reportedly showed some response. [22]

Shen was sent to Mackay Memorial Hospital in Hsinchu on 5 September 2018, with a fever and a swollen belly where he went for colonoscopy screening. The doctors found a twisted and necrotic section in Shen's intestine, the statement said, CNA reports. [23] He died on 12 September from a ruptured intestine, aged 86. [24]

Minor planet

In May 2009, the International Astronomical Union announced that they had formally accepted the suggestion to name a minor planet discovered in April 2006 after Shen, making its official designation 202605 Shenchunshan. [25]


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  1. 1 2 "沈君山校長/President Shen Chun-shan", Digital Archives (in Chinese), National Tsing Hua University, archived from the original on 23 January 2008, retrieved 3 January 2008
  2. 1 2 3 4 Hall of Fame, University of Maryland Alumni Association, 2007, retrieved 8 July 2015
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Liu, Lingbin (19 April 2007), 台湾"四大公子"的人生传奇 [The legendary lives of Taiwan's 'Four Princes'], United Daily News (in Chinese), archived from the original on 21 July 2011, retrieved 5 January 2008
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 沈君山先生简介 [Profile of Mr. Shen Chun-shan], Sina Finance (in Chinese), 18 May 2006, retrieved 4 January 2008
  5. Shen, Chun-shan (1961), Dispersion relation for the electron impact width and shift of an isolated line, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park, OCLC   18141372
  7. 沈君山:追寻生命的无穷可能性 [Shen Chun-shan: Pursuing life's limitless possibilities], Sina News (in Chinese), 13 August 2004, retrieved 3 January 2008
  8. Goren, Charles (21 July 1969), "Mystic Wei Of The East", Sports Illustrated, retrieved 12 March 2009
  9. Truscott, Alan (8 December 1981), "Bridge: Video Terminals Are Used In Two Matches in Taiwan", The New York Times, retrieved 12 March 2009
  10. 1 2 Lin, Ying-che; Chen, Wan-chien; Liang, Yu-fang (2 May 2006), 張栩拜師 沈君山只敢當乾爹 [Cho U pays his respects to his teacher; Shen Chun-shan only dares to call himself "godfather"], United Daily News, retrieved 4 November 2009
  11. Fu, Yi-ping (26 February 2009), 中美斷交前… 費浩偉與沈君山的一盤棋 [Before the end of ROC-US relations: the Go match between Harvey Feldman and Shen Chun-shan], United Daily News, retrieved 19 August 2009
  12. 1 2 聶衛平赴台探望沈君山 好友成植物人 [Nie Weiping goes to Taiwan to visit Shen Chun-shan; his good friend has become a 'vegetable'], China Review News, 12 October 2009, retrieved 29 October 2009
  13. Truscott, Alan (17 February 1991), "Bridge", The New York Times, retrieved 12 March 2009
  14. Alumni Hall of Fame, University of Maryland Alumni Association, 2007, archived from the original on 9 May 2008, retrieved 5 January 2008
  15. 沈君山新書《浮生後記》 記錄30年兩岸民主發展 [Shen Chun-shan's new book 'Memoirs of a Floating Life' records thirty years of democratic development on both sides of the Taiwan Strait], Eastern Television (in Chinese), 7 April 2004, retrieved 5 January 2008
  16. Xuan, Huifeng (8 January 2007), 前台灣清華大學校長沈君山:很想去北京看奧運會 [Shen Chun-shan, former head of Taiwan's Tsing Hua University: I want to go to Beijing to see the Olympics], People's Daily (in Chinese), retrieved 4 January 2008
  17. Huang, Weihan (7 July 2007), 沈君山三度中風 新竹馬偕發病危通知 [Shen Chun-shan suffers third stroke; in critical condition at Mackay], Eastern Television (in Chinese), retrieved 5 January 2008
  18. 新竹清华前校长沈君山昏迷不醒 [Former Hsinchu Tsing Hua University President Shen Chun-shan Remains in Coma], Sina News, 7 January 2008, retrieved 12 March 2009
  19. Lin, Chin-hsiu (22 March 2008), 沈君山對聲光有反應了 是否表示病情有進步? [Shen Chun-shan responding to voices; does this mean his condition is improving?], United Evening News, p. A11, archived from the original on 11 June 2011, retrieved 12 March 2009
  20. 李坤建 (24 September 2012), "沈君山、陳力俊合影 師生情深", China Times, archived from the original on 27 September 2012, retrieved 9 October 2012
  21. Li, Ching-lin (21 January 2010), 沈君山病無起色 紀政哼歌喚 [Shen Chun-shan's illness shows no improvement; Chi Cheng hums songs for him], United Daily News, retrieved 2 March 2010
  22. "馬英九探望前台灣清華校長沈君山 分享當年送別詩", Ta Kung Pao , 28 February 2011, archived from the original on 24 March 2012, retrieved 13 June 2011
  23. "Ex-Tsing Hua University head die". The Standard Section News. 12 Sep 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  24. Kuan, Rui-ping; Lee, Shu-hua; Hsu, Elizabeth (12 September 2018). "Former Tsing Hua University president dies aged 86". Central News Agency. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  25. "Newly spotted minor planet dubbed 'Kaohsiung'". Taiwan Today. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
Academic offices
Preceded by
R. C. T. Lee
President of National Tsing Hua University
Succeeded by
Chen Xinxiong