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Ta-You Wu Lecture

The University of Michigan's Department of Physics hosts the annual Ta-You Wu Lecture, which is one of the most prestigious lecture events in our Department. The Lectureship was endowed in 1991 through generous gifts from the University of Michigan Alumni Association in Taiwan. It is named in honor of Michigan Physics alumnus and honorary Doctor of Science, Ta-You Wu, one of the central figures of the 20th century in the Chinese and Taiwanese physics communities.

2021 Ta-You Wu Lecture in Physics

Klaus von Klitzing, Director Emeritus, Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Germany
Nobel Laureate, Physics  1985


Klaus von Klitzing in the cryostat lab. (Photo: Klaus Mellenthin)

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
4:00-5:00 PM
Location: Rackham Amphiteatre
University of Michigan Ann Arbor Campus
Seating Begins at 3:00 PM!

This event will also be live-streamed. See below for details.*

A Nocturnal Discovery that Triggered a Revolution in International Metrology

The quantum Hall effect, an unexpected discovery at 2 a.m. on the 5th of February 1980 led to my Nobel Prize in 1985 and to a realization of a resistance standard based on fundamental constants. Since fundamental constants are the most stable quantities in our universe, a new international system of units based on constants of nature was introduced in 2019. The talk presents an overview of the quantum Hall effect and this importance for our new definition of the mass unit kilogram.

Biographical Sketch for Dr. von Klitzing
Dr. von Klitzing studied physics at the University of Braunschweig and received his Ph.D. from the University of Würzburg in 1972. After research stays in England, the USA, and France, he became a Professor at the Technical University in Munich in 1980. Since 2018 he is director emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, Germany. He has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1985 for the discovery of the Quantum Hall Effect. His present research activities concentrate on quantum transport in low-dimensional electronic systems.

He has published more than 500 papers and received a large number of national and international awards. He holds 22 honorary degrees. He is a member of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina and a foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.


Location: Rackham Amphitheatre
University of Michigan Ann Arbor Campus
915 E. Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

The Rackham Amphitheatre is located on the fourth floor of the Rackham Building. Doors to the fourth floor Rackham Amphitheatre will open at 3:00 pm for seating. Please come early as there will be no admittance after the lecture has started! However, there will be an overflow room, Assembly Hall, directly across from the Rackham Amphitheatre.

City Parking: Maynard Street Parking Structure
324 Maynard St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Per University policy, each guest will need to wear a face-covering. The University also requires guests entering U-M buildings to complete a ResponsiBLUE screening via their smartphone:

*The live-streamed lecture will be available at 4:00 pm on YouTube

Questions? Contact Carol Rabuck,


Previous Lectures in This Series

View an assortment of past Ta-You Wu lectures on YouTube.

  • 2019 Nobel laureate Donna Strickland: Generating High-Intensity, Ultrashort Optical Pulses
  • 2018 Nobel laureate F. Duncan HaldaneTopological Quantum Matter, Entanglement, and a "Second Quantum Revolution"
  • 2017 Nobel laureate Kip S. Thorne: Exploring the Universe with Gravitational Waves: From the Big Bang to Black Holes 
  • 2016 David Spergel: Our Simple but Strange Universe
  • 2015 Dr. Eric BetzigImaging Life at High Spatiotemporal Resolution
  • 2014 Wendy Freedman: The Universe: Continuing Surprises
  • 2014 Dennis Overbye: Confessions of a Dinosaur in the Age of New Media
  • 2013 Nobel laureate David WinelandSuperposition, Entanglement, and Raising Schrödinger's Cat
  • 2012 No lecture this year
  • 2011 Gérard Mourou, Former Director of the Laboratoire d’ Optique Appliquée at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Technique Avancée & Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique (France): Laser-Based High Energy Physics
  • 2010 Nobel laureate Samuel C. C. Ting: An Experiment to Explore the Mysteries of Space: The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the International Space Station
  • 2009 Helen Quinn: Wandering Planets, Falling Apples, Curving Spaces, Whirling Stars: How Unraveling the Mysteries of Gravity Has Taught Us About the Universe.
  • 2008 Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek: The Universe is a Strange Place
  • 2007 100th Birthday Celebration of the late Ta-You Wu: Distinguished Lecturer, Frank H. ShuThe Formation of Stars and Planetary Systems
  • 2006 Nobel laureate Eric A. CornellIs Warm Glass More Sticky Than Cold Glass? Temperature and Casimir Force
  • 2005 Nobel laureate Anthony J. LeggettDoes the Everyday World Really Obey Quantum Mechanics?
  • 2004 Nobel laureate David J. Gross: Asymptotic Freedom and the Emergence of QCD (Or How I Won the Nobel Prize)
  • 2003 Sir Martin Rees: Where is Cosmology Going?
  • 2002 David Wilkinson (1935-2002): The Cosmic Microwave Backround Radiation
  • 2001 Freeman Dyson: Is Life Analog or Digital?
  • 2000 Nobel laureate Horst L. Stormer: Fractional Electronic Charges and other Tales from Flatland
  • 1999 Nobel laureate Steven Chu: Seeing and Holding onto Atoms and Biological Molecules
  • 1998 Benoit B. Mandelbrot (1924-2010): Fractals and Scale-Invariant Roughness in
    the Sciences
  • 1997 Paul C. W. Chu: The Path of Zero Resistance
  • 1996 Nobel laureate Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (1932-2007): Principles of Adhesion
  • 1995 Nobel laureate T. D. Lee: Symmetry and Asymmetry
  • 1994 Nobel laureate Joseph Taylor: Binary Pulsars and Relativistic Gravity
  • 1993 Abraham Pais (1918-2000): George Uhlenbeck Remembered
  • 1992 Nobel laureate C. N. Yang: Considerations on Carbon 60