Shiing-Shen Chern(1911-2004)was born in China. He graduated from Nankai University in 1930 and the graduate school of Tsinghua University in 1934. He then furthered his studies at the University of Hamburg. He had been professor at the Southwest Associated University, Kunming, China, the University of Chicago, and the University of California at Berkeley. He founded the mathematics research institute at Nankai and was the honorary director from 1992.

Professor Chern received many honours such as the National Academy of Sciences in 1961, the US National Medal of Science in 1975, the Wolf Prize from the Israeli government in 1984, the Lobachevsky Prize from the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2002 and finally the first Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences in 2004. In 2002, he was Honorary President of the International Congress of Mathematicians held at Beijing.

On December 3, 2004 Professor Chern passed away in Tianjin, China at the age of 93.

27 May 2004, Hong Kong