Tsung-Dao Lee (李政道 Pinyin: Lǐ Zhèngdào) (born November 24, 1926) was a Chinese American physicist who, for his work on the parity laws, with Chen Ning Yang, received the Nobel Prize in Physics. Lee and Yang were the first Chinese Nobel winners, both were in their early 30s at the time.
Born in Shanghai, China he studied at a middle school in Jiangxi. The first part of his university education began in the University of Zhejiang, but was interrupted by the war, so continued in the National Southwest Associated University (西南聯合大學) in Kunming the next year, where he met Chen Ning Yang. Lee and Yang went to the University of Chicago in 1946. In 1953, he became an assistant professor at Columbia University, and the university's youngest professor three years later at the age of 29.
After the establishment of relations with the PRC, Lee and his wife, Hui Chung Jeannette Chin (秦惠莙 Qín Huìjùn), were able to go to China, where Lee hosted several lectures and seminars, and supported the China-U.S. Physics Examination and Application.
Lee founded the Chin Hui Chung-Lee Tsung-Dao Chinese Collegian Foundation (秦惠莙—李政道中国大学生见习基金) in Beijing in memory of his wife in 1999, who died 3 years earlier. Those university scholarship winners, usually in the 2nd- or 3rd-year, are called the Chung-Tsung Scholars (莙政学者). Chin and Lee had been married since 1950 and have two sons: James and Stephen.
Lee reads whodunit novels when he does not work on physics.
Chien-Shiung Wu was also instrumental in establishing the parity law with Lee and Yang, but she was also not nominated for the Nobel.