Professor Louis CHEN conferred the Emeritus Professorship Award


Prof Louis Chen Hsiao Yun was presented the Emeritus Professorship award by Provost Prof TAN Eng Chye at an appreciation dinner organised by the Department of Mathematics on 8 April at Hotel Miramar.


The award of Emeritus Professorship is conferred to full professors on retirement in recognition of their sustained contributions in distinguished scholarship and service to the University.


Prof Chen obtained his B.Sc. (Hons) in Mathematics from the University of Singapore (now National University of Singapore) in 1964 and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Statistics from Stanford University in 1969 and 1971, respectively. During his 43 years with the University, Prof Chen was Head of the Department of Mathematics (from July 1996 to June 2000) and Head of the Department of Statistics and Applied Probability (from July 2002 to June 2004). In July 2000, he became the founding Director of NUS’ Institute for Mathematical Sciences (IMS), which he built up into one of the finest in the world. He served as Director of the Institute for 12 ½ years.


Provost said, “Louis was my teacher, mentor, colleague and friend for more than 30 years. As a teacher, he impressed me on his high standards and his passion for mathematics. Louis was a pioneer who laid strong foundations critical to the development of the Departments of Mathematics as well as Statistics and Applied Probability. His international stature was instrumental in building the Institute for Mathematical Sciences into a highly respected mathematical research institute. We are deeply appreciative and indebted to Louis for his contributions to NUS and the Faculty of Science.”


For his achievements in his field of study, he was appointed Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor (from July 2006 to December 2012). In January 2013, he was appointed Distinguished Professor. Internationally, Prof Chen was the first Asian to be elected President of the Bernoulli Society for Mathematical Statistics and Probability (from August 1997 to July 1999).He received one of the highest honours when he became President of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in August 2004, joining the ranks of the Institute's past presidents who are among the world's finest researchers in probability and statistics.  


Head of Mathematics Prof ZHU Chengbo said, “Apart from his great contributions to probability theory, Louis is a man of multiple talents, who played valuable and varied roles in NUS and in the international research community.”


Prof Chen carried out research work in various areas of probability theory and statistics, namely Stein's method, martingale theory, Poincaré inequalities, and in biomolecular sequence analysis in computational biology. In his pioneering work on Poisson approximation in 1975, he developed a method of calculating the probabilities of occurrences of dependent rare events. This method, which is now known as the Chen-Stein or Stein-Chen method, has found wide-ranging applications in many fields, with lasting impact in science and technology. It has developed into one of the most important areas of discrete probability.


Dean of Science Prof SHEN Zuowei said, “Through the years, I have learnt a lot from Louis. He believes that service is a way of giving back to society. This inspires me to contribute more to service. Louis also sets a good example of mentoring younger colleagues through friendship.”


Following the speeches by the Provost, the Dean and the Head, Prof Chen expressed his thanks to the University, Faculty and Department: “I am thankful to the University for awarding me the title of Emeritus Professor. The time has come for me to do research and the things that I am interested in without distractions. I look forward to my retirement.”




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Dean of Science Prof Shen Zuowei delivered a light-hearted speech.


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Provost Prof Tan Eng Chye presented Prof Chen the Emeritus Professorship award scroll and appreciation gift from the University.


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Head of Mathematics Prof Zhu Chengbo presented Prof Chen a gift, wishing him a happy retirement.


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Prof Louis Chen thanked the University, Faculty and Mathematics Department for their support throughout the years.


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Prof Louis Chen with some of his guests at the appreciation dinner.

(From left: Dr John CHEN, former senior minister of state and brother of Prof Chen, Mr WONG Hung Khim, Prof CHAM Tao Soon, Mr Joseph CHEN and Mr Peter CHEN, brothers of Prof Chen, Prof Bernard TAN, Prof Louis Chen, Dr Ahmad MATTAR, former cabinet minister and student of Prof Chen, Dr Spario SOON, student of Prof Chen, Prof LEE Seng Luan and Mr NG Kok Lip)