University of Texas
King Hay Tsui
(January 31, 1945–)



King Hay Tsui


King Hay Tsui was born in Shanghai, China on January 31, 1945 to Chung Tat Shu and Kam Fong Chang (Shu is the last name in Mandarin pronunciation, Tsui is in Cantonese proounciation). His siblings were Yau Lien Shu (sister), Aileen Hu (sister) and Leung Hay Shu (brother). King's father was a female fashion tailor, and he operated a shop in the tourist district of Hong Kong around 1949 for custom-made dresses. During the Korean War period, his business was good due to tourists from Guam Island. Because of this profession, he knew by his own experience how important it was to have a good education and to speak English so, in 1947, his father took his family to Hong Kong to live. At right, we see a primary school picture of King. He was ten years old and the school was Chuan Wah School.






Below is a family photo ca. 1960s.

From left to right: back row,  King Hay Tsui, Yau Lien Shu (sister), Peter Kong (husband of sister Aileen), Aileen Hu (sister) and Leung Hay Shu (brother)
First row: Tsing Lien Hu (stepmother), Chung Tat Shu (father) (Note: Shu is the last name in Mandarin pronunciation, Tsui is in Cantonese pronunciation)

Recognizing the importance of a quality education, his father enrolled King in a quality Baptist Church high school, Pui Ching Middle School. Physics was King's favorite subject at the school. He graduated from the high school in Hong Kong in 1964. There were 190 classmates (in 4 classes) all together. These classmates are now settled around the world with half of them in the US, 20 percent in Canada, 20 percent in Hong Kong and China, 10 percent in Southeast Asia, Australia, and Brazil. They hold a reunion every five years.

Pui Ching Middle School in Hong Kong. King Hay Tsui, third row from back, third from right end with glasses. 1964 Graduation Class.


After graduation, King enrolled in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, graduating with a BS in 1968. Then he entered the graduate school of physics at the University of Texas in 1969. Below, we see a photo of King and his father as he leaves the Hong Kong airport for the U.S.A.

At Texas, he worked in the area of plasma physics. He received his PhD in 1975 under the supervision of Professor Melvin Oakes. His dissertation was entitled, "Large Amplitude Magnetic Pulse Penetration into Cylindrical Plasma."

In 1977, Tsui, always open to new challenges, next accepted a teaching appointment at Universidade Federal Fluminense, Center for General Studies, Department of Physics in Niterói, Brazil. While this meant that he would have to learn Portuguese, his third language, he threw himself into this task and was soon lecturing in his new language.

In Brazil, Tsui began a successful career as a researcher. His first paper there, with K. Jayaram, was on copper vapor arc discharge equilibrium and transport; the paper was titled, "Particle Distributions in Metal Vapour Rare Gas Discharges" and appeared in Journal de Physique, 1979. This work was to be followed by an impressive list of over 70 papers covering topics that included, Alfvén wave heating, free electron lasers, Pierce diode as applied to model coupling of the gas laser discharge channel tube with the charging, celestial mechanics on satellite capture and the irregular arcs of Neptune using a restricted 4-body description. MHD studies of ball lightning and tokamak rotational equilibria and astrophysical plasmas.

King retired from teaching in 2013, however, he continues an active research program.

On January 25, 1995, in Brazil, King married Denize Duråo de Barros Tsui. She had a daughter Michelle and a son Fabio from a previous marriage. The family is shown in the 2019 picture below.

From right to left
Denize, King, Michelle (daughter), Jennifer (granddaughter), and Raphael Santos (son of Denize's son Fabio).

Granddaughter Jennifer Tsui Oberlander and her parents, Bruno Mendonca Oberlander and Michelle Barros Tsui.


In 2012, King visited Austin. Here is a photo from that visit.

Left to Right: Barry N. Moore, King Hay Tsui and Melvin Oakes, June 2012. Barry Moore was a fellow graduate student at the University of Texas.