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Prominent Theoretical Physicist Shoucheng Zhang Passes Away At 55

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Shoucheng Zhang, a renowned theoretical physicist at Stanford University, has passed away after a difficult battle with depression. He was 55 years old.

His family also confirmed the news of his passing but did not reveal the cause of his death. Stanford University, where Zhang was a tenured professor, released an obituary to pay tribute to the prominent scientist.

"We are saddened to learn of the passing of Shoucheng Zhang, a distinguished physicist who has made tremendous scientific contributions," stated Persis Drell, Stanford provost and a professor of physics at the university. "His passing is a loss for his family, his colleagues at the university and for his field."

A Tremendous Loss Within The Scientific Community

Zhang was a prominent name in the field of quantum physics. In 2005, he and his team proposed a new state of matter called the quantum spin Hall insulator, which stated that electrical current flows only along the edges and in a direction dictated by its electrons' quantum spin.

More recently, he and his team published a study that predicts where to find the Majorana fermion, a particle that is also its own antiparticle. The study was published in the journal Science.

During his lifetime, Zhang won multiple awards for his work and for several years, has been a favorite by many researchers to win the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Beyond The Lab

Aside from his work as a professor and theoretical physicist, Zhang was also a venture capitalist. He set up Danhua Capital in 2013 to fund advancements on artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain technology, robotics, and others.

His firm raised $434.5 million in capital across two funds and has 113 companies in its portfolio, according to the South China Morning Post.

However, in the past couple of months, the scientist was involved in a controversy. Zhang was a part of China's Thousand Talents, a state-run program intelligence officials tagged as a recruitment platform that aimed to "facilitate the legal and illicit transfer of U.S. technology, intellectual property, and know-how." A report by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative cited Danhua Capital in a report last month that probed China's practices.

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