Yuan Lee attends Hsinchu Senior High School. Here he plays on the tennis team besides playing trombone in the marching band. He is also an avid reader of a wide variety of books among which the biography of Madame Curie that makes a strong impact on him at a young age.
Yuan Lee attends National Taiwan University without having to take an entrance exam because of his excellent academic performance in high school. He chooses chemistry and he writes his B.S. under Professor Hua-sheng Cheng on the separation of strontium and barium using the paper electrophoresis method.
Yuan Lee works at Tsinghua as a Research Assistant. Researching along with Professor C.H. Wong, Lee carries out the x-ray structure determination of tricyclopentadienyl samarium.
Yuan Lee becomes Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the James Franck Institute of the University of Chicago. He is promoted to Associate Professor in October 1971 and professor in January 1973. Here Lee builds a new, more advanced crossed molecular beams apparatus able to carry out even more successful experiments.
Yuan Lee is born in Hsinchu, in northern Japanese Taiwan to Lee Tze-fan, an accomplished artist, and Ts'ai P'ei, an elementary school teacher.
Yuan Lee enters Harvard University as a Post-doctoral Fellow joining Professor Dudley Herschbach. Here Lee works on the reactions of hydrogen atoms and diatomic alkali molecules with Robert Gordon and on the construction of a universal crossed molecular beams apparatus with Doug McDonald, Pierre LeBreton and George Pisiello.
Yuan Lee is Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute of Atomic and Molecular Sciences at the Academia Sinica. He works in the reaction dynamics laboratory.
Yuan Lee is President of the Academia Sinica (a national Taiwanese institution supporting research activities in a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from mathematical and physical sciences, to life sciences, and to humanities and social sciences).
Yuan Lee goes on researching in Mahan's group and starts to work on ion molecule reactive scattering experiments with Ron Gentry using ion beam techniques measuring energy and angular distributions. Before long, Lee designs, builds, and performs experiments with a powerful scattering apparatus and also assembles a complete product distribution contour map.
Yuan Lee enters University of California at Berkeley as a graduate student. Here Lee becomes more and more interested in ion-molecule reactions and the dynamics of molecular scattering—particularly crossed molecular beam studies of reaction dynamics. In 1965 he earns his Ph.D. with a dissertation on chemi-ionization processes of electronically excited alkali atoms.
When Yuan Lee begins his elementary education, Taiwan is under Japanese occupation. Lee attends Hsinchu's Elementary school. Here he plays on the baseball, BMX, and ping-pong teams of the school. His primary education is interrupted during World War II because the city populace is relocated to the mountains to escape the bombings of the Allied Army. After the war, when Taiwan is returned to China, he is able to attend school again.
Yuan Lee returns to Berkeley as Professor of Chemistry and principal investigator at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory of the University of California. His laboratory attracts bright scientists from all over the world and contains complex molecular beams devices able to deal with problems associated with reaction dynamics, photochemical processes, and molecular spectroscopy. He becomes Emeritus in 1994.
Yuan Lee with Doug McDonald, Pierre LeBreton and George Pisiello completes the construction of a universal crossed molecular beams apparatus in ten months and the first successful non alkali neutral beam experiment is carried out in late 1967.
Yuan Lee attends National Tsinghua University where he earns his Master's degree under Professor H. Hamaguchi studying the natural radioisotopes contained in Hukutolite, a mineral of hot spring sediment.
Yuan Lee receives one third of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry along with Dudley R. Herschbach and John C. Polanyi "for their contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes". Lee is the first Taiwanese-born Nobel Prize winner.