Kwok Yung Lo

Dr. Kwok-Yung (Fred) Lo, 69, director emeritus of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and renowned researcher, died of complications from lung cancer on December 16, 2016, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Fred was born in Nanjing, China on October 19, 1947. He received his bachelor's and doctorate degrees in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 and 1974. In 1974 he joined the California Institute of Technology as a research fellow in radio astronomy. In 1976, he went to the University of California at Berkeley as a Miller Fellow. Two years later, he returned to Caltech where he helped to found the millimeter-wave interferometry effort at Owens Valley Radio Observatory. In 1986 Fred joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a professor of astronomy and then chaired his department from 1995 to 1997. In 1997, he joined the Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan, as Director of its Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He also held the position of Professor of Physics at National Taiwan University from 1998 to 2002. From 2002 to 2012, Fred led the NRAO as its director and distinguished astronomer. Under his leadership, NRAO and its international partners completed the construction of and began scientific operations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the largest and most powerful telescope of its kind. "Fred will always be remembered as an absolute visionary, not just for radio astronomy but also for how the global community of researchers could collaborate on essential areas of discovery," said current NRAO Director Tony Beasley. Fred was a scientist with an exquisite taste for important problems, a knowledgeable builder of forefront instruments, an inspiring leader of team research, and an administrator with courageous vision and foresight. Fred’s early work in radio astronomy included detecting a radio source in the center of our galaxy, strongly suggestive of the presence of a supermassive black hole for which he was written up in Time magazine. Fred is survived by his wife Helen, their sons Jan and Derek, his mother, Ju Hwa Lu, and his brothers K.J., Steve, Kevin, and Alvin Lo and their wives and children. A Memorial Service is being planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the CAHC/Hospice of the Piedmont, 675 Peter Jefferson Parkway, Suite 300 Charlottesville, VA 22911; or to the University of Virginia Health System Cancer Center, P.O. Box 800773, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0773. Donations should be made in honor of Dr. Kwok-Yung (Fred) Lo. Condolences may be offered to the family at


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Kwok Yung Lo

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January 12, 2017

May God's loving kindness and comfort help you and you family through this very sad time Psalms 29:11

Chris Clark

December 21, 2016

I was deeply saddened to hear of Fred's passing, please accept my condolences. He was a great guy to work for.

John Hibbard

December 21, 2016

Dear Helen,
Leslie and I were so sad to hear of your news, and offer you and your family our deepest sympathies. Fred was so generous to us both, and so important and impactful to both ALMA and my work here at NRAO. I will always remember him fondly, and will miss his presence here.

Louis KS Chan

December 21, 2016

Dear Helen, Jan and Derek: We are deeply saddened to learn of Kwok Yung's passing. May you take comfort that he lived a full life and had superior accomplishments. His legacy lives on. It is a privilege to be able to call him a classmate and a friend. Please take care. Love, Ivy and Kai-shing Chan

Marian Spano

December 21, 2016

Dear Helen and Family,
We were so sorry to read about Fred and we send our deepest sympathy for your loss. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
Marian and Don Spano

December 19, 2016

Dear Helen, Jan, and Derek, We are sorry to hear of your sudden loss. Be consoled that your memories of Fred will keep him close to you always. We are thinking of you at this difficult time and hope you will take strength from all of us to be at peace. Connie Broughton ( Charlotte Lo's sister )

Jim Firmani

December 19, 2016

Dear Helen, Jan and Derek,

I am saddened to hear of your loss. Fred was an inspiration to me and others and it was a privilege to work for him. His love of astronomy and NRAO is unmatched. His spirit lives in those he inspired.

All my love,


Amy Goldberg

December 19, 2016

Dear Helen, Jan, & Derek:

Please accept my heartfelt condolences. I hope you will find comfort in the many, many wonderful memories you all shared with Fred.

All the best,
Amy Goldberg (Charlotte Lo's sister)