Frederic Yui-Ming Wan

Affiliate Professor of Applied Mathematics
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, University of California, Irvine
Frederic Yui-Ming Wan


Frederic Y.M. Wan was born in 1936 in Shanghai, China, first born of Olga Pearl Jung and Wai-nam Wan. Living with her sister Ruth and her husband Robert Chinn’s family, Frederic graduated from Seattle’s Garfield High. He went east to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including his PhD (1965) in Mathematics under the direction of Eric Reissner. Frederic stayed at MIT as an instructor, moving on to Assistant Professor (1967) and Associate Professor (1969) of Applied Mathematics.

Frederic moved to the University of British Columbia as Professor of Applied Mathematics in 1974, where he was the inaugural director of the new Institute of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. During his time in Canada, Frederic helped found the Canadian Applied Mathematics Society in 1979 and served as its President from 1981 until 1983.

That year, he moved to the University of Washington (rejoining Julia in Seattle) as the first chair of the newly established Department of Applied Mathematics. He served in this role until 1988, when he became the Divisional Dean for the Natural and Mathematical Sciences, in UW’s College of Arts & Sciences. He left this position to join the National Science Foundation as its Director of the Division of Mathematical Sciences, having served in the parallel role at Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (1982-83).

Frederic joined the University of California at Irvine as its Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies in 1995. At UCI, he also spearheaded the founding of the Program in Mathematical and Computational Biology, for undergraduate and graduate students. Since retiring from UCI, Frederic is currently a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at UCI and an Affiliate Professor of Applied Mathematics at UW. He is the author of five books and he has co-authored over 150 research articles. He has received numerous awards and honors. A complete list of these can be found at