Prof Tang received his PhD in physical chemistry from Cornell University in 1975. He then worked in Eastman Kodak and was named Distinguished Fellow of the Kodak Research Laboratories in 2003. He joined the University of Rochester as the Doris Johns Cherry Professor of Chemical Engineering in 2006, and has joint appointments in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He joined HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study in 2013 and has joint appointments with the Departments of Electronic and Computer Engineering, Chemistry and Physics.
Prof Tang was elected to the fellowship of the American Physical Society in 1998, and membership of the US National Academy of Engineering in 2006. He is also a founding member of The Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong. He has received honorary degrees from Shanghai University, and South China University of Technology. In addition to the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, Prof Tang has received many other awards including the Eastman Kodak Innovation Award (2000), the Jack Rajchman Prize of the Society of Information Display (2001), the Carothers Award of the American Chemical Society (2001), the Rochester Law Association Inventor of the Year Award (2002), the Humboldt Research Award (2005), the Daniel E. Noble Award (2007), the Eduard Rhein Award (2013) and the Nick Holonyak Jr. Award (2014).