Huang grew up in Manila, Philippines. He obtained the B.Sc. (1950) and the Ph.D. (1953) in physics, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the MIT faculty in 1957, after a stint at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. At MIT, he became an authority on statistical physics, and worked on Bose-Einstein condensation and quantum field theory. Since retiring in 1999, he has written on biophysics. He is currently a visiting professor at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Huang is best known to Chinese readers as the translator of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám. While a graduate student in physics, he adapted Edward Fitzgerald's famous adaptation into classical Chinese verse. The book (Chinese: 魯拜集) had been out of print for years, but was reprinted in Taiwan in 1989. With his wife Rosemary, he translated I Ching into English.
- 2007. Fundamental Forces of Nature: The Story of Gauge Fields. World Scientific. Aimed at educated lay readers.
- 2005. Lectures on Statistical Physics and Protein Folding. World Scientific. ISBN 981-256-143-9
- 2001. Introduction to Statistical Physics. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-7484-0941-6
- 1998. Quantum Field Theory: From Operators to Path Integrals. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-14120-8
- 1992. Quarks, Leptons and Gauge Fields, 2nd ed. World Scientific. ISBN 981-02-0659-3
- 1987. Statistical Mechanics, 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons.
- 1984. I Ching, the Oracle. World Scientific. ISBN 9971-966-25-5