Siu obtained his bachelor's degree in chemistry (1939) and master's degree in plant physiology (1941) from the University of Hawaii, and Ph.D. degree (1943) in bio-organic chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. He then entered the United States Army Quartermaster Corps and headed a team of researchers that developed new fabrics, clothing and equipment for jungle use. As the Quartermaster Corps’ Director of Laboratories and Chief Scientific and Technical Director for more than a decade (1948–1962), Dr. Siu spearheaded numerous projects, including pioneer efforts on food irradiation – a key component of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program. In 1961 he received the National Career Civil Service Award. From 1962–1966 Siu served as Scientific Director, Research Division, US Army Material Command. He was Deputy Director, US Army Materiel Command in Washington, D.C from 1966–1968.
In 1968 Siu became Associate Administrator of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration with the Department of Justice and was subsequently nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson to direct the newly created National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. However he was not confirmed and the administration changed after the 1968 election, so he retired in March, 1969.
Dr. Siu wrote several books in the field of management, including The Tao of Science (1957), and The Craft of Power (1979).
After analyzing the unceasing mutual inflictions of suffering by practically everyone and the neglect of this pervasive and degenerating human deficiency by the academic community, I urge the immediate creation of a new and vigorous academic discipline, called panetics, to be devoted to the study of the infliction of suffering. The nature, scope, illustrative contents, and social value are outlined. The dukkha is proposed as a semiquantitative unit of suffering to assist in associated analytical operations.
In 1991, the International Society for Panetics was founded by Ralph Siu and some sixty scientists, physicians, business leaders, scholars, artists and writers from several countries, among which such notable people as Kenneth Boulding or Johan Galtung. The Society was dedicated to the study and development of ways to reduce the infliction of human suffering by individuals, corporations, governments, professions, social groups and other institutions. It issued a journal, Panetics, and it sponsored the annual Ralph G. H. Siu Memorial Lecture in Washington, D.C., featuring a prominent speaker on a subject of concern to panetics. Past speakers included Peter Caws, University Professor of Philosophy, Richard Shifter, former Assistant Secretary of State for Human rights and Humanitarian Affairs, and Joseph Rotblat, President of the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs and a winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace. The Society for Panetics has closed its doors. The website is unavailable as of July 2014, and not archived in the Internet Archive.
In the words of Anthony Judge, who masterminded and was responsible for the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential, "Siu was an early pioneer in creating a bridge between Eastern and Western cultures", and "is an exemplar of lifelong dedication to complex issues having fundamental humanitarian implications."
In 1949 Siu met Irene I-lien Hsu. On February 12, 1950 they were married in Yonkers, New York.
- The Quantum and the Tao—A Unified East-West Psychophilosophical Synthesis toward Harmonious Living
- Microbial Decomposition of Cellulose, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1951.
- Radiation Preservation of Foods, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1957.
I. Tao-Time Trilogy
- Volume 1. The Tao of Science. An Essay on Western Knowledge and Eastern Wisdom. MIT Press, 1957. ISBN 0-262-69004-7
- Volume 2. The Man of Many Qualities. A Legacy of the I Ching. (Paperback: The Portable Dragon). MIT Press, 1968.
- Volume 3. Ch i: A Neo-Taoist Approach to Life. MIT Press, 1974.
II. Management Trilogy
- Volume 4. The Craft of Power. John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1979. Willam Morrow, 1984. ISBN 0-68802625-7
- Volume 5. Transcending the Power Game. The Way to Executive Serenity. John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1980.
- Volume 6. The Master Manager. John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1980. ISBN 047107961-8
III. Panetics Trilogy
- Volume 7. Less Suffering for Everybody. An Introduction to Panetics. The International Society for Panetics, 1994. ISBN 188443701-X
- Volume 8. Panetics and Dukkha. An Integrated Study of the Infliction of Suffering and the Reduction of Infliction. The International Society for Panetics, 1994. ISBN 188443702-8
- Volume 9. Seeds of Reflection. Word Clusters for Meditation on the Infliction and the Relief of Suffering. The International Society for Panetics, 1994. ISBN 188443703-6
IV. Harmony Trilogy
- Volume 10. Unifying Theory of the Human Organism and Behavior, International Society for Panetics, 1999
- Volume 11. Cheerfulness, International Society for Panetics, 1999
- Volume 12. Shaping One s Own Life. A Socratic Anthology of Perennial Questions, International Society for Panetics, 1999
- Understanding and Minimizing the Infliction of Suffering; An Integrated Discipline Called Panetics, The International Society for Panetics, May 1999
- The Land of Keikitran and Eleevan, Hats Off Books, 2001. ISBN 158736075-6
- Ralph Siu, Developer of 'Panetics,' Dies at 80; Scientist Proposed Creating New Academic Field for Study of Human Suffering The Washington Post, December 31, 1998. Rosenfeld, Megan. Pain by the Numbers: Ralph Siu’s Science of Suffering Sizes Up the Agony of the Species. The Washington Post, 1994.
- Quartermaster Hall of Fame
- Ralph G. H. Siu has been also a Chairman of the US Army Research Council and a Chairman of the Members of the Academy for Contemporary Problems. See info at http://www.panetics.info/DisplayOneEvent.cfm?i=57[dead link]. See also the document at the U.S. Department of Justice, and search for Siu: Organizing for Change David Boyd PhD thesis. page 85.
- Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 28, No. 3, 6-22 (1988).
- See the list of all ISP Founders[dead link], or the Panetics Board with members such as John N. Warfield. As an instance of the recognition of panetics ideas by some of the most highly qualified scholars, see the 1999 Siu Memorial Lecture entitled Panetics and the Practice of Peace and Development[dead link], given by Johan Galtung, then professor of peace studies at six universities around the world and president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
- Ralph Siu collected papers archived at University of Toledo Canady Center for Special Collections Accessed May 31, 2015
- "The Craft of Power" online ebook.
- Panetics Global Forum
- Unifying Theory of the Human Organism and Behavior Volume 10, Part of the Harmony Trilogy Chapter 3. Mass-Energy, Qi, and Qimass. published in the The First International Electronic Seminar on Wholeness