Established in 2001, the biennial Presidential Science Prize recognizes innovative researchers who have made outstanding contributions in the fields of mathematics and physical sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and applied sciences. It is considered the nation’s highest scientific honor. According to the Eligibility and Selection Process of the Prize, the Committee is composed of 15 members, including the President of Academia Sinica as the chair, and the Minister of Science and Technology as the vice chair. This year three winners stood out among 13 nominees: Academician Chien-Te Chen (NSRRC) in mathematics and physical sciences, Academician Andrew H.-J. Wang (Academia Sinica) in life sciences, and Dr. Douglas Yu (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) in applied sciences. The awarding ceremony will be held in the Presidential palace and presented by the President in November.
Academician C. T. Chen is currently a Distinguished Scientist at NSRRC. Before returning to Taiwan, he had worked as an experimental physicist at AT&T Bell Labs for a decade. During that period, he invented the Dragon beamline and developed several high resolution soft X-ray spectroscopic techniques. Among them, magnetic circular dichroism (MCD) was the most well-known and conducive to magnetism and magnetic materials research. He and his collaborators had also completed high accuracy experiments on strongly correlated electron systems, including high Tc superconducting cuprates, alkali doped C60, giant magnetoresistance manganese oxides, magnetic multilayers, etc.
In 1995, Academician Chen was invited to join the NSRRC to develop the facility and scientific applications of the Taiwan Light Source (TLS). He held the post of Deputy Director from 1995 to 1997, and Director from 1997 to 2005. Under his leadership, NSRRC accomplished several milestones. For example, TLS employed a superconducting radio frequency (SRF) cavity; TLS installed 8 insertion devices including 5 superconducting magnets; TLS reached the 1.5 GeV full energy top-up injection; TLS added 22 beamlines and 54 experimental stations; the “Taiwan Photon Source (TPS) Construction Plan” was initiated, etc. After his term ended, he continued to devote himself to the construction of TPS. He played a vital role in finalizing the TPS design and specifications in 2009. He then served as the Director General of the TPS Construction Project from 2010 to 2014 and led the NSRRC team to overcome many severe challenges. The TPS synchrotron shined its first light in December 2014 and the stored current swiftly exceeded the design goal of 500 mA in December 2015.
In addition to his pioneering contributions in spectroscopy and condensed matter physics, Academician Chen has made unparalleled contributions to the development of synchrotron radiation facility in Taiwan and raised the country’s competitiveness and international stature in scientific research. TPS, which inaugurated its opening in September 2016, will bring new opportunities for a broad spectrum of advanced scientific research for several decades to come.
Academician Andrew Wang is at present a Distinguished Research Fellow of Academia Sinica. His research interests cover structural proteomics, anticancer drugs, X-ray crystallography, NMR and molecular design. Being an important user and a long-term collaborator of NSRRC, he not only served as a member of the NSRRC Board of Trustees, but also assisted NSRRC to initiate and build a world-class synchrotron-based protein crystallography facility. Protein crystallography is known as a powerful technique to determine three-dimensional structures of bio-macromolecules. The bright and tunable synchrotron radiation can improve the rate of crystal structure determinations; it is hence an ideal means for studying structural genomics and structural-based drug designs. Until now, NSRRC’s protein crystallography beamlines available to users include TLS-13B1, TLS-13C1, TLS-15A1, and TPS-05A. Taiwan has become a well-equipped and competitive player in the fields of proteomics and structural genomics.