Your browser does not support JavaScript!

:::

 

 

World-renowned Scientists Visit NTHU
The National Center for Theoretical Sciences at NTHU celebrated its 20th anniversary on August 2 by hosting a lecture series featuring Professor Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2015, and Professor Shing-Tung Yau of Harvard University, who was awarded the Fields Medal in 1982. They both attributed their success to hard work, rather than natural ability, and encouraged the audience of more than 300 teachers and students to fully apply themselves to their studies, research, and everything they do.
 
Amongst the special guests were previous directors of the Center: Ting-Kuo Lee, Hsiang-Nan Li, Chung-Yu Mou, and Tu-Nan Chang, as well as the current vice director Xiao-Gang He. Ting-Kuo Lee, now the director of the Institute of Physics at Academia Sinica, said that it has been a great pleasure to see the Center grow from infancy into youth, and that it’s now making major contributions to Taiwan's basic research.
 
President Hocheng Hong said that he was pleased to represent NTHU at the Center’s 20th anniversary, and pointed out that amongst all of the universities in Taiwan, NTHU’s faculty has the highest average number of citations per paper. He also said that excellent research is founded on good ideas, unflagging fortitude, and ample funding, which can be expressed in German gedacht, geduld, and geld, as abbreviated as 3G in terms of the initial letters of the 3 words. Meanwhile, it is hoped that Ministry of Technology and Science can maintain its support on fundamental researches.
 
Also in attendance was Chun-Chieh Wu, the director general of the at the Ministry of Science and Technology, who responded to President Hocheng by saying that good research also requires three “wares”: hardware, software, and “brainware.” He also said that the Ministry plans to continue supporting the Center long into the future, so that all of the young scholars in the audience can someday make their own contributions to basic research in Taiwan.
 
Chong-Sun Chu, the director of the Center’s Physics Division, said that Yau is internationally recognized as one of the most influential contemporary mathematicians, and that in addition to his many important breakthroughs, he has also opened up a lot of new areas in mathematics. Among them, the eponymous Calabi–Yau manifold has become an indispensable tool for physicists considering the possible existence of a high-dimensional space-time structure of the universe. Yau’s association with NTHU began more than 20 years ago, when he was at NTHU for one year as a chair professor, at which time he proposed the establishment of a national center for theoretical science research, and has long been an important promoter of the development of theoretical science in Taiwan.
 
Digging up questions
 
In his pellucid talk titled "My Personal Journey on Geometric Aspect of General Relativity" Yau described how he became fascinated with the equation in Einstein’s theory of relativity, but had some doubts about the possibility of a vacuum state. He immersed himself in this issue and eventually solved a major problem in the field of algebraic geometry, for which he won the Fields Medal in 1982. He encourages young people engaged in scientific research to explore problems in a creative way, rather than always following the footsteps of others.
 
Yau also pointed out the importance of interdisciplinary study and cooperation, since seemingly unrelated areas may actually have complex and deep internal relations, as evidenced by the way in which Einstein developed his theory of general relativity in cooperation with many different mathematicians.
 
Yau stressed that research requires lots of hard work, and that only after thoroughly reviewing the research done by others can one challenge their point of view. He also acknowledged that success sometimes requires a little luck, but no matter what the results is, what one learns in the process of research is still the most important thing.
 
New trends in gravitational waves
 
In his talk titled "Exploring the Universe with Gravitational Waves" Takaaki Kajita said that the major event in the international astronomy and physics community last year was the detection and confirmation by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) of the gravitational waves posited long ago in Einstein's theory of general relativity, a discovery which has changed the way we think about the origins of the universe. He also spoke about the latest trends in the study of gravitational waves and the construction in Japan of the next generation of gravitational wave detectors.
 
Kajita’s message for the high school students in attendance was that, while science is interesting, getting good research results requires serious dedication. An avid archer since childhood, Kajita encouraged the students to remain focused on their target. He also added a caveat on avoiding the pitfall of trying to advance too quickly, instead of steadily progressing towards the goal.
 
Kajita said that he has essentially followed in the footsteps of Masatoshi Koshiba, who received the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics, and Sinitiro Tomonaga, who was awarded the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics. He also said that research is not always smooth sailing, and that after graduation he couldn’t find a job for a whole year. In 2015 Kajita received the Nobel Prize in Physics for demonstrating that neutrinos have mass while conducting underground research at the Kamioka mine in Japan.
 

From left to right: Shing-Tung Yau, Takaaki Kajita, and Chong-Sun Chu.

From left to right: Shing-Tung Yau, Takaaki Kajita, and Chong-Sun Chu.


From left to right: Hocheng Hong, Takaaki Kajita, Shing-Tung Yau, and Chong-Sun Chu.

From left to right: Hocheng Hong, Takaaki Kajita, Shing-Tung Yau, and Chong-Sun Chu.


A captivating talk in progress.

A captivating talk in progress.

 

No. of visitors