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NTHU Faculty Awarded Presidential Science Prize
In early September, 2016 the Office of the President of the ROC announced the three recipients of the prestigious Presidential Science Prize, two of whom are NTHU faculty members: Kenneth Wu, Honorary Chair Professor of the College of Life Sciences; and Huang Shu-min, Chair Professor and the director of the Institute of Anthropology.
 
At a tea party held in their honor on October 7, President Hong Hocheng stated that the Presidential Science Prize is the highest academic honor awarded in Taiwan. He also pointed out that having two NTHU faculty members amongst the three winners this year is a clear indication of the University’s academic strength.
 
Prof. Wu, a leading authority on hematology, received the prize for his outstanding contributions in the field of life science. He returned to Taiwan ten years ago after working abroad for four decades, and is highly honored to receive the Presidential Science Prize. Wu also pointed out that, as a clinician, the most gratifying thing is being able to quickly apply research results to helping patients. For example, early in his career he discovered the relationship between blood platelets and cardiovascular disease, and that aspirin can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. He further indicated that medical research in Taiwan has rapidly developed over the past 15 years, and that some laboratories are undoubtedly very competitive in the international arena, such as that of Chiang Ann-shyn, dean of the College of Life Science. But he also cautioned that the overall approach in Taiwan is too conservative, and advised researchers to be more daring, as can be seen in the fields of applied medicine and agronomy.
 
Prof. Huang is only the third researcher in social sciences to receive the Presidential Science Prize since it was established in 2001.
 
Huang stated that in comparison with the USA he finds the research environment in Taiwan to be more amicable. He expressed his thanks to Lee Yuan-tseh and Wong Chi-huey (the presidents of Academia Sinica while he was working there) for allowing him to focus on the areas of research that interest him the most. Huang also thanked President Hocheng for inviting him to take up his new position and continue his research at NTHU immediately after retiring from Academia Sinica.
 
Over 30 years ago Huang went to the island of Xiamen to conduct anthropological fieldwork in an agricultural village which operated as a commune. During the seven months he lived there he collected comprehensive ethnographic data, and in 1989 his findings were published as The Spiral Road: Change and Development in a Chinese Village through the Eyes of a Village Leader. This book was later translated into Chinese and is still an important textbook in classes on modern Chinese society taught on U. S. campus.
 
Commenting on his hopes for the next generation of researchers, Huang said that anthropological research requires stepping outside of one’s own culture and spending an extended period completely immersed in an unfamiliar environment, and that is not easy, especially for young people today. Yet this is what a world-class researcher needs to do, rather than just blindly taking up whatever topic seems to be fashionable at the moment.
 
The biennial Presidential Science Prize is awarded to innovative researchers who have made outstanding contributions in the fields of mathematical science, life science, social sciences, and applied science; priority is given to researchers whose work is of practical benefit to Taiwanese society.
 
 Group photo at the tea party held in honor of Kenneth Wu and Huang Shu-min, recipients of this year’s Presidential Science Prize.

Group photo at the tea party held in honor of Kenneth Wu and Huang Shu-min, recipients of this year’s Presidential Science Prize.

 Dr. Kenneth Wu, Honorary Chair professor of the College of Life Sciences

Dr. Kenneth Wu, Honorary Chair professor of the College of Life Sciences

 Dr. Huang Shu-min, Chair Professor and the director of the Institute of Anthropology

Dr. Huang Shu-min, Chair Professor and the director of the Institute of Anthropology

Date: Oct. 7, 2015

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