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Scientists honored for advances

Scientists honored for advances
Five scientists were honored yesterday for accomplishments that put Taiwan at the forefront of nanotechnology development, as well as the medical and economic research fields.

The five local scientists, from top research institutes, such as the Academia Sinica (中央研究院) and National Taiwan University, presented their internationally acclaimed work yesterday, with the endorsement of National Science Council (國科會) head Wu Maw-kun.

To showcase Taiwan's research excellence and encourage the development of new talent in science, government officials will recognize the five men and women and their research teams at the annual "Outstanding Achievement Award in Science and Technology" ceremony today.

Wu said it was important to promote scientific innovations that made positive contributions to society, in addition to boosting Taiwan's national competitiveness and spurring on economic growth in the coming years.

Wu spoke of the "long-term effort and investment by the government to cultivate new science and engineering talents."

"We are focused on developing thid Taiwan 'innovalue' and bringing about many of these concrete benefits for well-being of our citizens," stated Wu at the NSC press briefing yesterday.

Wu will accompany Executive Yuan vice premier Wu Rong-yi to present the awards today. The five winners and their research teams will each receive a NT$600,000 grant to fund further development projects.

Approved by a selection committee from a list of total 48 nominations, the award-winners worked in disciplines such as natural science and engineering, biomedical and agricultural sciences, as well as social sciences and education.

The scientists honored are: Professor Hwu Yeu-kuang, Professor Tsai Din-ping, Professor Chang Mei-hui, Professor Kuo Sheng-chu (and his research team), and Professor Lai Ching-chong.

Professor Hwu from Academia Sinica's Institute of Physics is well-known for his breakthrough work on high resolution X-ray microscopy for new applications in 3-D scanning and phase-contrast microstructure studies down to the subcellular level in biomedical sciences and in nanotechnology.

From the National Taiwan University Department of Physics, Professor Tsai is recognized for his use of opto-electronic "near-field active layer" effect in developing blue-laser technology for DVD, CD, and other optical storage disks that can hold over 100 gigabytes of data.

Professor Chang, now at National Taiwan University Hospital, has been engaged in specialized medical research for over 20 years and recently identified the location of the gene responsible for liver cancer. This work has led her team to develop the world's very first vaccine against a particular form of liver cancer, and has shown the possibility of vaccines for other types of cancer.

The research team of Professor Kuo, working at the Chinese Medical University in Taichung, has developed a U.S. FDA-approved YC-1 alkaloid-base drug, that is effective in fighting cancer with a multi-target approach that blocks the synthesis pathways of tumor cells.

In the social sciences field, Professor Lai from Academia Sinica's Institute of Economics is renowned for his research publications in top reference journals on the positive correlation of military expenditure on a country's national GDP, which ran contrary to prevailing theories.