President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday urged the public to pursue not only basic scientific knowledge, but also the latest research in order to make Taiwan more competitive in an era that emphasizes a knowledge-based economy.
Attending a ceremony for the launch of a traditional Chinese-character edition of US-based Scientific American magazine yesterday, Chen stressed that knowledge is the foundation that nations need to build their competitiveness.
"Taiwan must understand this point specifically. When facing global competition in this century, we have to establish advantages of knowledge and speed," Chen said.
The president said that he agreed with the goal of strengthening the nation by promoting science education supported by Wang Rong-wen (王榮文), publisher of the magazine.
Wang, also president of Yuan-Liou Publishing Company (遠流出版社), said he hoped the magazine would become a place where dialogue between the sciences and the humanities can occur.
Founded in New York City in 1845, the monthly magazine interprets scientific developments for scientists and advanced non-scientists. Its articles, solidly based on scholarly research, are well written, carefully edited and are accompanied by definitions of scientific terms, illustrations and graphics.
The magazine is currently published in 10 languages, including a simplified Chinese-character edition, which has been available in China since 1979.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) said that the public has to cultivate a scientific attitude toward controversial science-related social issues, such as nuclear power generation, genetically modified food, global warming and bio-terrorism.
"It [science] is too important to leave to scientists," Chang said.
Li Chia-wei (李家維), editor-in-chief of the new edition, said that the editorial board would seek not only timely translations of Western research, but also the work of Chinese research scientists.
Li, a life sciences professor at National Tsing Hua University, said that the publisher's had received an enthusiastic response from readers after releasing a test issue in January.
"After completely reading the first issue, I feel much better about my grasp of science-related issues," said Lin Hwai-min (林懷民), founder of Taiwan's premier dance company Cloud Gate Dance Theater.
Lin said he fears science because he failed chemistry during high school and has little idea of how to use computers.