Fri, Jan 28, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Physics investment yields results


The small amount of money the government has budgeted for high energy physics research in the last decade has yielded rich rewards, including the incubation of young experts in related fields and the promotion of a local team to one that can compete at a global level, according to the National Science Council (NSC) yesterday.

High energy physicists of National Taiwan University (NTU) yesterday reported their recent achievements to the council, which has financed related research since 1994. According to Paoti Chang (張寶棣), who made the presentation, the NTU team, working with a Japan-based research group known as Belle, has just published an article on their observation of evidence supporting "direct charge-parity [CP] violation" -- one of the reasons for the dominance of matter over anti-matter in the universe -- in Physical Review Letters, an academic journal published by the American Physical Society last November.

Although similar results were reported by a rival group based at Stanford University, known as BaBar, in August last year, Chang said that Belle's error is relatively smaller.

"A small country has its own ways to financially support scientific research. We've seen the NTU team demonstrate the best way to optimize government's support," NSC Deputy Chairman Liao Chun-chen (廖俊臣) said yesterday at a press conference.

Taiwan became part of the Japan-based research group known as Belle in 1994, when Hou Wei-shu (侯維恕), a physicist at NTU formed a team of four researchers. To date, the team, containing more than 20 researchers, has played a leading role in high energy physics research in Taiwan. They now work not only with counterparts from local universities but also physicists overseas.

To strengthen the team, the NTU physics department in 2003 invited alumnus Yee Bob Hsiung (熊怡), who first observed the phenomenon of "direct CP violation" in rare K decays, back to teach. So far, Taiwanese high energy physicists have published 22 research articles for science journals and there are other five others being prepared.

According to Hou, in the last decade his team has been financed by the council and the Ministry of Education to the tune of a mere NT$50 million.

According to I Lin (伊林), director general of the council's Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Taiwan annually invests about only NT$60 million on high energy physics research.

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