Three Germans received the highest academic award that Taiwan presents to foreign scientists yesterday, in recognition of their research.
Nobel laureate and virologist Harald zur Hausen, chemist Klaus Mullen and mathematician Ansgar Jungel were presented with the National Science Council’s Tsungming Tu Award, established by the council in 2006 to facilitate closer cooperation between international and local academics.
“We hope this award will bring the award winners from Germany to Taiwan to cooperate with Taiwanese researchers in making cutting-edge achievements,” National Science Council Minister Cyrus Chu (朱敬一) said at the award ceremony in Taipei.
Chu said the council and Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, an academic award organization that jointly sponsored the award, would organize an international conference on renewable energy in Taiwan in November.
Zur Hausen, who touted the research abilities of Taiwanese researchers, said local studies in the past have led to “enormously prominent results” in the field of cancer research and that he hopes the cooperation with Taiwanese researchers would continue well into the future.
Zur Hausen’s research on the role of human papilloma viruses in causing cervical cancer won him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008. His research paved the way for the introduction of a vaccine to control cervical cancer and is believed to have helped save thousands of lives.
Meanwhile, Mullen, one of the directors of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, is a winner of numerous international awards on polymer science, including the Polymer Award of the American Chemical Society. He has published more than 1,200 papers internationally.
Jungel is a professor at Vienna University of Technology’s Institute for Analysis and Scientific Computing. His research has contributed to the understanding of multi-scale semiconductor and plasma models. He will be collaborating with Taiwanese researchers on the analysis of spintronic semiconductor models, which could help improve the performance of computer processors in the future.
The award winners, each of whom were awarded a medal, a trophy and US$75,000, have been invited to spend up to six months in Taiwan to collaborate with local researchers.
A science profession medal award was also given to Taiwanese researcher and former Department of Health minister Chen Chien-jen (程建人) and another to Tsai Ming-cheng (蔡明誠), professor and dean of National Taiwan University’s College of Law, in recognition of their contributions to scientific research in Taiwan.