Thu, Sep 03, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Taiwanese astronomer, physicist win top awards

OUTSTANDING:US-based Yung Yuk-ling and Chen Sow-hsin won the Gerard P. Kuiper and Guinier awards for their contributions to planetary and nuclear sciences

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese astronomer Yung Yuk-ling (翁玉林) and physicist Chen Sow-hsin (陳守信) have won top honors for outstanding contributions to the fields of planetary science and nuclear science, Academia Sinica said on Tuesday.

Yung has won the Gerard P. Kuiper Prize, one of the top prizes in the field of planetary science, the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) Division for Planetary Sciences announced last month.

He, along with recipients of four other planetary science prizes, are to be honored at an awards ceremony in Maryland in November.

Yung, the first Taiwanese to win the award, is “a founding father of planetary atmospheric chemistry and one of the most influential researchers in the field,” the AAS said in a statement.

“His unique integration of observations, laboratory data, and careful modeling has yielded pioneering insights into the current properties and behavior of solar-system atmospheres, as well as their historical evolution,” it said.

“His models of the chemistry of planetary atmospheres have been widely used to interpret the results from spacecraft missions, including the Vikings, Voyagers, Pioneer Venus, Galileo, Venus Express, Mars Science Laboratory, Cassini and New Horizons,” it said.

Named after one of the founding fathers of contemporary planetary sciences, Gerard Kuiper, the prize seeks to honor scientists whose achievements have most advanced the understanding of the solar system and its members.

Yung, who is a Smits Family professor at the California Institute of Technology, is renowned for his contributions in the areas of atmospheric photochemistry and aeronomy, global climate change, radiative transfer, atmospheric evolution, and mesospheric-thermospheric chemistry and exchange, Academia Sinica said.

Yang was also a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal in 2004, it said.

Chen is the winner of this year’s Guinier Prize for his achievement in the field of small-angle scattering, the International Union of Crystallography announced last month.

Chen, an emeritus professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, is to receive his prize and present a plenary lecture on Sept. 17 at the 16th International Conference on Small-Angle Scattering in Berlin.

Small-angle scattering is a technique used in the field of non-

crystalline materials, such as colloids and macromolecules, to investigate the nanostructures and inter-particle correlation in liquids and solids, including their size, shape and internal structure.

The Guinier Prize was established in honor of the father of small-angle scattering, French physicist Andre Guinier, and the prize is given for lifetime achievement, a major breakthrough or an outstanding contribution to the field.

Chen has won recognition for his development of new methods for data analysis, together with pioneering experiments on the structure and mutual interactions of self-assembled systems such as micelles, microemulsions and protein-surfactant complexes in solution.

Chen also won the Clifford G. Shull Prize presented by the Neutron Scattering Society of America in 2008, Academia Sinica said.

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