Academia Sinica president receives Wolf science prize

Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Jan 19, 2014 - Page 3

Academia Sinica president Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) was on Friday awarded the Wolf Prize in Chemistry for his contributions to the development of programmable and applied synthesis of complex oligosaccharides and glycol-proteins.

After winning the prize, Wong said it should be credited to the education he received in Taiwan and the friendly environment Academia Sinica provides for cross-field cooperation.

Wong, who returned to Taiwan from the US to serve as director of the Genomics Research Center at Academia Sinica in 2003, said the institution provides the opportunities to develop anti-bacterial and anti-cancer drugs, and many other new findings, as well as helps facilitate cooperation among scientists from various disciplines and countries.

The Wolf Prize in the sciences is considered second in importance only to the Nobel Prize. More than 30 Wolf Prize recipients have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in scientific fields, including medicine, physics and chemistry.

The prize has been awarded since 1978 by the Wolf Foundation, which was established in 1976 by Ricardo Wolf (1887-1981), an inventor, diplomat and philanthropist, and his wife, Francisca Subirana-Wolf (1900-1981), to promote science and art for the benefit of mankind.

It is awarded annually in six areas. In science, the fields are: agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics, while in the arts, the prize rotates annually among architecture, music, painting and sculpture.

The prize in each area consists of a diploma and a cash award of US$100,000.

Wong is the third Taiwan-born scientist to have won the prize since 1991, when Academia Sinica academician Yang Hsiang-fa (楊祥發) was awarded the prize in agriculture. Academia Sinica academician Yau Shing-tung (丘成桐) was awarded the 2010 Wolf Foundation Prize in mathematics.