The American Physical Society conferred the prestigious Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award to Taiwan-born and American-raised physicist Michele Ma Chung-pei (馬中珮) recently in recognition of her important contributions to theoretical astrophysics. \nMa, who recently joined the astronomy faculty at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley), was chosen as the only recipient of the 2003 Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award for her "important contributions to theoretical astrophysics, particularly in the areas of relativistic evolution of density perturbations, testing of structure formation models with massive neutrinos and the clustering and dynamics of dark matter halos around galaxies," according to the American Physical Society. \nThe prestigious Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award was established through sponsorship by the General Electric (GE) Foundation in 1985 in memory of the physicist of the same name who shared the 1963 Nobel Prize in physics with two other scientists for her research on the shell model of the atomic nucleus. \nGoeppert-Mayer was the second woman physicist in the world to receive the Nobel Prize in physics, behind Madame Pierre Curie, who became a Nobel laureate in 1903. \nThe American Physical Society and the GE Fund jointly facilitate the Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award to recognize and enhance outstanding achievements by a woman physicist in the early years of her career and to provide opportunities for her to present these achievements to others through public lectures in the spirit of Maria Goeppert-Mayer. \nThe award is to be given to a woman no later than 10 years after she has been granted her doctorate in order to have an effect upon the early stages of her career, for scientific achievements that demonstrate her potential as an outstanding physicist. \nThe Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award, presented annually, consists of US$2,500 plus a US$4,000 travel allowance to provide opportunities for the recipient to give lectures in her field of physics at four institutions and at the meeting of the American Physical Society at which the award is bestowed and a certificate citing the contribution made by the recipient. \nMa, 37, who became aware of her life's calling at the age of 12, went to the US when she was 17 to study physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She received both her undergraduate degree and doctorate in physics from MIT in 1987 and 1993, respectively. \nShe was a prize fellow at the California Institute of Technology and an assistant and associate professor of astronomical physics at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the UC Berkeley's astronomy faculty. \nMa's primary research interests are dark matter, the cosmic microwave background, and the large-scale structure of the universe. \nAmong the major honors Ma has received are the Annie Cannon Award in Astronomy in 1997, the Sherman Fairchild Fellowship, Caltech in 1993 and Phi Beta Kappa in 1987. \nWhile studying particle physics and theoretical cosmology with Alan Guth and Edmund Bertschinger at MIT, Ma was enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston for violin-performance classes to hone her violin playing skills, which she began studying in her formative years in Taiwan. \nA violin prodigy, she won first prize in the Taiwan National Violin Competition in 1983. \nMa is returning to Taiwan shortly to visit her parents who are still living in Taipei. \nHer father, Ma Chi-shen (馬驥伸), is a renowned scholar in journalism, while her mother, Huang Chao-heng (黃肇珩), is formerly director of the Domestic News Department of the Central News Agency. Huang has also been president of the KMT-run Chengchung Books and Publishing House before being appointed a member of the Control Yuan by former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝).
Days after it was banned in China, a Mandarin ballad satirizing nationalistic Chinese Internet users is trending at No. 1 on YouTube in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Fragile (玻璃心), by Taiwan-based Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志) and Australian singer Kimberley Chen (陳芳語), offers a tongue-in-cheek apology to “little pink” Internet users, a disparaging term that describes patriotic “keyboard warriors” from China. After racking up more than 9 million views on YouTube, the song reached No. 3 on the site in Malaysia on Thursday, according to Kworb, a Web site that analyzes music data from around the world. It is also the only Chinese-language
NO CHANGE: US officials indicated that the ‘one China’ policy remains in place, while the NATO chief avoided discussing Biden’s comment in an effort to ease tensions US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Friday that the Pentagon would continue to support Taiwan’s military, but he declined to say if US troops would defend the island against China, after US President Joe Biden said there was a US “commitment” to do so. “As we’ve done over multiple administrations, we will continue to help Taiwan with the sorts of capabilities that it needs to defend itself,” Austin said at NATO headquarters. “So we’ll stay focused on those things, and I won’t engage in any hypotheticals with respect to Taiwan,” he told reporters. Biden on Thursday sparked a new firestorm
PROTECTION: The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, and allowing mixed first and second doses to boost coverage rates Whether Taiwan reopens its borders would depend on the nation’s vaccination coverage rate and the COVID-19 situation in other countries, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said yesterday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage and 30 percent two-dose coverage as part of its consideration, Shih told a media briefing following the weekly Cabinet meeting. In spite of a relatively stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country to allow more international travelers, the government is maintaining strict border control measures. Since March last year,
SCENIC TRAIN TOURS: TRA Director-General Du Wei said experts on aesthetics and railway culture have worked for 10 months to restore the blue locomotive Breezy Blue, the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) tourism train, is to be launched on the South Link Line on Saturday. The railway operator spent about 10 months restoring the blue diesel-powered train, which first provided service to students and commuters before being outsourced to Lion Travel, which organizes railway tour packages. TRA Director-General Du Wei (杜微) told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Pingtung County’s Fangliao Township (枋寮) that the agency hopes that the restored Breezy Blue would provide an authentic experience to railway fans as well as those with fond memories of riding the blue trains to work or