As one of the Tang Prize Foundation’s commitment in promoting the education in its four award categories, the Foundation CEO Dr. Jenn-Chuan Chern travels to Israel, visiting the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) on September 11th.
The development of science flourishes in Israel, and the Weizmann is one of the top leading science research institutions in the world and ranked 6th in the 2017 Nature Innovation Index. The institute is also one of the coordinating organizations of the “New Horizons in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Education” conference. In order to have an in-depth understanding of the WIS, a meeting with the WIS Vice President Prof. Michal Neeman was coordinated. According to Prof. Neeman, Israel was once a desert land, and its first President and the founder of the WIS, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, believed that science would be a powerful tool in the development of the country. Children are the country’s future leaders, and therefore disseminating childhood science education has become one of the vital tasks carried out by the WIS.
The WIS has two major educational arms – the Department of Science Teaching and the Davidson Institute of Science Education. The Science Teaching department focuses on building a network for science educators while the Davidson Institute specializes in promoting science to students and general public. Dr. Chern met with Prof. Anat Yarden and Dr. Liat Ben-David, the Head of the Department and the Director-General of the Institute, respectively, to exchange methods on facilitating science outreach programs. During the conversation with Dr. Chern, Prof. Yarden elaborated on her experience of being one of the Co-Chairs of the education conference and talked about how the conference can inspire ideas on science teaching. Dr. Ben-David, on the other hand, touched upon the institute’s works on motivating students and public’s interests on science by disseminating the campus resources through various scientific and educational activities.
In addition, Dr. Chern also took the opportunity on campus to talk with Prof. Reshef Tenne, the former Head of the Department of Materials and Interfaces and a distinguished scientist in the field of material science and nanotechnology. Prof. Tenne is also the former Emeritus Chair Professor at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST). With the unique connection to Taiwan, Prof. Tenne expressed his interest in the Tang Prize’s mission in science education and also conveyed a willingness to work with researchers and entrepreneurs in Taiwan to further facilitate the research development of nanocomposites.
Besides exchanging ideas with prominent academic leaders, Dr. Chern also met with the Director-General of the Wolf Foundation, Reut Inon-Berman, and Estella Ophir of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to share experiences on the dissemination of international awards and promotion of interactions among laureates and the future generations. By visiting the influential academic and nonacademic organizations worldwide, the Tang Prize not only promotes its core value but also encourages science and education outreach among the four award fields.