Tang Prize Launches a Laureate and Diploma Exhibit in Kaohsiung
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A “Laureate and Diploma Exhibit” organized by the Tang Prize Foundation is scheduled to run from February 4, 2021, to February 5, 2023, at the National Science and Technology Museum in Kaohsiung. Through information written in plain language, multimedia presentations, immersive experiences, and activities such as letter writing, this exhibit aims to help the general public learn about the Tang Prize as well as its 2020 laureates, and understand how this Taiwan-based prize has been making good use of its fair nomination and selection procedures and its innovative and attractive designs to showcase Taiwanese people’s breadth of mind and generosity of spirit, and why the achievements of its laureates have influenced people all over the world. It is hoped that the deep knowledge and the great inspiration this exhibit can provide will encourage visitors to envisage and look forward to a better future.  

The exhibit space is divided into five areas, with the themes that include “The First Impression of the Tang Prize”; “What You Need to Know about the Tang Prize”; “All about the 2020 Laureates”; “Tang Prize Designs”; and “Heart-warming Stories about the Laureates”. “What You Need to Know about the Tang Prize” gives general introductions to the philosophy of the Tang Prize, its four award categories, and its past laureates, as well as explains how it differs from the Nobel Prize. It also features a timeline that lists the main events taking place in the prize’s history. In “All about the 2020 Laureates,” environments reflecting the values each award categories stand for have been created to help visitors get a good grasp of the laureates’ main contributions and of the reasons why they were awarded the Tang Prize. Also featured in this area are the laureates’ views about the pandemic and their advice to young people. Take winner of the 2020 Tang Prize in Sustainable Development, Dr. Jane Goodall, as an example. She is recognized for her groundbreaking discovery that redefines human-animal relationship and for her lifelong commitment to nature conservation. Therefore, a setting that mimics a forest was built to allow visitors to live Dr. Goodall’s fascinating life vicariously. The medal and diplomas on display in “Tang Prize Designs” have all been claimed winners in international design competitions. They are an homage to the laureates, and a manifestation of Taiwan’s cultural assets and the talented designers it nourished. For this reason, the concepts embedded in the creation of these artworks are worth our most careful exploration. “Heart-warming Stories about the Laureates” presents the laureates’ works, relevant documents, as well as the mementos they gifted the Foundation. These items tell moving stories about the laureates not known to the public.       

CEO of the Tang Prize Foundation Dr. Jenn-Chuan Chern pointed out that the Foundation has been collaborating with the Museum for years to hold exhibits for educational purposes. This is the fourth time a Tang Prize exhibit is held at the Museum, and both sides reckoned that the exhibit should be expanded and it should be run for a period of 2 years. When the world is still dealing with a volatile COVID situation and Taiwan’s domestic tourism enjoyed a boom as a result, the expectation is that teachers and parents will feel more motivated to bring students and children to the Museum, not only to increase their knowledge about science, but also to educate them about the laureates’ achievements and the dreams they were able to realize, as it would develop their creativity and give them the courage to rise to challenges lying ahead. Given this rationale, this exhibit echoes the passionate belief of the founder of Tang Prize, Dr. Samuel Yin, that is, education is a noble cause that exerts generational impact.    

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected every aspect of our lives, be it social, economic or environmental. Not only did it pose an existential threat to humanity, but it also caused serious disruptions to the economic and public health systems in some parts of the world struck by both natural and man-made disasters. Compound disasters like these will make it more difficult to carry out restoration work. Dr. Shiunn-Shyang Chen, director-general of the Museum, stressed the special attention paid to sustainable development, disaster prevention and post-disaster recovery in their daily work. For instance, to mark the 10th anniversary of Typhoon Morakot, the exhibit titled “Stories of Recovery and Reconstruction after Morakot” was given an updated version to provide a more complete record of this disaster, and inform visitors of ways to live with disasters, to rebuild after disasters, and to prevent disasters. In light of this, the partnership between the Tang Prize and the Museum signifies a forward-looking attitude embodied by the prize’s four award categories: Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law as all of them are about how mankind should and can tackle complicated issues we all face in the 21st century.

What’s more, a special area called “Letters to the Laureates” was created to afford visitors an opportunity to interact with the laureates. There are four boxes, one for each award category, where written messages or even drawings will be collected and then sent to the laureates. After the April 4th Children’s Day, the Tang Prize Foundation will choose five letters that can be considered “the one that touches many hearts,” “the one that lays out the greatest vision,” “the one that is infused with most creativity,” “the one that is most inspiring,” and “the one that demonstrates the most unflinching resolve,” and give these five authors each a beautiful gift.

We cordially invite everyone to go to the National Science and Technology Museum and spend a few hours absorbing what this unique exhibit is there to offer.