Following the announcement of its 2022 recipients in late June, the Tang Prize Foundation has been exploring ways to offer the public a closer look at its laureates’ contributions and to inspire creative imagination about what our common future might look like. After months of careful planning, the Foundation launched the “Tang Prize 10th Anniversary Exhibition,” with the opening ceremony taking place on September 1. Dr. Jenn-Chuan Chern, CEO of the Tang Prize Foundation, Dr. Ovid Tzeng, board member of the Tang Prize Foundation, academician of Academia Sinica and former minister of education, Ms. Jennifer Tsai, designer of Tang Prize diplomas, Ms. Kelly Kok, executive director of the Jane Goodall Institute Taiwan, and Mr. Giuseppe Izzo, vice chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan jointly cut the ribbon to formally lift the curtain on the exhibition.
Arranged around the theme of “Four Lessons about the Tang Prize,” it features the Tang Prize mascot “Dr. Tang” as the lecturer, surrounded by display cabinets, interactive installations, videos, pictures and cartoons to make it easy and enjoyable for visitors to study the often erudite and complicated works and theories by current and former Tang Prize laureates in Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law. This free exhibition runs from September 1 to October 30 in the Central Hallway of the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and will be housed for two years starting November 5 at Kaohsiung’s National Science and Technology Museum.
Speaking in the ceremony, Dr. Chern pointed out that though at the moment, the world is faced with various serious challenges, the breakthroughs achieved by Tang Prize laureates together with their active engagement with social issues have provided us with solutions to many of the problems this century is beset with, and given us guidance on how to further advance human civilization. Therefore, it has been the Foundation’s mission to bring the achievements of Tang Prize laureates closer to more people through the Tang Prize Week events, where they can learn about the best and most cutting-edge research in life and social sciences, be impacted by the laureates’ positive attitudes, find role models to emulate, and make real efforts to broaden their horizons. It is a kind of spirit echoed by Dr. Jennifer Doudna, recipient of 2016 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science, in her expectations of the Tang Prize: “May you continue to support all people, men and women, to pursue truth and wisdom through science.” It is hoped that by staging the exhibition in both northern and southern Taiwan, the general public and young students can get a chance to relish a sumptuous banquet of academic excellence while they journey through a rich array of aesthetic designs.
This year’s exhibition is composed of seven units, each allowing visitors to “Get to Know the Tang Prize in 6 Simple Questions,” take 4 classes, one per award category, in Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law, browse through items donated by laureates, and glance through the results of first ten years of the Tang Prize. To make the exhibit more inviting and approachable, interactive games were especially designed to elucidate the research of Tang Prize laureates. These include learning how to make mRNA vaccine, doing a personality test on a touch screen in the Halls of Law, removing boards from a table to examine the global implications of SDGs, and flipping plates to discover the connection between horses and cultural transmission. With illustrations of Dr. Tang offering timely explanations, it guarantees that everyone can breeze through these lessons on laureates’ lifetime achievements. In addition, items gifted by laureates that has personal significance to them are on display in the special collection booth. You can also saunter to the area where the history of the Tang Prize in the past 10 years is demonstrated through the accounts of the past Tang Prize Weeks, the Foundation’s international activities and publications as well as interesting statistics on former and current laureates. Many are valuable historical materials worth perusing.
Also unveiled in today’s ceremony were the latest Tang Prize diplomas, works of art by Jennifer Tsai, managing and creative director of Proad Identity with 76 international design awards under her belt. Her talent is best demonstrated by employing modern techniques to present traditional Eastern aesthetics in a new light. To reify the philosophy of the Tang Prize, she drew visual inspiration from classical Greek philosophy, looking to the four building blocks of our universe—water, earth, wind, and fire. Water is where life originated and thrives; earth is where most food and medicine grow; wind signifies the power to spread the seed of culture; and fire signals the dawn of civilization. Respectively and on a symbolic level, they correspond to the four fields of the Tang Prize. The existence of this correspondence also suggests the intrinsic importance of sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, Sinology, and the rule of law to the well-being of humanity.
The question about how to illustrate these four elements was centered on how to reflect the core values of Sinology. From selecting papers, to making printing plates, to debossing and laser engraving patterns, every stage of the production was marked with skilled craftsmanship and a striving for perfection. The methods of gold printing and foil printing were then used to create different shades of gold to give the final product a look of exquisite beauty suffused with oriental intrigue. It not only pays homage to all the outstanding laureates but also demonstrates the aesthetic appeal of the printing techniques. While the past Tang Prize diplomas came from the minds of the winners of the international design contests staged by the Foundation, as time went by and different ideas evolved, it was decided that the 2020 set would be the one that would be awarded to all future recipients as a way to ensure the essential spirit of the Tang Prize will be bequeathed to many generations to come.
About the Tang Prize
With the advent of globalization, mankind has been able to enjoy the convenience brought forth by the advancement of human civilization and science. Yet a multitude of challenges, such as climate change, the emergence of new infectious diseases, wealth gap, and moral degradation, have surfaced along the way. Against this backdrop, Dr. Samuel Yin established the Tang Prize in December 2012. It consists of four award categories, namely Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law. Every other year, four independent and professional selection committees, made up of many internationally renowned experts, scholars, and Nobel winners, choose as Tang Prize recipient people who with great influence and great contributions to the world, regardless of ethnicity, nationality or gender. A cash prize of NT$50 million (approx. US$1.7 million) is allocated to each category, with NT$10 million (approx. US$ 0.35 million) of it being a research grant intended to support relevant educational projects, so as to prompt people to pay more attention to mankind’s most urgent needs in the 21st century, and to become leading forces behind the development of human society through their outstanding research and active civic engagement.