As global warming becomes a daily reality and energy grids around the globe bear even heavier loads, it is becoming increasingly difficult to strike a balance between the environment and human existence. Undoubtedly, sustainable development has become the biggest challenge of the 21st century as well as a shared concern among international communities. Consequently, the Tang Prize, rooted in the cultural traditions of the Chinese world, established four categories of awards which reflect the pressing needs of contemporary society, one of which is the category of Sustainable Development. This year, the American “Godfather” of energy efficiency, Arthur H. Rosenfeld, was named as the recipient of the 2016 Tang Prize in Sustainable Development. Rosenfeld is known in energy circles for his role in assisting the state of California to overcome the energy crisis of the 1970s, a success story that is applicable to other nations. On July 7, the CEO of the Tang Prize Foundation, Jenn-Chuan Chern, visited Rosenfeld in person to congratulate him on the award. While in Berkeley, Chern also visited Paul Alivisatos, the Vice Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, and exchanged views on what environmental sustainability means, and how the establishment of the Tang Prize is significant to the development of humanity.
Alivisatos is the former director of the world-famous Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (commonly referred to as the Berkeley Lab). Research at the Berkeley Lab focuses on pursuing better solutions for sustainable energy, protecting the health of mankind, as well as exploring the origin and future of the universe. These aspects are closely related to two categories of the Tang Prize, namely, the categories of Sustainable Development and Biopharmaceutical Science. Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with twelve scholars at Berkeley Lab. Alivisatos expressed that it was the university’s great honor to have two scholars recognized by the Tang Prize, including Rosenfeld in the category of Sustainable Development and Jennifer Doudna in the category of Biopharmaceutical Science.
Located in northern California, UC Berkeley is a renowned public research university in the U.S. which ranks third among all universities around the world, according to the US News and World Report “Best Global University Rankings” published in October, 2015. Seven Nobel laureates are UC Berkeley graduates. It is also where former Academia Sinica President Yuan-Tseh Lee was teaching when he was announced as the 1986 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry. After visiting the center for education and technology, Chern felt deeply honored to personally witness a practice that tries to strike a balance between development and coexistence with nature. He added, “Alivisatos and Lee have been friends for years. Alivisatos greatly admires Lee for his contributions to the field of sustainable development in international communities. Alivisatos also hopes to revisit Taiwan and exchange ideas with the scholars at the Academia Sinica and National Taiwan University.”
The purpose of the Tang Prize is to recognize the efforts of pioneering scholars with the goal of fostering collaborative development across the globe. On behalf of the Tang Prize Foundation, Chern congratulated American physicist Dr. Rosenfeld, who helped California overcome the energy crisis and who has been a prophetic voice in global energy efficiency. According to Chern, Rosenfeld was happy to receive such an honor and hoped that the prize could also encourage Taiwanese citizens to follow international codes and thus increase overall energy efficiency.
Chern also visited one of the recipients of the 2016 Tang Prize in Biopharmaceutical Science, Jennifer Doudna, a professor at UC Berkeley. Doudna also related that she was happy to win the Tang Prize and that she looked forward to visiting Taiwan in September to attend the award ceremony. Doudna is scheduled to visit Taipei First Girls High School in September and share with the students her personal experiences during her career as a scientific researcher. She hopes that her talk will encourage more students in Taiwan to dedicate themselves to scientific research.