Tang Prize Exhibition Popularizes Big Ideas
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The Glory of the Tang Prize exhibition garnered accolades and support from event goers in Taipei when it debuted in the first year of the prize in 2014. Now, as the third year of the Tang Prize is about to begin, a new and improved version of the Glory of the Tang Prize is on the verge of opening to the public. While past exhibitions have given visitors a chance to learn about the lives and accomplishments of the laureates, this year will give visitors a deeper experience of the scientific and scholarly work by incorporating interactive experiences. The exhibit will open today (7) at the central hall of National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and run to October 28; then, it will be moved to the National Science & Technology Museum in Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung and will run from November 2 to January 27.

Different from other interactive experiences, the Tang Prize exhibit areas, one per prize category, each have a different game that allows visitors to better understand the details of each major accomplishment. In the sustainable development area, for instance, there is an Eco Station with a house set up that allows the visitor to compare the energy use of two types of windows: regular windows and smart windows. Smart windows use a vacuum-walled glass filled with argon, and one pane of the glass is coated in a highly-reflective insulation layer of metal paint. With smart windows equipped, instead of entering the room and adding to the indoor heat, shortwave infrared light from the sun the light is reflected by the smart windows, and the room is kept cool. And in cold winter nights, the longer infrared light is kept in the room, keeping it nice and warm. By interacting with the Eco Station, visitors will be able to learn about smart windows first hand, and experience them beyond abstract concepts.

CEO of the Tang Prize Jenn-Chuan Chern said of the opening that there is a greater opportunity for the public to understand these deep ideas of the laureates, especially in comparison with past exhibitions, which did not incorporate interactive elements. Now, with elements of popular science and interactive games, these complex ideas will be brought home to the common person.

Laureates have added to the character of the display by donating certain items signifying their life and work. This includes a United Nations Environment Programme trophy given to Veerabhadran Ramanathan (Sustainable Development) and a pair of Nikes donated by Brian J. Druker (Biopharmaceutical Science). The shoes were signed by the Nike founder Phil Knight and given to Druker, an avid runner, on the founding of the Oregon Health and Science University Knight Cancer Institute, which was headed by Druker. The shoes symbolize the long road of the battle against cancer.

Two central pieces of the space will be the Tang Prize Medal and Diploma, each a unique design piece in its own right: unlike coin-like medals, the Tang Prize medal is in the shape of a spiral, which implies several levels of meaning, including the structure of DNA and the flight path of a dragon. And this year’s diploma, designed by famed book designer Irma Boom is both abstract and original; its simple use of paper and folding is paired with vivid green, yellow, red, and blue to represent the four prize categories, Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law, respectively. Boom’s inspiration for the set came from The Road Not Taken of the American poet, Robert Frost, symbolizing the bold decisions of the laureates.

Tang Prize Week, a series of events running from September 19 – 28, centers around the award ceremony on September 21. For more information on the week and its events, including the open dates for the exhibit, please visit the Tang Prize website http://www.tang-prize.org/en/week.php