Taipei, Selecting the recently announced winners of the Tang Prize was not easy because of the wide range of potential candidates, but the contributions of those chosen embodied the spirit of the prize and will raise public interest in their fields, the selection committee chairman has said.
Tang Prize selection committee chairman and convener Chien Shu (??) said Wednesday that finalizing a winner for each of the four Tang Prize categories was difficult even if the scholars making the decision were highly accomplished in their own right.
"Regardless of the category, the aim of the selection committee was to choose the best person in each field with a consensus," he said.
The winners of the 2018 Tang Prize are James Hansen and Veerabhadran Ramanathan in sustainable development; Tony Hunter, Brian Druker and John Mendelsohn in biopharmaceutical science; Yoshinobu Shiba and Stephen Owen in Sinology; and Joseph Raz in rule of law.
Citing biopharmaceutical science as an example of the challenges, Chien said it covers a wide range of topics, and while the research of this year's winners focused on cancer therapies, the prize in the future may go to pioneers in fighting heart disease or other illnesses.
"Therefore, it is not easy to select winners whose research benefits human beings the most and is consistent with the spirit of Tang Prize," he said.
According to Chien, committee members were very happy after making each selection because they finally reached agreement on the best candidates in each category.
"This is very important, because if the winners are able to gain the confidence of the judges, they will certainly be more convincing to outside observers," Chien said.
Awarded this year for the third time, the biennial Tang Prize has successfully won international acclaim since it was initiated in 2012 and first awarded in 2014, he said.
"Not many people knew what the Tang Prize was six years ago. But it is quite well-known now and winners take pride in winning the prize," he said.
The research of Tang Prize winners will not only call public attention to such issues as climate change or human health, but will also encourage young people to devote their energy to related studies, he said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel