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Science Council Sees Bright Future in Nanotechnology
[June 15, 2004]

Science Council Sees Bright Future in Nanotechnology

Aiming to boost Taiwan high-tech innovation and international competitiveness, the National Science Council (°ê¬ì·|) is set to focus on research and development programs in the pioneering field of nanotechnology and in the application of nano-products.

"Nanotechnology is most important scientific development in the 21st century, at least in the first-half of this century," said new NSC Minister Wu Maw-kuen (§d­Z©ø) as he spoke to the press yesterday.

Outlining the long-term goals of NSC over the next five to ten years, Wu said a number of specialized nanotechnology branches would be targeted, and the government would promote the cultivation of nano-science talents through joint programs with top academic institutions.

"We will see the rapid development of nanotechnology in the coming years," Wu said in his first major address since taking over NSC post last month. "It has widespread applications in the manufacturing of IC semiconductors, optoelectronics, precision instruments, bio-engineering, as well as other industrial production processes."

He also promised that more funding and resources would be committed to create a relatively open and unrestricted environment at leading research centers for the development of nano-sciences in Taiwan.

"I believe that we have the scientific training, the skills, and ingenuity in the human talent here in Taiwan," he said. "We have a very good prospects of progressing to rank among the world leaders in nanotechnology," said Wu.

With a Ph.D. in physics from University of Houston, the new NSC head Wu is renowned for his specialized studies in superconductor material and application of superconductivity. Before returning to Taiwan in 1990, he held the position of professor of physics at the University of Alabama and Columbia University in the U.S.

Before taking up the NSC position, Wu served as the director of Academia Sinica's (¤¤¥¡¬ã¨s°|) Institute of Physics, and director of Material Science Center at National Tsing Hua University.

Wu told journalists that public education is important to raising awareness in the new high-tech fields, as most people still do not understand much about nanotechnology and how it will transform daily lives in the near future.

Seen as someone with the right academic background and first-rate credentials which include numerous research awards received in the U.S. and Taiwan, Wu was recommended by Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tseh (§õ»·­õ) as the person to take charge the NSC, the country's highest body responsible for the development of national science and technology programs.

Wu explained that nano-science is not just about making products on an extremely small scale where measurement are based on the nano-meter, or one-billionth of a meter. Much of nanotechnology research is about the surface interaction of materials, the behavior of atoms and molecules at these interfaces, and how to make the best use of these phenomena at this scale, he said.

Using the human nerve network as an example, Wu said the neuron response pathway and interactions between cells function on the nano-meter scale.

At yesterday's press forum held to outline the NSC's main future research programs, Wu was also accompanied by the three executive NSC deputy ministers Hsieh Ching-jyh (Á²M §Ó), Liao Chun-chen (¹ù«T¦Ú), and Chi Gou-chung (¬ö°êÁé).

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