President Lee Teng-hui met today with Professor Steven Chu, the 1997 Nobel laureate in physics. Besides welcoming Professor Chu on his visit to Taiwan to give academic lectures, President Lee praised him for the development of a method to cool and trap atoms with lasers, a breakthrough in physics which won him the Nobel prize.
During the meeting, President Lee showed great interest in and asked several questions regarding how Professor Chu slowed down the movements of atoms by cooling them to an ultralow temperature. The visiting physicist replied to the questions with vivid detail.
The President also gave Professor Chu a brief introduction to the history of Taiwan. Moreover, they exchanged views extensively on such topics as education and culture.
The President said that education has always been a priority for the Republic of China government, with the annual budget for education, science and culture consistently accounting for 15 percent of the government's total. By allocating abundant resources to education, the ROC has cultivated many generations of talent in addition to laying a foundation for its economic success, he said. The President also expressed his hope that Professor Chu would visit Taiwan more often and contribute more to the scientific and technological research in the ROC.
A fourth-time visitor to Taiwan, the 1977 Nobel prize winner is in Taiwan for a lecture-giving tour at the invitation of the ROC government. He said that he is deeply impressed by the local development in physics and the enthusiasm of young students here for learning. He is willing to provide his knowledge for the promotion of academic exchanges in physics, he offered.
Accompanied by Chairman Huang Chen-tai of National Science Council, Professor Chu and his fiancee, Dr. Jean Fetter, met with President Lee at the Presidential Office this morning. Dr. Huang Kun-huei, Secretary-General to the President, was also present.