Professor Jung-Kai Chen of the Mathematics Department Selected as the Ten Outstanding Youths of the Republic of China
The “48th Ten Outstanding Youth” selection activity, organized by the Junior Chamber International Federation of the Republic of China, came to a satisfactory ending. Professor Jung-Kai Chen of the Department of Mathematics, emerged victorious as one of the winners. In greeting the winners, President Ying-jeou Ma said that ever since the Ten Outstanding Youth Award was inaugurated in 1963, hundreds of people from all walks of life have won this eminent award. He praised the winners as “living models” of the society, both virtuous and talented, and worthy of emulation by other members of our society.
Professor Chen’s area of specialization is algebraic geometry. Over the years his academic performance received very high recognition. He is one of the internationally renowned scholars in this field, and the algebraic geometry team under his leadership is also one of the most active research teams in Taiwan.
Professor Chen’s scholastic attainments received many honors, including the Young Scholar’s Writing Award of the Academia Sinica, and the Outstanding Research Award of the National Science Council(twice). In the area of teaching, his contributions are well received by students. In the last two years, he was selected as one of the Excellent Teachers of our University. Many of the students under his tutorship have gone abroad to study at the top universities, and some of them have begun to make a name for themselves. In fact, aside from his personal achievements, Professor Chen has made great contributions to the mathematical society as a whole. He started the algebraic geometry research team from scratch, and made it into one of the most active research teams in Taiwan. In this regard, credit should be given to him and Professor Chin-Lung Wang, who also teaches at the Mathematics Department. Particularly worth mentioning is the fact that Professor Chen spares no effort in participating in public affairs.
Starting from 2006, Professor Chen became the Secretary General of the Mathematical Society of the Republic of China. During his four years of tenure, he successfully improved the financial situation of the Society, and founded an electronic newsletter, thereby lending a new look to the Society. Starting from 2009, he became the convener for the mathematics discipline for the National Science Council, and made important contributions to uplifting the standard of mathematics research in Taiwan. That he could become the convener for the mathematics discipline is sufficient to prove that he is well received by the math academicians of Taiwan. Yet, looking back to 1997, Professor Chen could not but feel a bit lucky for himself. At that time, he just returned o Taiwan to teach, and the academia of Taiwan was engulfed in a craze to publish. For researchers who just returned to Taiwan to teach, how to find a suitable topic for research was the most serious and critical question. Hot topics lend themselves to easy research, but new researchers under information and resources scarce situations usually found it hard to compete with other main-stream research groups. To esoteric problems, on the other hand, often borders on being meaningless. So, after much thinking, Professor Chen chose the birational characterization problem for abelian variety as his topic. This topic has been considered by many top-notch scholars, of none of them could find a solution. In other words, it was a topic that mainstream scholars would be interested in, but it certainly was not on their priority to-do list. After spending three hard fought years on this topic, and overcoming the seeming lack of achievement in the process, Professor Chen finally solved the problem of birational characterization, and had his paper published in the top journal of mathematics. After this hard period, the whole breadth and depth of the problem encountered smooth development.
Professor Chen wants to extend his special thanks to his wife, daughters and his family for their long-term support, while expressing his appreciation to his colleagues for their recognition and support. He hopes that, through receiving this Award, the youths that are interested in engaging in theoretical science could gain some inspiration, and that, the youths who are physically handicapped, could win the recognition and respect from everyone by striving on their own.