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NTU President Si- Chen Lee Honored Professor Shoucheng Zhang with the Agreement of Employment for the Interview Workshops at NTU: Professor Shoucheng Zhang’s Theory of Topological Insulator Won Him the 2012 Dirac Prize

This August, the great news has just been released by CITP (Center of International Theoretical Physics) of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) that Shoucheng Zhang, the physicist of Stanford University won the prize of the 2012 Dirac Prize of physics field with his theory of Topological Insulator. The Dirac Prize is the best honor of physics field provided by CITP (Center of International Theoretical Physics). The other two prizewinners of the 2012 Dirac Medal are Professor F. Duncan M Haldane of Princeton University and Professor Charles Kane of University of Pennsylvania.

The Dirac Prize was founded in 1985. This prize is the name of four prominent awards in the field of theoretical physics, computational chemistry, and mathematics, awarded by different organizations, named in honor of Professor Paul Dirac, one of the great theoretical physicists of the 20th century. Every year, the prizewinners are announced on August 8th, the birthday of Professor Paul Dirac.

Tracing back to 2006, Professor Shoucheng Zhang proposed the material project based on the theory of topological insulator, making him the first scholar of physics field prove the theory of topological insulator by using experiment results. The theory and the application of topological insulator have successfully brought up the revolutionary development in the field of information technology. In 2010, Professor Shoucheng Zhang’s experiment results won the honor of the Europhysics prize, given by the European Physics Society. Furthermore in 2012, he received the highest honor of Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize given by the American Physical Society. All together with the 2012 Dirac Prize on August 8th, Professor Shoucheng Zhang has already received the top three prizes of international physics field. To be specifically noted, Professor Chen Ning Yang was once his mentor during his PhD. years at SBU (State University of New York at Stony Brook), and Shoucheng Zhang has already made himself the role model among the Chinese physicists, following his great instructor, Chen Ning Yang.

The related research teams constituted by the NTU faculty has always been interacting well with Professor Shoucheng Zhang over the past years. Professor Chyh- Hong Chen of the NTU Department of Physics was one of Professor Shoucheng Zhang’s best students.

Ching- Ray Chang, the dean in the NTU College of Physics, suggested that the research of topological insulators has been immensely improved and developed around the whole world so that it is very likely to be applied to be the new material for the making of semi conductor, and hence, topological insulators will definitely have a huge impact on the related application in the industry. In Taiwan, the foundation of nano devices shows the strong advantages. Thus, according to what Ching- Ray Chang said, we should step in this newly risen area of topological insulators as soon as possible just in case before it is too late to compete with the others. Therefore, National Taiwan University invited Professor Shoucheng Zhang to be the guest professor with the interview workshops to have courses in NTU Department of Physics this June in hopes that we can really work on all kinds of possibilities and development of topological insulators. The honor of the 2012 Dirac Medal hereby presented how important it is in this research field.

During Zhang’s visit to National Taiwan University, NTU President Si- Chen Lee not only honored him with the agreement of employment for the interview workshops at NTU but also invited Professor Shoucheng Zhang to give the NTU students two keynote speeches in the new building of the NTU Department of Physics on September 3rd: The Perspective from the Universe through Sand. We expect that the NTU students have the opportunity to learn how the universe emerged through the knowledge from small tiny simple sand.

Professor Shoucheng Zhang’s eldest son just won the gold medal from the IPhO (International Physics Olympiad) in representative of the American team. He received the news that Taiwan has been doing great performances at the IPhO over the past years so that he paid a visit with father to National Taiwan University in hopes that the university students and high school students in Taiwan can be encouraged and inspired to work on the science field through receiving his sincere sharing and expectation to this younger generation.

In his keynote speech at National Taiwan University on September 3rd, Professor introduced his prize- winning topic, “topological insulator and super conductor”, to talk about its possibilities in science field and its impact on industries and corporations.

Professor Shoucheng Zhang’s biography:
Shoucheng Zhang is the Chinese- American scientist, who was born in Shanghai, China in 1963.

Schoucheng Zhang received his bachelor degree at Free University of Berlin in 1983. Later that year, he went advanced study at SBU (State University of New York at Stony Brook) to work on his PhD., instructed by the famous physicist, Chen Ning Yang. Four years later in 1987, he successfully received his PhD. of physics and then worked as the professor at Stanford University in 1993. Professor Zhang is the JG Jackson and CJ Wood professor of physics at Stanford University. He is a condensed matter theorist known for his work on topological insulators, Quantum Spin Hall Effect, spintronics, Quantum Hall Effect and high temperature superconductivity. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Guggenheim fellowship in 2007, the Alexander von Humboldt research prize in 2009, the Europhysics prize in 2010 and the Oliver Buckley prize in 2012, and the Dirac Medal and Prize in 2012 for his theoretical prediction of the Quantum Spin Hall Effect and topological insulators.

In addition to that, Shoucheng Zhang received the honor of the outstanding young scientist award provided by the Physical Society of Republic of China back in 1992. Moreover, the outstanding innovation award provided by IBM Research honored him in 1993. In 2011, he was chosen to be one of the fellows in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Shoucheng Zhang and his research team proposed the theory of Quantum Spin Hall Effect in 2006, and they theoretically predicted the Quantum Spin Hall Effect and topological insulators, making it possible to be put into practice in the IE industry. To be proved, this theoretical theory was proved to be right through the experiments at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg. In the same year of 2007, the Quantum Spin Hall Effect proposed by Shoucheng Zhang and his research team was on the list of “Ten Scientific Breakthrough of the Year in the World” according to Science magazine.

Definition of the key nouns:
Topological insulator: A topological insulator is a material that behaves as an insulator in its interior but whose surface contains protected conducting states required by time-reversal symmetry and by the topology of the quantum description of the insulator. The states cannot be removed by surface passivation if it does not break the time-reversal symmetry.

Quantum Spin Hall Effect and topological insulator: According to the report of The World Journal, the Chinese- American newspaper in the North America, the discovery and the prediction of Quantum Spin Hall Effect porposed by Professor Shoucheng Zhang and his research team were on the list of “Breakthrough of the Year” selected by Science magazine in 2007. The first place on this list was given to Human Genetic Variation. Professor Shoucheng Zhang’s breakthrough was the only research plan led by a Chinese scientist, and it was on the second place along with the other nine scientific breakthroughs in 2007.

It is believed that the Moore’s Law will be most likely unavailable by the end of 2015 because of its problem of over- heated computer chip. The academia has been working on the related research in hopes to develop any other substitutes or alternatives so that they can maintain the Law. Under this situation, the Quantum Spin Hall Effect, proposed by Professor Shoucheng Zhang and his research team, can provide a new electronic form with the features of the spin effect. Their outstanding discovery made it possible that the semi- conductor industry will be able to work out a new survival plan with the same investment. The Quantum Spin Hall state is a state of matter proposed to exist in special, two- dimensional, semiconductors that have a quantized spin- Hall conductance and a vanishing charge- Hall conductance. The Quantum Spin Hall state of matter is the cousin of the integer quantum Hall state, and both states can be realized on lattice that does not require the application of a large magnetic field.

Professor Shoucheng Zhang’s research plan gained the full support from the United States Department of Energy and NSF (National Science Foundation). Moreover, there will be more opportunities to connect with the academic institutes in the Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong because of this Chinese scientist’s great innovation for the industries of technology.

Chinese version