TANG PRIZE/Jane Goodall wins Tang Prize in sustainable development

06/18/2020 11:06 AM
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Jane Goodall (left) / CNA file photo
Jane Goodall (left) / CNA file photo

Taipei, June 18 (CNA) Jane Goodall, a British primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist, was named the winner of the fourth Tang Prize in sustainable development Thursday.

Liu Chao-han (劉兆漢), an academician of Academia Sinica and chairman of the selection committee, made the announcement at a press conference.

"She is recognized for her ground-breaking discovery in primatology that redefines human-animal relationship and for her lifelong, unparalleled dedication to the conservation of Earth environment," Liu said.

In 1960, Goodall started studying primates in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, after she obtained a grant under the auspices of celebrated anthropologist Louis Leakey, who had discovered her potential in that field when they met in Kenya in 1957, according to the award citation released by the Tang Prize Foundation.

"Her discovery in 1960 that chimpanzees make and use tools rocked the scientific world and redefined the relationship between humans and animals," the foundation said.

Chimpanzee behavior, such as making small tools to probe termite tunnels, gesturing to each other with actions like begging with outstretched hands, patting and embracing, were observed and recorded by Goodall, according to the foundation.

Those discoveries provided a "firm basis" for a wide range of evolutionary theorizing, the foundation said.

Goodall, 86, has established several institutions and programs for studying wildlife and promoting environmental conservation, including the Gombe Stream Research Center, the Jane Goodall Institute and Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots Program.

One of the few people admitted to graduate study at University of Cambridge without a college degree, Goodall has won numerous awards and recognition, including the Gold Medal Award from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2006, and was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2002.

Before the Tang Prize, her most recent award was the International Cosmos Prize from the Expo '90 Foundation in Japan in 2017.

The Tang Prize is a biennial award established in 2012 by Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin (尹衍樑), chairman of the Ruentex Group, to honor people who have made prominent contributions in four categories -- sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, sinology, and rule of law.

Norwegian former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland won the first Tang Prize in sustainable development in 2014, followed by American physicist and former commissioner of the California Energy Commission, Arthur H. Rosenfeld in 2016.

James Hansen, director of the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions of Columbia University's Earth Institute shared the 2018 award with Veerabhadran Ramanathan, director of the Center for Clouds, Chemistry and Climate at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.

Winners of the prize will receive a cash award of NT$40 million (US$1.35 million) and NT$10 million in research funding, along with a gold medal and a certificate. A week-long program revolving around the award ceremony will kick off on Sept. 20.

(By Emerson Lim)

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Liu Chao-han (center)
Liu Chao-han (center)
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