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A homecoming for science



Nelson Tansu

Nelson Tansu, the P.C. Rossin Assistant Professor of electrical and computer engineering, returned home to Indonesia recently to help motivate Asian students to pursue careers in science and engineering.

Tansu joined a dozen internationally renowned scientists, including five Nobel laureates, at the Asian Science Camp Conference 2008 in the city of Sanur on the Indonesian island of Bali. Tansu is a native of Medan in North Sumatra, Indonesia.

The conference is modeled after an annual meeting of Nobel laureates and students that has been held for more than a half-century in Lindau, Germany. Its goals are to inspire science students through interaction with the world’s top scientists and to promote friendship and cooperation among the students. The conference attracted 300 students from Indonesia and 60 from other Asian nations.

Tansu, a faculty member with Lehigh’s Center for Optical Technologies, gave two invited presentations: “Solid State Lighting and Semiconductor Nanotechnology for Energy Applications” and “Scientific Research Approaches in Applied Physics and Nanophotonics.”

He also took part in a panel discussion titled “Latest Trends in Science Development.” The other panel members were Yuan-Tseh Lee of Taiwan, the 1986 Nobel laureate in chemistry; Myriam Sarachik of the United States, former president of the American Physical Society and winner of the 2005 L’Oreal-UNESCO “For Women in Science” Award; and Chintamani N. R. Rao of India, winner of the 2000 Hughes Medal Award from the Royal Society, England’s top science academy.

In addition to Tansu, Lee, Sarachik and Rao, the speakers at the conference included Richard Robert Ernst of Switzerland, the 1991 Nobel laureate in chemistry; Douglas D. Osheroff of the U.S., the 1996 Nobel laureate in physics, David Gross of the U.S., the 2004 Nobel laureate in physics, and Masatoshi Koshiba of Japan, the 2002 Nobel laureate in physics. Lee, Sarachik, Ernst, Osheroff, Gross, and Koshiba are also members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

The speakers were invited to a dinner hosted by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the Tampak Siring Palace in Bali.

The Asian Science Camp Conference was started by Lee and Koshiba. It was first held in 2007 in Taiwan, where it was organized by that country’s Wu Chien-Shiung Education Foundation and Academia Sinica. It will be held in 2009 in Japan.

Tansu said it was “humbling to have the opportunity to exchange thoughts on academic research with so many distinguished scientists. It was also a great honor to share my thoughts on energy and applied physics research with the future generation of students in Asia. I am confident these motivated students will play a significant role in pushing back the frontiers of science and engineering, especially in areas related to energy, environment and health care.”

--Kurt Pfitzer


Posted on Friday, September 26, 2008

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