At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) briefing on Taiwan's important role in the field of black hole research. He thanked the scientists and engineers who garnered international recognition for Taiwan for contributions to the advancement of astronomy. The premier described their impressive efforts as "science diplomacy," while invoking the famous moon speech delivered by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
Premier Su also directed MOST and the Ministry of Education to encourage and inspire young students in the exploration of nature and the pursuit of their dreams. Cultivating a new generation of scientific and technological researchers will boost Taiwan's research capabilities, he said.
MOST and Academia Sinica participated in a large international project on black hole research that saw collaboration from 20 countries including the United States and Japan. After assembling the largest telescope array on Earth, the team succeeded in capturing history's first ever image of a black hole and published the results on April 10, 2019.
In addition to the role played by Taiwan researchers in this groundbreaking science, Taiwan designed and built receiver cartridges used in the telescope array. Taiwan is also project leader for the first submillimeter telescope to operate within the Arctic Circle.
Recalling President Kennedy's justification for grand science and exploration in the famous "We Choose to Go to the Moon" speech delivered at Houston's Rice University in 1962, Premier Su said that at the time many asked why go to the moon, and why choose this goal. Kennedy answered them by asking why climb the highest mountain or risk crossing the oceans. The former president said that the U.S. would go to the moon not because it was easy, but because it was hard, and not on a whim, but because it met the needs of the nation. Only because the U.S. had the vision and devoted the nation's resources was Neil Armstrong finally able to set foot on the surface of the moon in 1969, said the premier.