head img  
NTU Taiwan University img


NTU Center for the Advancement of Science Education Offers
Navigation Cruise in "Darwin's Amazing Journey"

The "Exploration Lecture Series in Basic Science", organized by NTU's Center for the Advancement of Science Education (NTUCASE), kicked off in the Lecture Hall of the Institute of Applied Mechanics on April 11th. In that afternoon, President Si-chen Lee, Vice President Tai-Jen Chen, Dean of the Office of Academic Affairs Dr. Been-Huang Chiang, Dean of the College of Sciences Dr. Ching-Hua Lo, and Dean of the College of Life Sciences Dr. Chu-Fang Lo graced the occasion with their attendance. This lecture series, entitled ""Darwin's Amazing Journey", was comprised of eight lectures and the contents of which covered Darwin's biographical history, human evolution and biology. Mr. Daw-Huan Wang of the Institute of Philology of Academia Sinica and Dr. Chen-Kung Chou of Chang-Kung University served as the two major speakers. In addition to commemorating Charles Darwin—the great man of biology's 200th birthday, the Center for the Advancement of Science Education expects the lectures series to be a guiding force for basic scientific education in the Chinese speaking world.

The lecture series set sail on the viewing of a short video clip entitled "The Origin of Life." President Si-Chen Lee delivered a speech in which he encouraged the Exploration Lecture Series to become a pioneer for science education, and he hoped that by way of interesting stories, exciting discoveries and new knowledge, the Series could stimulate students' curiosity to enable them to explore the treasure of knowledge through self-study. For his part, Vice President Tai-Jen Chen related the story of Michael Faraday, and said it was NTU's incumbent responsibility to share the spirit and substance of science with the society at large. "Darwin's Amazing Journey" was the first educational outreach program of CASE, so in his capacity as the Dean of the Office of Academic Affairs Dr. Been Huang Chiang urged that this lecture series contribute NTU's knowledge power to our society.

By integrating basic science and communication techniques, CASE seeks to establish a platform for natural science education in the Chinese language. CASE collaborates with the National Center for High Performance Computing to turn the lecture series into a synchronous and non-synchronous e-learning platform. As in the case of the April 11th lectures, students of Kaohsiung Girls High School and Ming-Dao High school were able to watch the lectures on line and interact with the speakers. In the future the texts and audio-video recordings of all lectures will be collected in the CASE's database, so as to facilitate non-synchronous on line viewing. (For details, please refer to: http://case.ntu.edu.tw/darwin/colife.html)

The first stop of "Darwin's Amazing Journey" was a lecture given by Mr. Daw-Huan Wang on Darwin's life. He led the audience to understand Darwin's biographical background and how Darwin proposed his theory of evolution. Additionally, Mr. Wang introduced the social, cultural, and historical context of the 19th century, turning the first lecture into a feast of both science and humanities. When Darwin set sail for South America on the Beagle, he witnessed a variety of flora and fauna in the Brazilian rain forest, which led him to become aware of the bio-diversity of the tropical ecosystem. And when he saw the extreme changes from primitive livelihood to civilization on the part of the aborigines on Tierra del Fuego, he was inspired by the tremendous possibilities of human nature. These encounters made Darwin become the "father of the theory of evolution" as he is well known in history. Mr. Wang's forcefully articulated and humorous lecture enthralled the attending guests and students, whose knowledge about Darwin and the theory of evolution were greatly enhanced as a result. The remainder of "Darwin's Amazing Journey" can be expected to be equally entertaining as it unfolds.

In essence, CASE combines scientific knowledge with cutting edge communication technology to establish a high caliber platform for scientific education, allowing students and the general public an opportunity to participate in a scientific gala party, and turning its weekend lectures series into a source of scientific enlightenment for the citizens of Taiwan. Listed below are the themes and schedules of the eight lectures:

    From April to June, Saturday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • April 11th (Charles Darwin)
    2009 marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birthday. Why is Darwin important? How does Darwin view our world?
    Non-synchronous audio and video at : http://knowledge.nchc.org.tw/ntu/index.aspx
  • April 25th (The Evolution of Human Beings)
    Where do we come from? How do fossils reconstruct the history of human evolution which is nearly 5 million years old?
  • May 2nd (The Human Relations between the Two Sexes)
    "May we fly together in the sky like a pair of lovebirds". Human beings are mammals, but how come human relations between the two sexes are more like those of the birds?
  • May 9th (The Human Brain)
    Man is the lord of creation. But there' no such thing as a free lunch. What price does man pay for his high-capacity brain?
  • May 23rd (What is Life?)
    Starting from physicist Schrodinger's speech on "What is Life,", the speaker explores the relation between life, energy and information.
  • May 30th (Why is life so complex?)
    How did a protozoa evolve into our colorful world? (Venue: Lecture Hall of the College of Liberal Arts)
  • June 13th (The Rebellion of Life: Cancer)
    How does cancer occur? What are the characteristics of cancer cells and the treatments thereof?
  • June 27th (The Termination of Life)
    Why does life age? How come a rat only live for two years, yet a human being get to live a hundred years ?

Chinese version