NATIONAL CHENG KUNG UNIVERSITY, TAINAN, TAIWAN
BANYAN
Volume 12 Issue 2 - January 1, 2010
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Commentary
Da Hsuan Feng
2009 International Workshop of Differential Equations and their Applications
December 18-21, 2009
Meei-shia Chen
Taiwan Should Halt Global Warming with the Consciousness of True Global Citizenship
Hsin-Chih Chen
China Established World Domination Status after the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference
Article Digest
Jui-Hsiang Liu
Process equipped with a sloped UV lamp for the fabrication of gradient-refractive- index lenses
Jone F. Chen
On-Resistance Degradation Induced by Hot-Carrier Injection in LDMOS Transistors with STI in the Drift Region
Yi-Ching Wang
Paxillin Is a Target for Somatic Mutations in Lung Cancer: Implications for Cell Growth and Invasion
Article Digest
Hong-Hwa Chen
A novel homodimeric geranyl diphosphate synthase from the orchid Phalaenopsis bellina lacking a DD(X)2–4D motif
News Release
Britton Chance Center for Biomedical Photonics (BC CBMP)
Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST)
White Paper
3rd Meeting of the International Advisory Board
Banyan Forum
Opportunities
Activities
Editorial Group
2009 International Workshop of Differential Equations and their Applications
December 18-21, 2009
Da Hsuan Feng
Senior Executive Vice President
Interim Vice President for Research and Development
National Cheng Kung University
I was asked by the NCKU organizer of this Workshop, my colleague Professor Yung-fu Fang (方永富), to say a few words of welcome here.

The Workshop with the aforementioned title, is organized by NCKU's Department of Mathematics from the College of Science, National Center for Theoretical Sciences (South) and a colleague, Professor Yuusuke Iso (磯祐介) from Kyoto University's Dept. of Applied Analysis and Complex Dynamical Systems.

I am sure I was bestowed this great honor only because of my administrative title, since I am transparently neither a mathematician nor an applied mathematician. I guess the closest (and highly nonlinear) affinity I have with applied mathematics is that the great applied mathematics society, SIAM (or Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics,) had its genesis at the university where I began my academic career: Drexel University in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, it slipped away from Drexel before I arrived at the university.

Still, I am a firm believer that if NCKU were to achieve prominence as a comprehensive university, having an intellectually robust mathematics and applied mathematics program matters and it is non-negotiable! For this reason, I am very pleased to see this Workshop is held here on campus.

Ladies and gentlemen, whenever I think about mathematics, I am always amused by a lighter moment of my life. When my daughter was in high school, she played the violin. In one of her performances, the orchestra which accompanied her included an older gentleman in the first violin section. I later found out that this older gentleman is a great mathematician, and his name is Eugenio Calabi, who developed, I am sure you know far more than I do, the so-called Calabi-Yau (丘成桐) manifolds. So, in a sense, while I did not have the opportunity to listen to Calabi talking about mathematics, I did hear him playing the violin! Actually, to me, that is not too regrettable. After all, for me, listening to a mathematics talk is like listening to an Italian opera: It's beautiful and I don't understand a word of it.

To our distinguished visitors from abroad and domestic, I like to welcome all of you to sunny Tainan. I like to especially say a special hello to Professor Iso and all your colleagues from Kyoto University. I should let you know that because of our structural, intellectual and historical similarities, NCKU considers your university our “benchmark.” We hope that NCKU can enter into a deeper and more sustainable relation with your university so that we can learn more from you.

Since this is a Workshop about differential equations and applications, I cannot help myself to mention one of the first, if not the first of such an effort, and what a glorious effort it was. I am sure you can guess which effort I am referring to.  It was the “creation” of the differential equations by James Clark Maxwell, whose name sake equations fundamentally and totally explained electromagnetic radiations.

Of course, even for Maxwell equations, there were skeptics, as I am sure you will find yours in your work. Maxwell's “critic,” if you can call him that, was the great Michael Faraday. He wrote the following critique about Maxwell equations:
The attention of two very able men and eminent mathematicians (Lord Kelvin and Sir James Clark Maxwell) has fallen upon my proposition to represent the magnetic force; and it is to me a source of great gratification and much encouragement to find that they affirm the truthfulness and generality of the method of representation.

This is obviously one of the most elegant ways of saying “I find it hard to believe that these equations can represent the complex phenomena so well!” To criticize with such elegance is truly an art that is no longer present today!

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