NCU welcomes Professor Rudolph A. Marcus’ visit

Invited by University System of Taiwan and Sayling Wen Cultural and Educational Foundation, Professor Rudolph A. Marcus, the Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry 1992, came to visitTaiwanand gave speeches to share his life and career experiences with many enthusiastic students and teachers in mid-November.

Professor Marcus was born in Canada in 1923 and received his higher education to be trained as an experimentalist in chemistry. Surprisingly, later in his life, he was awarded the Nobel Prize as a theorist “for his contributions to the theory of electron transfer reactions in chemistry systems”.

In the first part of his speech, he briefly presented the electron transfer reactions. He then talked about his realization of theory being his major interest and how his attention switched from experiments to theories during those early years of his research.

This unique experience benefits him to consider his research from both sides’ viewpoints.

Experiments, for him, are a rich source for theory; only based on experiment results could he derive the key equations of electron transfer reactions, which led to the Nobel Prize afterwards.

On the other hand, he thinks highly of the simplicity of a theory. With simple equations, it is much easier for experimentalists to understand so that they can apply them to other experiments. New theories or inventions may therefore come out of these mutual stimulations.

He encouraged students to stay curious about their studies and everything; persistence equally counts. A scientist should possess “a burning desire to get things done, to understand things.”

To honor his presence, his name and contributions to chemistry are marked on a bench in front of Zhong-zheng Library. Through the dedication, NCU also hopes that in the future more people know about Professor Marcus whenever one passes the bench, reading the inscription.