On the morning of July 29th of 2016, the honorary doctorate degree awarding ceremony for Prof. David J. Gross, the 2004 Nobel Prize winner in Physics and Foreign Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and Prof. Edward Witten, the 1990 Fields Medal winner, was held at the Zhongguancun campus of the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS). Both Prof. Gross and Prof. Witten accepted the honorary degrees and made public speeches.

Prof. Bai Chunli, President of CAS, Honorary President of UCAS,  Vice Chairman of  the Academic Degree Board of the State Council of China and Chairman of Degree Evaluation Committee of UCAS, addressed at the ceremony.The Decisions of the State Council Academic Degree Board on Approval of the Degree Conferment were declared by Prof. Cao Jinghua, Director-General of the Bureau of International Cooperation of CAS. President Bai Chunli conferred the certificates of the UCAS honorary doctorate degree to David Gross and Edward Witten. The ceremony was anchored by UCAS Vice President Prof. Wu Yueliang.

Later, as UCAS honorary doctorate degree recipients, Prof. Gross and Witten delivered key-note lectures at the opening session of the International Conference on Quantum Cosmophysics (July 29-31,2016), jointly hosted by UCAS, the UNESCO Category 1 Institute The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, CAS and Institute of Theoretical Physics, CAS. The lectures were chaired by Prof. Shing-Tung Yau, Fields Medalist and Foreign Member of CAS.

In his address, President Bai offered congratulations on Prof. Gross and Prof. Witten and expressed his sincere thanks for all the participants for this event. “As we say in China, good things come in pairs.”Said President Bai, “ and it’s just the case for Prof. Gross and Prof. Witten to be awarded with the UCAS doctoral degrees together.”

President Bai illustrated that UCAS was supported by the cutting-edge research advantages and rich S&T human resources of CAS. UCAS adopted the philosophy of “Integration of scientific research with teaching” by boasting a large number of highly qualified faculties from CAS institutes .He said, UCAS had a great vision to be a world-class research university, and only with the global vision and innovation spirit, UCAS could expect to enter the rank of the world’s best.

President Bai said, CAS attached great importance to international cooperation. It was believed that in many scientific areas and disciplines of common interests, partnership and cooperation lead to better success, research efficiency and higher impact. President Bai gave a brief introduction to CAS President’s International Fellowship Initiative (PIFI), which was aimed to support international scientists at various academic levels to conduct cooperative research at CAS labs. He sincerely invited the international researchers present including Prof. David Gross and Prof. Edward Witten to take advantage of this program to visit and work at CAS.

At the ceremony, Prof. Wu Yueliang highly commented the outstanding achievements made by Prof. David J. Gross and Prof. Edward Witten.

Prof. David J. Gross is an American theoretical physicist and string theorist. Along with Frank Wilczek and David Politzer, he was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of asymptotic freedom. He is the former director and current holder of the Frederick W. Gluck Chair in Theoretical Physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is also a faculty member in the UC Santa Barbara Physics Department and is currently affiliated with the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University in California. He has served as the Chairman of International Advisory Committee (IAC) of ITP/CAS since 2005 and helped to establish the KITPC at CAS in 2006. For his great scientific achievements and outstanding contributions to the development of basic sciences in China, he was elected in 2011 as the Foreign Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Prof. Edward Witten is an American theoretical physicist and professor of mathematical physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Witten is a researcher in string theory, quantum gravity, supersymmetric quantum field theories, and other areas of mathematical physics. In addition to his contributions to physics, Witten’s work has significantly impacted pure mathematics. In 1990 he became the first and so far the only physicist to be awarded a Fields Medal by the International Mathematical Union. In 2004, Time magazine stated that Witten is widely thought to be one of the world’s smartest living theoretical physicist.

Both Prof. David J. Gross and Prof. Edward Witten are international top scientists. Due to their crucial and ground breaking work in research , highly international standing as well as long-term communication with UCAS and CAS, and great contribution to China’s S&T development and enhancement of international collaboration and exchange in research, in accordance with Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Academic Degrees, Provisional Regulations on Conferring Honorary Doctoral Degrees to Foreigners and Implementing Rules for  Degree Granting of University of Chinese Academy of Sciences,  the third meeting of the 4th section of the UCAS Degree Evaluation Committee agreed after discussion to submit application to the Academic Degree Board of the State Council on January 17th, 2015. The Academic Degree Board approved on conferring UCAS Honorary Doctorate Degree to David J. Gross and Edward Witten after review on Oct. 10th , 2015.

Prof. Edward Witten noted that he was greatly honored to receive this title, and have done something to promote research in physics and mathematics. He felt inspired with his peers’ continuous effort for the same goal. “It is my fifth time to visit China” he said, “and each time I can find changes in this country.”  Lastly, Witten extended his thanks to his supervisor Prof. David J. Gross and the participants at this ceremony.

Prof. David J. Gross appreciated the honor bestowed by UCAS. He said, as an old friend of CAS, he had witnessed the rapid development in China in the past decades. He gave his acclaim to the planning policy, investment, responsibilities and leadership of Chinese government in S&T. He believed that an exciting age of China was coming in the future decades.

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