Yuan T. Lee honored by U.S. sciences academy for human rights

Image taken from the website of University of California Berkley's College of Chemistry(CNA)
Image taken from the website of University of California Berkley's College of Chemistry(CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwanese chemist Yuan T. Lee (李遠哲) is one of 10 Nobel Prize-winning scientists being honored in a photographic exhibition organized by America’s National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for their contributions to the field of human rights, Taiwan’s Academia Sinica said Tuesday.

The research institute said in a press release that Lee had been selected by the NAS’ Committee on Human Rights for the exhibition titled “Advancing Rights and Freedoms: Science, Human Dignity and the Nobel Prize,” which is being held at the academy’s Washington headquarters from March 11-June 1.

In addition to portraits of the selected laureates, the exhibition features abstracts chronicling their respective human rights achievements, Academia Sinica said.

On its website, the exhibition cites Lee’s “efforts to call attention to the human rights implications of climate change,” which it said demonstrated “the profound and enduring connections between science and human rights and the important role for science in advancing human dignity worldwide.”

The exhibition also recognizes Lee for his work in strengthening the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies during his time as Academia Sinica president (1994-2006), as well as his promotion of scientific freedom, Academia Sinica said.

Lee, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1986 and is now Professor Emeritus at University of California Berkley, said in a statement that a commitment to human rights motivated his advocacy on the topic of climate change.

Man-made climate change has already started affecting marginal populations, for which reason it needs to be approached as a global challenge, in order to make the world a more equitable and democratic place, he said.

The NAS, a non-profit nonovernmental organization with more than 2,000 lifetime members, is currently closed through April 30 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a notice on its website.