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The Exotic Centurial Wedding of Prof. Britton Chance and Dr. Shoko Nioka from NCKU

Tainan, Taiwan, February 6th 2010

The 97-year-old Academician of the United States National Academy of Sciences and the Distinguished Visiting Professor of National Cheng Kung University, Dr. Britton Chance, and the 63-year-old Japanese Professor and the Visiting Professor of the United States University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Shoko Nioka, were married at 11:00am, February 6th. Under the blessings of the colleagues in NCKU and the citizens in Tainan, with President Michael Ming-Chiao Lai, NCKU, as the introducer and Mayor Tain-Tsair Hsu as the witness, the Chinese traditional style wedding ended cheerfully. Marrying off a daughter and marrying in a wife at the same time, the university especially broadcasted the centurial wedding on the front page of NCKU website, allowing the world to witness this beautiful wedding.

Academician Lai expressed, as the President of National Cheng Kung University, he was glad to be the introducer of the couple, because both the husband and wife have an intimate relationship with NCKU where these two enthusiastic visiting professors have frequently visited the university, cooperated with the professors and students in research, and developed the newest medical equipments for early detection of breast cancer in the past few years. They both love Tainan and consider it as their hometown. Their wedding is a happy event for the Tainan big family.

President Lai also expressed, in a Chinese traditional wedding, the introducer is equivalent to the matchmaker, pairing up a man and a woman to form a harmonious union. But in this occasion, the task of the introducer is simple: to introduce the couple to the folks in Tainan. The couple has known each other for almost 30 years. Dr. Britton Chance is a renowned biophysicist, who has engaged in medical research, published more than 500 papers, received National Medal of Science, and been elected as Academician of the United States National Academy of Sciences. It is worth to mention that he has also received the 1950 Helsinki Olympic Sailing Competition gold metal, making him a scientist efficient in both brainy and brawny activities. Even though Dr. Chance is 97 of age, he still maintains the vitality of the youth and the wisdom of the elder, while continuing to look into the future, eagerly planning tomorrow’s scientific experiment and impressing the young students. Persistent in scientific research, Dr. Chance is the treasure of the scientific community as well as the pride of National Cheng Kung University. “He once told me founding of his scientific journey; the first scientific problem he attempted to solve was when he saw the gas of his neighbor’s car tire leaked. Therefore, he recommended his neighbor to release the gas of the other three tires to balance the car. What an interesting and creative idea.” said President Lai.

The bride, Dr. Shoko Nioka is an excellent scientist as well. In the beginning, she followed Dr. Britton Chance’s research, and then the two of them became working partners for almost 30 years. This is a beautiful love story and a great talk of the scientific community. Today, under the blessings of the colleagues in NCKU and citizens in Tainan, they became happily married.

On behalf of the Tainan city with 770 thousand people, witness Mayor Tain-Tsair Hsu first congratulated the newly wed; the Mayor praised the groom for his continuing devotion in scientific research and contribution of his talents to promote human evolution. The professor Chance Mayor Hsu is familiar with is a figure who “never talks about the past but only speaks of the future” and possesses numerous excellent scientific inventions. The Mayor believed the marriage today would bring more inspiration to his invention. Mayor Tain-Tsair expressed, Tainan city was honored to host the wedding of this couple. In the 300 years of history of Tainan or since the founding of The Eternal Golden Castle in 1887, this wedding created a historical moment and unspeakable joy. It proved that it is never too late for love and encouraged young adults to pursue their life partners for “everyday is the beginning of love and every minute is the start of happiness”. In the end, Mayor Hsu gave his blessing to the new couple, wishing them good luck on producing a newborn and making a fortune.

Prof. Britton Chance expressed, he was pleased and honored to come to National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, especially when he received such wonderful gifts and blessings today. He said, “The reason why I chose to come to NCKU was because a friend told me Tainan was an excellent place, and I’ve met so many outstanding scientists who cooperated brilliantly as a team. It is because of their company that I devote my life to science and sailing. I am glad to say that during my lifetime’s work, there have been many exciting events such as the treatments and study we discovered for breast cancer and human metabolism, and I am extremely happy that I have the opportunity to continue working with my wife.”

Dr. Shoko Nioka also expressed, she was delighted that the wedding was hosted in Tainan and grateful for Mayor Hsu of Tainan, President Lai of NCKU and many friends who attended. She pointed out, “In response to the birth problem Mayor Hsu raised, they did give birth to many children who are “children of science”. When we first came to Tainan, it reminded me of my most favorite Japanese city, Kyoto. Therefore, we loved Tainan the minute we arrived here. The two cities are very similar; Tainan is not only beautiful and tranquil, the people who live here are so friendly and welcoming. Thus I have to say thank you to the people at NCKU, Tainan, you have took care of us at all times. It might be a little bit embarrassing to say, but Tainan is already our home, our dream home. I would say thank you again to President Lai who introduced us in the beginning and everyone who attended our wedding today. Your presence here means a lot to us.”

The centurial wedding of Prof. Britton Chance and Dr. Shoko Nioka proceeded in the Chinese traditional style; in addition to the groom, bride, witness and introducer who all dressed in ancient costumes, the bearers who carried the sedan and the bridesmaid and flower boy and girl were all dressed in ancient costumes as well. The groom was dressed in long robe in a scholar’s cap and the bride was dressed in a red gown in a phoenix coronet and red scarf. The wedding ceremony began with the groom waiting at the front stage for the bride’s sedan to arrive, followed by the four bearers who carried the sedan through the gate of The Eternal Golden Castle. Then the bridesmaid raised the rice sieve stamped with the couplet “double happiness” to cover the bride’s face, bringing the couple to the stage to proceed with the ritual of heaven and earth worship and other rituals of the groom raising the red scarf of the bride, drinking arm-crossed wine and eating rice balls, etc.

In the wedding process, the couple held their hands tightly and occasionally gazed at each other, revealing strong mutual love and affection. The bride had wept for several times, which touched the hearts of the audience. The wedding reached its climax when the groom kissed the bride, and the place was filled with loud applauds.

Decorated with big red lanterns, this Chinese traditional style wedding ceremony was based on a festive red and gold, where a large gilt couplet of “double happiness” and characters of “love for all seasons” and “good fortune from heaven” were hung in the back and on the left and right sides of the stage, with the live performance of Tainan City Traditional Orchestra. The audiences were seated on the sides of the carpet. The wedding ended with the sharing of rice balls with the guests, which signify the sharing of the festivity of the newly wed.

The centurial wedding of Prof. Britton Chance and Dr. Shoko Nioka was both warm and cheerful. Apart from many Tainan citizens who attended, NCKU President Michael Ming-Chiao and his wife, Dr. Hwei-Ying Wung, Senior Executive Vice-President Da-Hsuan Feng and his wife, Prof. Ming-Jer Tang, Vice-President for the Office of Academic Affairs, Prof. Yon-Hua Tzeng, Dean of the College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and his wife, Prof. Pau-Choo Chung of the Department of Electrical Engineering, as well as colleagues from NCKU all brought their blessings.

Additional Information:
Dr. Britton Chance is the Honorable Professor of Biophysics in Eldridge Reeves Johnson University Professor Emeritus. He obtained his Bachelor degree in 1935, Master degree in 1936 and Doctoral degree of Biophysics in 1940. Later in 1942, he obtained a Doctoral degree of Biology in Cambridge University. In 1952, he also obtained a Doctoral degree in Physics. Professor Chance’s research lies in the application of infrared rays to describe the various types of body tissues and the physical characteristics of breast tumors. Moreover, he also discovered Functional Near-Infrared Imaging (fNIR) and Light-Emitting Diode (LED) breast cancer scanning device.
In addition to the huge influence Prof. Chance brought to the invention of photoelectric sensors, the radar and electronic equipment mainly exploited in World War II was also discovered by Patterson, Yodh, Boas and him. The discovery of the characteristics of light scattered in the tissues as well as the function signal of human muscle and front brain allowed the wide use of near-infrared rays in many laboratories. Furthermore, the progressive photon imaging technique of Alfano and the proliferation of photons in the deeper tissues allowed a significant increase in the sensitivity and specificity of many American medical units and a more comprehensive study of breast cancer.
The outstanding achievements of Prof. Britton Chance made him the Academician of the United States National Academy of Sciences and granted him the National Medal of Science. He has also won gold metals in the 1950 Summer Olympic and in the Sailing Competition with Edgar White and Summer White for the United States.
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