They want to keep spreading scientific news to the World

They want to keep spreading scientific news to the World

Home-grown publisher World Scientific is on a roll.

The 32-year-old family business, which churns out 500 scholarly books and journals a year, now aims to publish 1,000 books a year by 2018.

To do that, says its founder Phua Kok Khoo, who is 71 and known better as KK, he would personally have to secure three new book projects a day from now on.

Many of those books will be written by Nobel laureates, with whom World Scientific has had long and fruitful working relationships. They include six who won the Nobel Prize this year, among them physicist Peter Higgs, economist Lars Peter Hansen and chemist Michael Levitt.

World Scientific, which enjoyed revenue of $50 million last year, has also just launched a new journal - Technology - edited by Professors Martin Yarmush and Mehmet Toner of Harvard Medical School, in a bid to rival long-vaunted journals Science and Nature.

The private company is now working with the National Book Development Council of Singapore to launch a non-fiction book prize next year.

That will dovetail with the company's forthcoming launches of books by Singaporean luminaries, among them former foreign affairs minister George Yeo, former civil service chief Lim Siong Guan and former Singapore Airlines chairman Lim Chin Beng.

All this is because Dr Phua and his Hong Kong-born wife and distant cousin, Ms Doreen Liu, want to be the No. 1 publishing house in Singapore. It is already Asia's leading publisher of English-language specialist titles, in a market half-dominated by the United States, and another third by Europe.

Dr Phua is a theoretical physicist and founding director of Nanyang Technological University's Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), which hosts scores of Nobel laureates and other scientific and technological thought leaders yearly.

Many among them were his friends long before IAS was set up in 2005.

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