IAS Newsletter - May 2015 - page 7

Prof Hu joined IAS as Visiting Professor since 2013. She is
actively involved in IAS events, including giving a School of
Science and IAS Nobel Prize Popular Science Lecture on
“Lighting in the 21st Century - From Blue LED to White”
during her sabbatical at HKUST.
When you are interacting with HKUST students,
do you find any significant differences between
students in Hong Kong and US?
It’s all too easy to make generalized statements
about groups of people, recognizing that students
everywhere are individuals, with a range of talents,
motivations, energies and determination. One very
big difference in the environment of education is
that almost every HKUST student is carrying out
their education, sitting in classes, completing
assignments in a language that is NOT their native
language. Something very obvious – so obvious that
it is easy to ignore. But however comfortable a
person is, using another language, there must be
some important differences in learning, assimilating
and interacting in a language that is not the one
which is the most comfortable for you. The HKUST
students should be commended for taking on this
In terms of environment, support and talents, do
you have any suggestions for IAS to be more
proactive in prompting Hong Kong’s technological
IAS already has programs that bring in a broad
diversity of experts and expertise, ranging from
music, to Chinese literature, to economics, big data,
the environment, molecular biology, particle
physics, etc. IAS has a beautiful building, designed
to encourage contemplation and discussion, and it
has a fantastic and very talented support staff. I
don’t know if the following is even part of IAS’s
mandate, but what if IAS were to organize small
workshops on topical issues that addressed
pragmatic and practical challenges for Hong Kong
in the years ahead, and possible scientific and
technological approaches that could address those
challenges? Aging population and affordable
healthcare: issues for remote medical monitoring,
issues of electronic medical records, any
technological needs for an aging population? Issues
of water availability, purity, access, delivery… issues
of power? IAS has the ‘gravitas’ (deep respect) to
perhaps bring all the ‘right people’ together: local
and international experts, scientists and engineers,
perhaps policy makers, economists, sociologists,
investors – to put their heads together and truly try
to solve some real-world problems. Perhaps public
dissemination of the results of these workshops
would prevent people from being truly open in the
expression of their opinions – but it would be most
effective if some summary of those discussions
could be made: imagine IAS generating a set of
highly sought-after studies that brought together a
talented group of international people to address
questions of critical interest to Hong Kong’s
well-being (and those issues are fairly global,
although the particular manifestations and solutions
might be more locally-based).
Working as a supervisor
at Murray Hill in AT&T Bell
IAS Chatroom
May 2015
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