Let's Get Back On Track In Science

Prof Law Kam-Tuen, Dr Lo Tai-chin Associate Professor of Science, Department of Physics, HKUST; Founding President of the Hong Kong Young Academy of Sciences.


When I was in secondary school, my physics teacher, who was among HKUST's first batch of graduates, always encouraged me and my classmates to explore scientific questions according to our interests, even though those questions are outside the syllabus.

With his encouragement and guidance, we participated in science competitions in high school, paving the way for my continuation of scientific pursuits ever since.

Many of us in the science stream then were lucky to be able to receive comprehensive scientific training and study subjects such as additional maths, biology, physics and chemistry in addition to Chinese, English and maths for the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Exam.

At the Advanced Level, we could focus on three science subjects in addition to English and Chinese.

This gave us plenty of exposure to science subjects and room to explore the areas we liked most.

Students nowadays are, however, required to take four compulsory subjects of Chinese, English, maths and liberal studies to meet university admission requirements, leading them to spend much less time on advancing their knowledge in science.

If this situation continues, Hong Kong will likely suffer from a shortage of science and engineering talents in the long run.

Over the years, I have always credited my achievements as a physicist to my incredible teachers and professors for their enlightenment and inspiration.

The desire to reciprocate when I have the opportunity to do so has always been on my mind.

In 2017, recognizing the imminent need to groom young scientists, the Hong Kong Academy of Sciences initiated the establishment of the Hong Kong Young Academy of Sciences.

Officially launched last month, it is a group of young scientists and engineers working in universities in Hong Kong.

Our members have diverse research interests, ranging from quantum physics, biomedical research, textile, civil engineering to cosmology.

Together with our 30 members, we would like to leverage on our expertise to serve our community.

In particular, we are committed to enlightening and grooming future talents in science, innovation and technology.

To kick-start our outreach efforts, and in collaboration with the Hong Kong Academy of Gifted Education, we have launched a series of talks entitled Emerging technologies - Science, Opportunities and Challenges.

In these talks, we would like to introduce the scientific principles behind some emerging technologies such as genome editing, quantum computation, artificial intelligence, science of climate change, computer assisted drug design and the latest discoveries in cosmology.

Many of these technologies are likely to have a huge impact on our economic development and way of life.

We would like to prepare our younger generation for the opportunities and challenges to come.

Currently, the young academy is also heavily involved in mentoring high school students by participating in the "Distinguished Masters, Accomplished Students" mentorship program of the Hong Kong Academy of Sciences.

We are also planning other outreach activities to serve our community.

You are welcome to visit our website https://yashk.org.hk to get connected.

The article was published in The Standard on July 17, 2019.

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