Professor Penger TONG was appointed as the Associate Provost (Mainland Affairs) with effect from 18 January 2023. He is currently a Chair Professor in the Department of Physics.
Professor Tong received his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 1988. After a period of post-doctoral training at Exxon Research & Engineering Company, he served successively as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and then full Professor of Physics at Oklahoma State University before joining HKUST as full Professor in 2003. He was conferred the Chair Professor title in 2011, and was awarded the Professor Emeritus title following his retirement from the University in July 2022. Professor Tong is an experimental soft condensed matter physicist. His highly interdisciplinary work in this field has resulted in significant advances on several topics in four key areas: turbulent convection, physics of living matter, colloidal diffusion, and liquid interfacial phenomena. He remains active in leading several ongoing projects funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Research Grants Council (RGC). His high esteem in the professional community is reflected in the large number of invited talks he has presented, election as Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2010, and award of the Chair Scholar title of the National Overseas "Changjiang Scholars Award Program" by the Ministry of Education of Mainland China in 2022.
Professor Tong is also a seasoned administrator with substantial experience at various roles at the Department, School and University levels. He was the Associate Dean of Science (Research and Postgraduate Studies) from 2011 to 2016, and he had led the School’s postgraduate student recruitment, program development and research-related initiatives. In his capacity as the Head of the Department of Physics from 2018 to 2021, the Department’s QS global ranking has been advanced in 2021 and was ranked top in Physics, among other local universities, in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2020.