Words from the Director

Charles Darwin once said, “In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” This is particularly true in the realm of science, where many major breakthroughs are achieved through collaborations.

Two of the scientists featured in this issue of the newsletter, IAS Helmut and Anna Pao Sohmen Professor-at-Large George Smoot and IAS Visiting Professor Chih-Ming Ho, are vivid examples of the importance of collaboration. Prof Smoot and Dr John Mather of NASA shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics for being the principal investigators of the COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) team. Despite being an engineer, Prof Ho has dedicated himself to the field of medicine and runs a number of interdisciplinary research projects with engineers, life scientists and mathematicians to transform personalized medicine.

It has always been a core mission of IAS to connect top scientists and scholars so that new ideas and collaborations can blossom. This summer, we will again host the Gordon Research Conferences at HKUST, inviting experts from around the world to discuss frontier research topics in biology, chemistry, physics and engineering. Prof Chih-Ming Ho, Prof Henry Yan of Chemistry, and Prof Christopher Leung of Civil and Environmental Engineering at HKUST will also chair some of the conferences.

We are proud to see that IAS members continue to be recognized for their academic achievements. In March, the university conferred named professorships on our Executive Director Che Ting Chan, IAS Faculty George Smoot, and IAS Senior Fellow Kei May Lau. We also congratulate IAS Visiting Professor Eli Yablonovitch, who was awarded the 2016 Oliver E Buckley Prize for his contribution to condensed matter physics.

By now, you have probably noticed the publication’s new look. To make it a more enjoyable read, we have revamped the design and also launched a brand new e-Newsletter that will make the content accessible from anywhere.

We hope you like the new IAS Newsletter. We are always open to suggestions and opportunities for different initiatives. Let us know if you have any ideas on how we can collaborate and make HKUST a premier intellectual center.

Henry Tye

HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study