Intellectual Hub

Extending the Boundaries of Knowledge

Gordon Research Conferences 2017

The Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) continue to be a major highlight for the IAS. With the shared goal of promoting research frontiers in life sciences, physics and engineering fields, the IAS partners with GRC to host the prestigious international scientific conferences at HKUST each summer.

In 2017, the IAS hosted eight GRCs and three associated Gordon Research Seminars (GRS). HKUST faculty members served as chairs or vice-chairs at half of these meetings. This year’s meetings covered topics on “Topological and Correlated Matter”, “Particle Physics”, “Genome Architecture in Cell Fate and Disease”, “Neurobiology of Drug Addiction”, “Marine Molecular Ecology”, “Nano-Mechanical Interfaces”, “Neutron Scattering” and “Posttranslational Modification Networks”. More than 1,000 researchers from around the world connected at a campus with beautiful scenery to exchange the latest discoveries and research ideas with their communities.

The highly stimulating environment at the IAS offers an excellent platform for conferees to carry out in-depth discussions and deliberations. The off-record policy facilitates a free flow of ideas, allowing like-minded researchers to solicit comment on their works. Young scholars in the early stages of their careers can also seek advice from mentors and build up research networks with peers for future collaboration in the associated GRS.

Insiders’ Perspectives

GRC has been an occasion for researchers to find out about the latest updates in their fields and to network for collaboration opportunities. Taking advantage of their proximity to the celebrated conferences, HKUST faculty members and graduate students are active participants in these events every year. Here are some examples of their most important takeaways from the conferences.

\\  The talks were stimulating and the topics were cutting-edge and multidisciplinary. To me, the greatest benefit of attending GRC is having the chance to listen to a variety of great talks that are normally not available in regular conferences for your own community. New ideas and new research directions may result from listening to those talks. The special format of GRC also gives us plenty of time and opportunities to interact with other researchers and discuss topics of interest in more depth. This is very useful for networking and fostering collaborations. \\

Prof Wenjing Ye
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, HKUST
Vice-chair, GRC on Nano-Mechanical Interfaces 2017

\\  The discussions between researchers with opposing viewpoints were enlightening. I received some useful feedback to my own work after giving a short talk. The majority of speakers presented unpublished work and several presented novel technologies. These presentations were very informative and useful to our research. After the meeting, researchers from the United States and Japan approached me to establish further collaborations. Resulting from conversations at the GRC, we have already begun a collaborative project involving my lab and two labs in the United States. This GRC was a great experience for my graduate students too. They had a chance to hear in person from researchers at the forefront of their field. Many of them were inspired to develop new research ideas. My overall experience of this GRC was excellent.  \\

Prof Danny Leung
Division of Life Science, HKUST
Participant and Speaker, GRC on Genome Architecture in Cell Fate and Disease 2017

\\  In this GRC, we invited Duncan Haldane, Winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics to HKUST to share his insights on topological matter with the conference participants, faculty members and students. Haldane also gave an IAS-Hong Kong Physical Society public lecture at HKUST so that the public could interact with one of the leading figures in physics. Besides Haldane, many of the leading researchers in the area of topological matter and strongly correlated systems came to HKUST to share with us their latest (and some unpublished) theoretical and experimental discoveries. I have no doubt that in 2017 this GRC was one of the conferences with the highest academic standards. The feedback from more than 160 participants was overwhelmingly positive and HKUST was elected as the site to host the same conference in 2019.  \\

Prof Vic Kam Tuen Law
Department of Physics, HKUST
Vice-chair, GRC on Topological and Correlated Matter 2017