Newsletter No. 271

First Virtual Plant Study Trails Launched W ith support from the Quality Education F u n d ( Q E F ) , t h e U n i v e r s i t y ' s Depa r tment of B i o l ogy and 63 secondary schools jointly created the world's first virtual plant study trails. The three virtual trails were l aun c hed on 26 th No v emb e r. Guests of honour were Mr. Wo ng Kwan-yu of the QEF Steering Committee, Prof. Hu Shiu-ying of CUHK, and Dr. Kan Wing-kay of Hong Kong IT joint Council. Th r ough the Internet (website: h t t p : / / ), viewers can v i s it t he t h r ee t r a i ls w h i c h are l o c a t ed respectively at Victoria Peak, Pui O Beach and CUHK Campus. When they move the mouse sideways, they wou ld see the plants as if they are actually strolling along these trails of over a k i l ome t er l ong each. Wh e n the mouse pointer touches a plant on the screen, its name wo u ld appear. Besides, viewers can look up old photos and literary works concerning these three places in the archives. The project team, headed by Prof. Paul But, creatively combined web technology and botanical knowledge to create these three virtual plant study trails. Secondary students took photos of plants at those sites and wrote reports, through which they learned how to identify plants and the techniques for field studies. Teachers and students as well as parent-teacher associations can make use of these trails to formulate outdoor activities. The literary and historical entries in the archives are useful for general studies. The trails wo u ld also be of interest to the local ecotour industry. Mr. Wong Kwan-yu (right) and Prof. Paul But (left) at the launch ceremony Service to the Community and International Organizations • Prof. Mike McConville, director of the School of Law and professor of law, has been appointed by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR as a member of the Standing Committee on Legal Education and Training from 15th November 2005. • Prof. Elsa Kelly, associate professor in the School of Law, has been appointed by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR as a member of the Standing Committee on Legal Education and Training from 15th November 2005. • Prof. Ching Pak Chung, professor of electronic engineering, has been appointed by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR as a member of the Copyright Tribunal for two years from 1st December 2005. • Prof. Japhet Sebastian Law, professor in the Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics, has been appointed by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR as a member of the Social Welfare Advisory Committee for two years from 1st December 2005. • Prof. Zhang Junsen, professor of economics, has been re-appointed as a member of the Humanities, Social Sciences and Business Studies Panel of the Research Grants Council for two years from 1st July 2005. He is also invited by the University Grants Committee as a member of the Business Studies and Economics Panel in the Research Assessment Exercise 2006. • Prof. Joseph Lau, director of Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, has been invited to j o in the A IDS Trust Fund's Technical Reviewer Panel to assess the Medical and Support Services research projects from November 2005. ( I n f o rma t i on in this section is provided by the Communications and Public Relations Office. Contributions should be sent direct to that office for registration and verification before publication.) Eminent Scientists on Protein Sciences S ponsored by the Croucher Foundation, the Croucher Advanced Study Institute — Advances in Protein Sciences meeting was held in the Department of Biochemistry from 12th to 17th December. Twelve scientists from mainland China and overseas, including Prof. Sir Tom Blundell, FRS, chairman of Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, and t wo academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Prof. Zhizhen Wang and Prof. Zhihe Rao, presented lectures in their fields of study. There were also workshops on protein crystallization and protein crystallography, and poster and oral presentation. The various activities were attended by over 150 students and research personnel. Prof. Sir Tom Blundell delivering the opening lecture on 'Structural Biology and Drug Discovery: Opportunities and Challenges' Conference Explores Future of Signal Processing T he 1 3th International Symposium on Intelligent Signal Processing and Commun i c a t i on Systems was organized by the Department of Electronic Eng i nee r i ng of the Un i v e r s i ty f r om 1 3th to 1 6th December 2005 at the Esther Lee Building. It was sponsored by United College and the IEEE Hong Kong Chapter of Signal Processing. The theme of the conference was 'Multimedia Information Systems for the Future' and was attended by more than 200 delegates from 23 countries. The chairman of the Chinese national audiovisual standard AVS, Prof. Gao Wen ( pho t o) gave a keynote address on the latest d e v e l o pme nt of the s t anda r d. The t e c h n i c al programme comprised three keynote addresses, three tutorials, and 36 technical sessions where 250 papers were presented. The conference highlighted the recent advances in the multimedia communications and its applications. Nami ng Ceremony of Gymnas ium at UC T he naming ceremony of the Thomas H.C. Cheung Gymnasium of United College was held on 28th November 2005. The ceremony was officiated by Dr. Thomas H . C. Ch e u ng ( r i g h t ) , chairman of the United College Endowment Fund Committee and president of the United College Alumni Association, Mrs. Cheung, Prof. Kenneth Young (left), pro- vice-chancellor of the University, Mr. Shum Choi Sang, chairman of the Un i t ed Co l l ege Board of Trustees, and Prof. K.P. Fung, college head. A b o u t a h u n d r ed guests, i n c l u d i ng t r us t ees, a l umn i, university/college colleagues and friends of the college attended the ceremony. Department of Social Work Celebrates Postgraduate Graduation T he Graduation Celebration 2004-05 was held by the Department of Social Work on 9th December 2005 to congratulate a total of 115 social work graduates on their success in postgraduate studies. Over 100 participants including graduates, family members, friends, guests and staff were in attendance. A cake-cutting ceremony and a toast kicked off the celebrations. The graduates then posed for a class photo with the teaching staff. This was followed by a lunch buffet. 2 No. 271 4th January 2006