Newsletter No. 358

No. 358, 19.5.2010 伍灼耀 Prof. Ng Cheuk-yiu 下回〈十方吐露〉将访问医科生邝咏茵 Kwong Wing-yan, a medical student, will be featured in the next instalment of ‘TEN QUESTIONS FOR’. 预告 Coming 1 化学有何魅力,令你终身投入其中? What attracted you to chemistry? 我专长的领域是化学物理,或称物理化学,那是介乎化学和 物理的领域。身为科学工作者,我极渴望知道事物因何出现 现在的状态,以及其发生过程。随着研究工作步步深入,会 出现更多尚待解答的问题,而我毕生追寻的,就是这些未解 问题的答案。 My area of interest is chemical physics or physical chemistry, a field that combines chemistry and physics. As a scientist, I have a strong desire to find out why and how things happen. As you delve more deeply into a research project, more and more questions crop up. I have been chasing unanswered questions all my life. 2 当年为何会入读中大化学系? Why did you choose to enter CUHK? 我毕业于金文泰中学,那年代中文中学的毕业生一般都进入 中大。我的四十名同班同学,差不多全进了中大理学院。选 读崇基化学系,因为它是当时中大最出色的学系之一。 I graduated from Clementi Middle School. At the time, students from a Chinese language high school were expected to go to CUHK. Nearly all 40 students in my class were admitted to CUHK. I chose the Chemistry Department because it was among the best at CUHK. 3 你在崇基学院的经历,对你有何帮助? How did you benefit from college life at Chung Chi (CC)? 我很感激老师们及崇基的优秀学习环境。对我影响最大的 是四年宿舍生活,让我认识了近九成崇基的同学。室友成为 我一生最好的朋友,他们是念数学、念中文和念物理的,我 从与他们的交往中学到很多。 I owe much to my teachers and the learning they inspired at CC. I stayed in the dormitory for all four years. This allowed me to get to know close to 90% of the students at CC. My roommates, who majored in mathematics, Chinese literature and physics, have become my best and lifelong friends. 4 你曾师从诺贝尔化学奖得主李远哲教授,从他身上 学到什么? What did you learn from your teacher Prof Y.T. Lee, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry? 李教授在哈佛的博士后导师赫施巴赫称他为「实验化学物 理的莫札特」,因为他对机械设计很有天分,他制造的交叉 分子仪是独一无二的。他做研究非常勤奋又充满热诚。我从 他身上学到勇于从事前沿和高难度实验的精神。 Professor Lee’s postdoctoral adviser Dudley Herschbach at Harvard called him the ‘Mozart of Experimental Chemical Physics’. He is gifted in mechanical design, and the crossed beam apparatus that he devised was unique at the time. He is a very hard-working and passionate researcher. I learned from him the spirit of doing frontier experiments. 5 中国有条件培养出本土的诺贝尔奖得主吗? Will China have its home-grown Nobel Laureates? 当然有,只是时间问题而已。但现时中国的奖励制度太强调 出版数目,也太着重要在顶尖期刊刊登。也许,应当更加鼓 励为理想而从事研究,以培养出真正热中研究和喜爱新知识 的新一代科学家。这样对中国的科学事业和社会更有好处。 另外,社会把诺贝尔奖和当选为国际知名学会成员看得太 重。诺贝尔奖得主固然是出色的科学家,但还有许多应得而 没有获奖的科学家也很优秀。 It’s only a matter of time. However, it should also be pointed out that the current incentive system in China places too much emphasis on the number of publications and on publications in prestigious journals. It may be more beneficial to include a more idealistic component of academic research in order to nurture scientists who are truly passionate about research. I believe that our society places too much emphasis on the Nobel Prize and membership in academic societies. Nobel winners are of course outstanding researchers. But there are other scientists equally talented. 6 你在国外顶尖学府的经验,有什么可供理学院借鉴? You studied and taught in prestigious universities in the US. What can the CUHK Faculty of Science learn from them? 若要在科学教育和研究力争上游,关键在于网罗优秀教员 和出色学生,还要有终身教职和完善的升迁政策,以及公 平、透明和高标准的评核政策。建立这样的制度有助学术人 员拓展事业和提升大学声誉。 在国外世界级大学,理学院的规模都是最优秀及最大的,因 为大部分理学院的课程都是基本的课程,而如工程学院、医 学院及商学院等的学生都要到理学院的数学系、物理系、化 学系及生物系来修读基础课程。由于各种原因,中大在这方 面还不能完全做到,所以是值得中大借鉴的。 An essential aspect for maintaining a strong programme in scientific education and research rests in faculty hiring and student recruitment; and the tenure and promotion policies for faculty members. Assessment policies should be fair, transparent, and of a high standard. The establishment of such a system should help the career of academic staff and enhance the reputation of the university. All the science faculties in world-class universities in the West are excellent and big in size. Since the subjects taught by the mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biological science departments are considered fundamental for students of other faculties, such as the engineering, medicine, and business faculties, etc., their students are required to take courses from these departments. However, due to some reasons, our University has not completely adopted this common practice. 7 理学院推出「生命科学组别」至今将近一年,成效 如何? The Faculty of Science launched the Life Sciences Programmes last year. Are they successful? 很成功。这是中大首次采用统一招生方式收生。理学院有个 学生组织,我和组织多番接触,发现组阁的都是生命科学组 别的学生。因为该组别有六个课程,共二百三十多位学生, 彼此互动得很好,组阁时就比其他学系更成功。这点对学生 的教育已有好处。 我到任前,大学已重组生物化学课程。部分原属生物化学系 的教员转属医学院的生物医学学院,余下的与生物系的同事 一同加入理学院辖下的生命科学学院。这所新学院会在今 年8月正式成立,我们正在物色院长。 They are. It’s the first time for the University to adopt broad- based admission. I met members of the student society of the Science Faculty on many occasions. I found that most members of its cabinet are students of the Life Sciences Programmes, which comprise six programmes of about 230 students in total. Thanks to good interaction among themselves, they have been more successful than their counterparts in other departments in forming a cabinet. Before my arrival, the University started to reorganize the biochemistry programme. Some of the original faculty members in that department have been assigned to the School of Biomedical Sciences under the Faculty of Medicine. The remaining faculty members are merged with those of the Biology Department to form the School of Life Sciences (SLS) under the Science Faculty. There is an ongoing search for the director of the SLS, which will be formally established in August. 8 你现在担任理学院全职院长,任内有何大计? What are your plans as the first appointed dean of the Faculty of Science? 说到底,这全关乎人和意念。出色意念来自出色的人;出色的 人通力合作,所有问题都能迎刃而解。我的目标很简单,如 果所有理学院的教职员和学生,每天早上醒来都很想回到理 学院,那我的目标就达到了。 我们最近新增了一位负责对外和校友事务的副院长,希望 令学院形成一个紧密团结的社群,有家的感觉。人虽然离开 了,但仍牵挂着。这是量度一个学院是否成功的准则之一。 It is all about people and ideas. Good people have good ideas and, when these people work together, they overcome obstacles. Many friends ask me what my goal for the Science Faculty is. It is very simple: My goal is fulfilled if all staff and students feel an urge to come to the Faculty every morning. Recently we appointed a new associate dean for external and alumni affairs. We hope to make the Faculty a closer- knit community with the atmosphere of a family. 9 你对理学院学生有何期盼? What do your expect from your science students? 许多学生都着眼于毕业后觅得待遇优渥的工作,这点可以 理解。但我的忠告是,应当怀着理想,寻找自己的兴趣所在。 如果你对你所做的事感兴趣和有热情,那生活就会很富足。 我希望学生在中大毕业后,会找到喜爱的工作,延续对科学 的兴趣,扩大人类的科学知识。 Many students seem to be very concerned about finding a well-paid job after graduation, which is understandable. My advice to them is to identify your passions and to be devoted to your ideals. You will have a more fulfilling life if you are passionate about what you do. It is my hope that our graduates will find the passion to continue their interest in science. 10 工余有何消遣? What are your pastimes? 我喜欢和家人朋友行山,也喜欢绘画、书法和听音乐。自爱 上科学工作后,阅读和科研也成了我的爱好。 I like hiking with friends and family. I also like painting, Chinese calligraphy, and music. Since becoming a scientist, reading and research have also become my hobbies.