Newsletter No. 528

杨英洋 教授毕业于中大,主修化学,副校长 吴基培 教授 及其他化学系教授都记得这名学生。杨教授自2016年  1月起出任化学系系主任。他与《中大通讯》畅谈现今 化学这个学科的演变、何谓绿色化学,还有特敏福。 Prof. Yeung Ying-yeung studied chemistry at CUHK and is remembered by many chemistry professors including Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dennis Ng . He has served as chairman of the department since January 2016. He talked to CUHK Newsletter about the changed landscape of chemistry, what green chemistry is, and Tamiflu. 杨英洋教授 Prof. Yeung Ying-yeung 化学系系主任 Chairman, Department of Chemistry What was it like studying chemistry at CUHK in your days? Back then it was a three-year curriculum with comprehensive contents and a tight study schedule. But tough work made it all the more relishing, as I still remember we went to morning classes from Monday to Saturday and the lab classes from 2 to 6 pm on weekday afternoons. For some difficult lab works, the classes lasted until 7 pm. What changes have you seen in the field of chemistry? The field of chemistry has changed from its emphasis on fundamental understanding to multi-disciplinary inquiry and application. Many frontier topics such as drug synthesis, material science (e.g., OLED techniques), biosensing (e.g., sensing of diseases), water impurity sensing (e.g., detecting lead content in drinking water), and organoelectronics (e.g., new materials like graphene) are all based on fundamental chemical knowledge. Is chemistry a basic or an applied science? The line is blurred now, but chemistry is a central science subject. 那些年,你在中大攻读化学的日子是怎样的? 那还是大学三年制的岁月,化学系课程内容充实全面,堂课 课程紧密,求学路艰,但我乐此不疲。还记得我们逢周一至 周六早上上堂,周一至周五下午二时至六时上实验课,若实 验较为复杂,更延至下午七时下课。 你认为化学这个学科近年有哪些转变? 化学由重视基础知识迈向跨界别研究和应用,很多新领域 都是从基础化学知识演化而来,例如药物合成、物料科学  (如有机发光二极管技术)、生物感应(如检测疾病)、水 中杂质检测(如食水含铅量),以及有机电子学(新物料如 石墨烯)。 化学是一门基本科学,抑或应用科学? 两者界线已愈来愈模糊,但化学是科学的核心科,则毫无 异议。 化学系毕业生可从事哪些工作? 多年前,化学系毕业生大多从事与本科直接有关的工作。 然而,近年化学系毕业生的出路更广泛、工种更多元化。 为何如此? 化学涉及数据分析和逻辑思考,这些技能正是很多行业都 求之若渴的,例如投资银行的分析师。另外,负责药厂专 利事务的律师要兼具科学和法律的知识。化学系学生毕业 后,可以接着修读法律,从而考获律师资格。 你在美国获聘博士后研究生,为何从事研究特敏福的 工作? 时维2006年,全球爆发流感。特敏福是有效治疗流感的药 物,各地政府抢购囤积,导致药物供应短缺。生产特敏福并 不容易,因为用以生产药物的原材料供应不多,而且其中一 个制药步骤容易引起爆炸,所以每次只能少量生产。 你的研究工作是? 当时我研究制造特敏福的新方法,最后我们团队研究出的 方法,既不用倚赖稀有原材料,又可避免使用爆炸性强的化 学物。 什么是绿色化学或永续化学? 长久以来,人们只在意化学过程的产物,却忽略了生产过程 可能产生废料或有毒物质。能源消耗是另一个问题。有见 及此,近年科学家设计化学过程时,开始引入环保概念,尽 量减少在生态系统中留下碳足印,好让这些化学过程得以 持续。 化学如何可做到永续? 透过使用可再生资源,便可减少废物和能源消耗,例如稀 土金属以往常用作催化剂,但无可避免造成金属污染。现 在,若情况许可,都会采用非金属有机催化剂。 What career options are open to a chemistry major? Many years ago, chemistry majors mostly began their careers in fields directly related to chemistry. In recent years, however, more diversified career opportunities are available to chemistry students. Why’s that? Chemistry involves data analysis and logical thinking, skills that are much sought after in other positions, such as analysts in investment banks. Patent lawyers in drug companies need to have knowledge in both science and law. After finishing a chemistry degree, a student can study a top-up law degree to be qualified as a patent lawyer. Why did you do your post-doc work in the US related to Tamiflu, a drug not strange to Hongkongers? In 2006, there was a worldwide pandemic influenza. Tamiflu is an effective drug to cure influenza and governments were stockpiling Tamiflu, resulting in a shortage of the drug supply. The production of Tamiflu was challenging because the starting material was in limited supply. In addition, one of the production steps is potentially explosive, meaning that the step could not be carried out on a large scale. What did you do? My work at that time was to explore a new pathway to produce Tamiflu. Eventually, our team successfully established a production method that does not rely on the scarce starting material and avoids the use of explosive chemicals. What is green or sustainable chemistry? Classically, people were only concerned with the products yielded from chemical processes but they ignored that the chemical processes may generate wastes or toxic materials. Energy consumption is also a concern. Thus, in recent years scientists have incorporated the concept of ‘green’ in the design of chemical processes with the aim of minimizing the carbon footprint on the ecosystem so that the chemical processes can become sustainable. How is that achieved? By using renewable resources, reducing wastes and reducing energy consumption. For example, rare- earth metal was commonly used as a catalyst, with the inevitable result of metallic contamination. Now, non- metallic organic catalysts are used in its place whenever feasible. T.C. 10 # 5 2 8 | 0 4 . 1 2 . 2 0 1 8 口 谈 实 录 / V iva V oce

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