On 12 November 2018, Instituted for Advanced Study (IAS) organized a full-day conference in celebrating the major role of City University of Hong Kong (CityU) in developing scientific cooperation between France and Hong Kong, in honour of the 80th Birthday of the renowned Mathematician Professor Philippe G. Ciarlet, Senior Fellow of IAS and University Distinguished Professor at CityU.
IAS Conference has brought together six eminent speakers to share their insights and latest research findings in their research areas, including Nobel Laureates in Physics and Chemistry, Fields Medalist and members / foreign members of the French Academy of Sciences. All of them are Senior Fellows of IAS.
Officiating guests of the opening ceremony of the conference included Professor Way Kuo, CityU President, Mr. Alexandre Giorgini, Consul General of France in Hong Kong & Macau, and Professor Philippe G. Ciarlet, University Distinguished Professor of CityU.
Professor Kuo extended a warm welcome to the guests at the opening ceremony. In his welcome remarks, he said that CityU has built up strong ties with France over the years, showcasing CityU’s commitment to strengthening international partnerships in higher education. Professor Kuo also expressed his congratulations to Professor Ciarlet’s 80th birthday and his recognized contributions to the scientific community at CityU.
Mr. Giorgini, Consul General of France in Hong Kong & Macau, extended his appreciation to Professor Kuo and Professor Ciarlet for their support and contributions in the past years in promoting French values in Hong Kong in the spirit of innovation and discovery.
Professor Ciarlet recalled that it has already been 16 years since he joined CityU in 2002. He expressed the greatest gratitude to Professor Kuo for his leadership and the support from the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong & Macau, which led to a series of high-profile lectures organized by members of the French Academy of Sciences. Many notable French scientists have been to the CityU campus in the past years.
In the morning session of the conference Professor Serge Haroche, 2012 Nobel Laureate in Physics, Chairman and Senior Fellow of IAS, delivered a lecture titled “How Blue Sky Science and Technology Nurture Each Other: the Example of Quantum Physics”. In the lecture, he explained the correlation behind basic science and technology. The lecture covered topics such as quantum communication, quantum computation and examples of quantum technologies. Professor Haroche is Professor Emeritus at the Collège de France. He was officially appointed as the IAS Chairman on 1 March 2018. He is passionate about leading IAS to establish closer collaborations with distinguished academicians across the world.
In the afternoon session, Professor Jean-Marie Lehn, 1987 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and Senior Fellow of IAS, presented a lecture titled “Steps Towards Life: Chemistry!”. He said synthetic chemistry has developed a very powerful set of methods for constructing more complex molecules He concluded that “Science shapes the future of humanity!” Over the years Professor Lehn’s work has led to the definition of a new field of chemistry called “supramolecular chemistry”, which deals with the complex entities formed by the association of two or more chemical species held together by non-covalent intermolecular forces. Currently Professor at the University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study, Professor Lehn shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1987 for his studies on the chemical basis of “molecular recognition”.
The Conference was well attended by many students, faculty members and guests from CityU and outside the university. Other distinguished speakers included:
Professor Jacob Huang, Executive Director of IAS and Chair Professor of Materials Science, said that it is an honour for IAS to hold this remarkable event for Professor Ciarlet and he expressed his appreciation to the six distinguished speakers for delivering inspiring lectures at the IAS Conference. He concluded that IAS is committed to bringing together an interdisciplinary team of world-renowned scholars who work with and mentor other research fellows and students at CityU.
Professor Ciarlet is the University Distinguished Professor of CityU and Senior Fellow of IAS. He is well-known for his work in the mathematical analysis of the finite element method, the mathematical theory of elasticity, plates, and shells, and applications of differential geometry. He is a Member of the French Academy of Sciences, of the Academia Europaea and a Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Science.