Institute for Advanced Study at City University of Hong Kong opens a new frontier of scientific collaboration

Some of the best minds in science converged at the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) to present a series of lectures that inspires and challenges the mind.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Earlier on Nov 12, Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) of CityU invited 6 renowned speakers, all Senior Fellows of IAS, to share at the IAS Conference. Held in honour of Prof. Philippe G. Ciarlet's 80th birthday, the conference celebrated the France-Hong Kong Scientific Cooperation, and CityU's unwavering effort in promoting scientific cooperation between the two places in the past 15 years.

"IAS has taken tremendous strides in scientific cooperation between France and Hong Kong since its inception," said Prof. Way Kuo, President of City University of Hong Kong. "The IAS is committed to fostering an environment that provides ample opportunities for Fellows from ranks of scholars and researchers who are internationally recognized leaders in their fields, and it is an honour to welcome them here."

"We are not only here to celebrate scientific collaboration of France and Hong Kong, but the cooperation of the two as a whole," said Alexandre Giorgini, Consul General of France in Hong Kong. "Science is a unified language, and this is why we support our scientists abroad as they are all our ambassadors."

"It is a pleasure to acknowledge the quality of speakers attending the conference today," said Prof. Ciarlet. "The IAS has spared no effort in strengthening the co-operation between France and Hong Kong, and it is truly delightful to be able to see this meaningful cause bare fruit."

Kicking off the talks was Prof. Sir John Ball, esteemed Prof. of Mathematics at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, who described various generalizations of the Hadamard jump condition, and how they can lead to information about polycrystal microstructure arising from martensitic phase transformations.

"Phase transformations in water are familiar to everyone. But alloys also undergo what are called martensitic phase transformations, in which the shape of the underlying crystal lattice changes at some critical temperature," said Prof. Ball. "These phase transformations lead to patterns of microstructure in the material that affect its strength, flexibility and other properties."

Prof. Serge Haroche of College de France, winner of Nobel Prize in Physics (with David J. Wineland) in 2012, and Chairman and Senior Fellow of IAS, looked into how blue sky science and technology nurture each other through examples of quantum physics.

"Basic science and technology have always progressed together. Since the dawn of modern science, fundamental discoveries motivated by curiosity have led to the development of new tools, which have increased our ability to investigate nature, leading to further discoveries," said Prof. Haroche. "Quantum physics provides an illustration of this virtuous circle. After the laws ruling the behaviour of electrons, atoms and photons have been discovered, technologies exploiting these rules have emerged, which would have astonished the founding fathers of the theory."

Fields medalist Prof. Pierre-Louis Lions of College de France gave a presentation on Mean Field Games (MFG), a new class of mathematical models and problems introduced and studied in collaboration with Jean-Michel Lasry. "Roughly speaking, MFG are mathematical models that aim to describe the behaviour of a very large number of 'agents' who optimize their decisions while taking into account and interacting with the other agents," said Prof. Lions.

A recognized leader worldwide in the field of Continuum Mechanics, Prof. Jean Salencon explored Galileo's Dialogues concerning 'matter' and 'machines'. "The two first 'Days' of Galileo's Dialogues concerning two new sciences are devoted to what is now commonly called the Strength of Materials, in an attempt to derive the resistance of simple structures from what he defines as the resistance of their constituent materials," said Prof. Salencon .

Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn of University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Study and winner of Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1987, shared on the relationship between life and chemistry. "The evolution of the universe has generated more and more complex forms of matter through self-organization, from particles up to living and thinking matter," said Prof. Lehn. "Mankind has created science to unravel the ways and means by which matter has become organized up to a thinking organism, in particular on our planet Earth."

Last but not least, celebrated Prof. Tatsien Li of Fudan University in Shanghai wrapped up the conference looking at synchronization and boundary synchronization for hyperbolic systems. "Synchronization will be initially studied for systems governed by partial differential equations instead of systems governed by ordinary differential equations, and will be closely connected with the control theory via boundary controls in a finite time interval," said Prof. Li.

"CityU has a very special relationship with French scholars. Thank you for all the support, and I'm sure that in the future, the scientific collaboration between France and Hong Kong, and even China, will be more intense," said Prof. Jacob C. Huang, Executive Director and Chair Professor of Materials Science. "IAS is committed to bringing together an interdisciplinary team of world-renowned scholars, working with and mentoring other research fellows and students at CityU."

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