Dean's Message
Spring 2012  No.21
20th Anniversary
Looking Forward, Looking Back

Seeing the Impact of Innovation

The eye-opening Bring Technology to Community exhibition, organized by the School of Engineering, took members of the public into world of innovation at the Hong Kong Science Museum in October. The week-long display highlighted the work and research achievements of the School's faculty, students and alumni and raised awareness of how technology impacts people's daily lives. 

An underwater robot, a mini smart car, a digital photo frame that offers cognitive therapy to postpone the deterioration of Alzheimer’s sufferers, an environmentally friendly, cost-effective Braille Embosser, and a 150-billion pixel digital photo, with RadarTOUCH technology powered by Leovation, were among the technologies on show.

Separately, the Hong Kong Science Museum has accepted the Torsional Wave Demonstrator, a final year project by 2010 Mechanical Engineering graduates, as one of its exhibits. The machine makes the propagation of torsional vibration visible to the naked eye. It can also demonstrate a variety of wave forms including reflection waves and standing waves.

Ecotronics Forum Makes Its Debut at HKUST

The First International Ecotronics Symposium – Electronics for Energy and the Environment was successfully held at HKUST on November 12, sponsored by the School of Engineering and Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering.

Over the past decade, many research efforts have explored a broad range of applications and technologies for generating energy and protecting the environment. These include solar cells, wind turbine engines, solid-state lighting, green buildings, smart grid and environmental pollution sensors, among others. The symposium provided a highly useful forum, bringing together industry visionaries to discuss emerging trends in energy applications and implications for research and development. 

Other participating organizations were the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI); BMTPow Ltd; Du Pont Apollo Ltd; Hongkong Electric Co. Ltd; and the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Night to Remember for Mechanical Engineering Alumni

The Department of Mechanical Engineering held a 20th Anniversary Dinner on November 26, enabling more than 200 alumni, family and friends to enjoy a memorable and happy evening together.

The occasion got underway with a speech by Prof Matthew Yuen, Head of the Department. Founding and retired Department Heads and faculty members, including Prof Pin Tong, Prof Ping Cheng, Prof TX Yu, Prof CT Hsu, and Prof SC Kot, were then invited to join the toast in celebration of the Department’s achievements and success in the past 20 years. 

Four Distinguished Alumni Awards were also presented in recognition of outstanding service to the Department and professional academic and/or industrial achievements. The awardees, who received all their qualifications from the Department, were: Dr Terry Ka Kit Chang, (1996 BEng, 1999 MPhil, 2003 PhD); Dr Jeffery Chi Chuen Lo, (2002 BEng, 2004 MPhil, 2008 PhD); Rosie Ming Sum Ma, (2001 BEng, 2003 MSc); and Dr Weihua Xu, (2004 PhD).

Going Underground to Get Around in Megacities

As urban congestion grows around the world, underground transportation looks set to become an increasingly important feature of our burgeoning cities. The fresh challenges this will bring for geotechnical engineers and some of the latest underground construction techniques in the field were explored in a HKUST Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) Distinguished Lecture in November, given by Prof Robert Mair, Sir Kirby Laing Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cambridge University. The lecture was co-organized by the School of Engineering and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

In his talk, "Advances in Research and Practice in Underground Construction – The Future of Megacities", Prof Mair looked at the need for protection from subsidence, new ways to evaluate how buildings may be affected by tunneling and deep excavations, and novel techniques for monitoring construction using fiber-optic technology and wireless sensor networks. He also provided examples of current and future projects from around the world.

Prior to the IAS lecture, Prof Mair also delivered a seminar on "Tunneling and Deep Excavations – Ground Movements and Their Effects" to research students and faculty members of HKUST. Both the IAS lecture and the seminar were chaired by Prof Charles Ng, Chair Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Prof Mair is one of the Founding Directors of the Geotechnical Consulting Group, which is based in London and Hong Kong and was established in 1983. He has also been Senior Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Royal Society.