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Revolutionizing Research and Education: Meet the Pioneering Scientist Driving Innovation in Hong Kong

ChinaRevolutionizing Research and Education: Meet the Pioneering Scientist Driving Innovation in Hong Kong

Wai Pingkong, the president of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) and a Hong Kong physicist specializing in optical communications, believes that a research topic should be forward-looking to be worthwhile. According to him, it is essential to identify where the future lies and then move towards that direction with courage. As a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Wai has proposed to the conference to focus on the better utilization of artificial intelligence in China’s research and education.

Wai Pingkong emphasized the need for the younger generation to pick up emerging technological tools in his proposal. He believes that by doing so, the younger generation can learn to navigate and adapt to the changes in the technological landscape. With the help of artificial intelligence, China’s research and education sectors can be improved. AI can aid in areas such as data processing, predictive analytics, and pattern recognition, thereby improving the efficiency of these sectors.

The use of artificial intelligence in research and education has become increasingly relevant in recent years. With AI, researchers can analyze vast amounts of data in a short period, enabling them to make more accurate and precise conclusions. Additionally, AI can help educators personalize learning, track student progress, and provide feedback. Therefore, incorporating AI into the research and education sectors can bring about significant improvements and advancements.

Wai Pingkong’s proposal is significant, given the current global technological advancements. His suggestion to utilize artificial intelligence in research and education aligns with the Chinese government’s efforts to promote the country’s technological and economic growth. By embracing emerging technological tools, China can position itself as a leader in innovation and development, thus driving its economy forward.

The 63-year-old scientist, Wai, has adopted a forward-looking attitude not just in his academic research but also in his personal life. He strongly believes in the progress and development of his nation and is committed to making a positive contribution towards it. This philosophy has guided him throughout his career and has been reflected in his research and personal choices.

Wai’s fascination with natural phenomena started at a young age, inspiring him to pursue higher education in the field of natural sciences. In the late 1970s, when Wai was applying to universities, most of his peers with good grades opted for medical studies. In contrast, Wai chose to study natural science, reflecting his interest in the subject. Back then, science and technology education was not highly valued in Hong Kong, and the opportunities for pursuing a career in physics were limited. Despite these obstacles, Wai was determined to follow his passion.

Wai’s decision to study natural science was met with skepticism from many of his peers who believed that he would not find a job after graduation. However, Wai remained steadfast in his decision and pursued his passion. He overcame these challenges and eventually secured a faculty position in physics. According to Wai, there were only around 30 faculty positions in physics in the two universities in Hong Kong at that time, serving a population of around 5 million.

Wai’s journey and achievements serve as an inspiration to many young scientists who face similar challenges. His unwavering commitment to his passion and his country’s development have helped him overcome many obstacles throughout his career. Wai’s story highlights the importance of pursuing one’s interests, even in the face of skepticism and adversity. His success is a testament to the value of hard work and perseverance in achieving one’s goals.

In 1996, Wai made the decision to return to Hong Kong from the United States after completing his doctoral degree and working in the US for several years. This decision was made one year before Hong Kong’s return to the motherland. Wai felt that the future of Hong Kong was bright and full of opportunities, particularly for Chinese scientists. He believed that the best way to contribute to his country was to return and work in Hong Kong.

At the turn of the 21st century, Hong Kong’s higher education system began to rapidly develop, resulting in the establishment of more universities. During this time, Wai became a faculty member at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), where he spent 25 years teaching, conducting research, and later, participating in school management. PolyU has become one of Hong Kong’s most reputable universities, with a strong reputation for excellence in engineering, design, and business education. Wai’s contributions to PolyU over the years were significant, both in terms of his teaching and research work and his contributions to school management.

Wai’s dedication to his profession and his willingness to contribute to the development of higher education in Hong Kong have earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and students. His leadership and expertise have been instrumental in shaping the growth of PolyU, and his efforts have contributed to the success of many of his students. Wai’s legacy at PolyU will undoubtedly continue to inspire future generations of students and educators, ensuring that the university remains a world-class institution for years to come.

Wai, who served as the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and later became the vice president of the university, dedicated his efforts to promoting scientific research opportunities at PolyU. He recognized the potential of sci-tech development in the nation and aimed to explore it by building partnerships between PolyU researchers and various institutions in mainland China. His vision was to expand the horizons of scientific research and create opportunities for students and faculty alike.

One of Wai’s significant contributions was facilitating cooperation between PolyU and China Academy of Space Technology, a leading research institute in China. This collaboration led to the formation of a research team led by Yung Kai Leung, a PolyU professor in precision engineering. Under Wai’s leadership, the team was able to make significant strides in the field of space technology. By leveraging the strengths of both institutions, they were able to develop groundbreaking solutions and technologies that contributed to the advancement of space exploration.

Since 2010, PolyU has continued to play a significant role in China’s space projects. The university has achieved significant milestones, including participating in international space missions. These achievements have made PolyU the only tertiary education institution in Hong Kong with experience in international space missions. Wai’s leadership and vision played a vital role in making these accomplishments possible. He fostered a culture of innovation and excellence, creating an environment that allowed students and researchers to thrive.

Wai’s tenure as the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and vice president of the university was marked by his unwavering commitment to expanding opportunities for scientific research at PolyU. His leadership facilitated the collaboration between PolyU and China Academy of Space Technology, which has made significant contributions to the advancement of space technology. Under his guidance, PolyU has achieved significant milestones in space exploration, making it the only tertiary education institution in Hong Kong with experience in international space missions. His vision and leadership have left a lasting legacy at PolyU, creating a culture of innovation and excellence that will continue to inspire future generations.

After over 20 years at PolyU, Professor Roland Chin Tai-hong transferred to Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), which is renowned for its humanities and fine arts programs. He was appointed as the president of HKBU. Professor Wai believes that cultural soft power is just as vital as hard science for national development.

Professor Wai explained that the stories about Chinese culture and the Chinese path to modernization are significant and should be shared with the world. He believes that the humanities and arts disciplines have an edge in conveying these stories.

Collaborating with his colleagues, Professor Wai has been actively promoting the application of digital tools in humanities and arts education. In his opinion, Hong Kong is a highly international city, and its young people possess an advantage in communicating the China story to the world.

Professor Wai stated that national development presents an opportunity for Hong Kong’s youth. He believes that the city’s youth can leverage this opportunity to tell the China story to the world. This perspective on national development, combined with his expertise in the humanities and digital education, highlights Professor Wai’s unique approach to promoting Chinese culture and soft power.

His decision to return to Hong Kong after completing his doctoral degree and his contributions to PolyU have had a profound impact on higher education in Hong Kong. His commitment to teaching, research, and school management has helped shape the growth and development of PolyU, making it one of the leading universities in the region. Wai’s dedication to his profession, his colleagues, and his students serves as an inspiration to many, and his legacy will undoubtedly continue to influence and inspire future generations of educators and researchers.

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