CUHK Biochemistry Student Wins Grand Prize in British Council FameLab Contest
A final year biochemistry student of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Anthony Cheung Ka-lun, stormed to victory in the first British Council FameLab science communication competition recently held in Hong Kong. Anthony beat nine other finalists to bring home the grand prize and was voted the ‘Audience Choice’. Anthony will represent Hong Kong at the international finals to be held in the UK next year. CUHK also won the ‘Best Institution’ prize for fielding the largest number of contestants in the open auditions. A total of eight CUHK students participated in the contest, including one biomedical engineering and two biochemistry students who made their way into the Hong Kong finals.
‘I am very happy about our students’ achievements at the Hong Kong FameLab competition. The Faculty is very proud of their active participation in such a meaningful and fun event. I believe that students from the Faculty of Science will continue to challenge themselves in future competitions, and our Faculty members will give them full support and guidance,’ said Prof. Ng Cheuk-yiu, Dean of Science.
Anthony impressed both the judges and the audience with his graphic depiction of the aging process at the Hong Kong finals. He had three minutes to convince the judges of his chosen scientific argument – the key roles oxygen and sugar play in both sustaining life and causing aging – and was judged the best on the basis of the content, clarity and charisma of his presentation.
Anthony worked hard to make the best of his performance, taking every opportunity to present to his professors in the biochemistry and other departments and to the general audience, including students from secondary schools. He had worked on his presentation for two weeks, honing the content down to three minutes and practising the drama with his audience. He had also benefited from a two-day master class on communication training arranged by the British Council.
‘I am excited to be at the frontier of science communication in Hong Kong. I want to tell the public that science is fun and vivid. Science is not boring! Not only did I have a chance to talk about science on stage, I also gained experience in public speaking and I improved a lot after the master class,’ said Anthony.
He continued, ‘Winning is not the ultimate goal. Learning is. I really learnt a lot and I hope I can explore more at the international finals in the UK. FameLab has discovered ten talented science communicators and I hope all of us will continue to spread the beauty and fun of science in Hong Kong through schools, media and the general public.’
Prof. Hui Pak-ming, assistant dean at the Faculty of Science, said, ‘FameLab is a unique science competition that requires a good mix of talents from the participants. I am proud of Anthony’s performance and his hard work has paid off. During the preparation, Anthony spent much effort rehearsing and refining his talk. He was attentive to every detail, such as the precise timing of each paragraph, the gestures and where to move around on stage. I am really impressed.’
The judging panel is formed by representatives from the science, education and entertainment arenas, namely Ms. Anna Lee Oi-lan, Chief Curriculum Development Officer (Science) at the Education Bureau of the HKSAR Government; Prof. Randy Y.C. Poon, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s Department of Biochemistry; pop singer-songwriter Ms. Ellen Loo of at17; and Mr. William Yip, founder of Theatre Noir.
FameLab is an international science communication competition created by the Cheltenham Science Festival and held for the first time in Hong Kong as part of the annual Science Alive programme. Organised by the British Council in partnership with the Hong Kong Science Museum and Education Bureau, and sponsored by the Croucher Foundation, FameLab aims to encourage young scientists (20 to 35 years old) to inspire and excite public imagination with a vision of science in the 21st century. Contestants have 3 minutes to present a scientific topic to an audience and a panel of expert judges. The talk should be entertaining, original, and scientifically accurate but also engaging to a non-scientific audience. The Grand Prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to the UK to represent Hong Kong in the FameLab international finals during the Cheltenham Science Festival in June 2010. For more information, visit www.britishcouncil.org.hk/famelab and www.famelab.org.