SHKP and CUHK Jointly Present Nobel Laureates LecturesNobel Laureates in Medicine and Economic Sciences Explain Latest Research
Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) presented again the widely acclaimed Sun Hung Kai Properties Nobel Laureates Distinguished Lectures today (15 April 2008), featuring Professor Eric S. Maskin, 2007 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences and Professor Erwin Neher, 1991 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine. About 500 guests attended the lectures, including CUHK staff, students, alumni and members of the medical and commercial sectors.
SHKP Executive Director Michael Wong said: “In the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century, SHKP works to promote education and encourage life-long learning. We are very pleased to present the Nobel Laureates Distinguished Lectures in collaboration with the Chinese University of Hong Kong, inviting numerous Nobel laureates and other distinguished scholars to share their insights in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is both a gateway to China and an international city. The lectures are valuable opportunities for Hong Kong people to learn from the scholars. I believe it will help us lift horizons and bring us closer to the world trends, so as to equip for challenges.”
CUHK Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Liu Pak-wai thanked SHKP Vice Chairman and Managing Director Dr Raymond Kwok and SHKP for its unwavering support over the last four years, saying: “This lecture series is an integral part of the University’s service to the Hong Kong community and the world of learning. The organizers hope that these lectures will develop a global perspective in Hong Kong’s academia and business and enhance its status as an international city. We are very grateful to SHKP for their generosity and support and we hope that this partnership will last for many more years to come.”
Both lectures were broadcast live to local universities, and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks. They were also available on the Hong Kong Education City web site for on-line viewing by secondary school students and teachers. Besides, the lectures were also broadcast live to Peking, Fudan, Shanghai Jiao Tong, Tsinghua, Zhejiang, Nanjing and Sun Yat-sen Universities on the mainland. The broadcast is intended to promote the discovery and sharing of knowledge in the six Nobel Prize categories: Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, Peace and Economic Sciences.
At the first lecture, Professor Neher presented his latest research and introduced the current frontiers in the neurosciences. He explained the two directions of the current Neuroscience Research: The ‘top-down-approach’ studies the higher brain functions, such as memory, consciousness and cognition. It uses modern imaging technology and psychophysical tests to localize and quantitate these accomplishments. The ‘bottom-up-approach’ starts with the genome and the signaling molecules, which underlie the information processing in the brain. It studies properties of these molecules and the interactions among them with the aim to understand mechanisms, such as nerve impulse propagation and synaptic transmission. Professor Neher’s work takes this approach, taking advantage of a very special synapse in the auditory pathway, the Calyx of Held. Precise electrophysiological and fluorimetric techniques can be applied to this synapse revealing details of the intricate mechanisms by which calcium signals control synaptic transmission and its short-term plasticity.
Professor Erwin Neher serves as Director of the Membrane Biophysics Department at the Max-Planck-Institut fur Biophysikalische Chemie in Gottingen, Germany. He is a Foreign Associate member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), and of the Royal Society (London). He co-chairs the Managing Board of the European Neuroscience Institute, Gottingen.
Whereas at the second lecture, Professor Maskin gave a brief introduction to the theory of mechanism design, for which the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded last December. Mechanism design theory characterizes when, given a social goal, it is possible to find an institution, procedure, or mechanism that achieves that goal.
Professor Eric S. Maskin is Albert O. Hirschman Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, which he joined in 2000. Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society, Professor Maskin is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge. He is also an Honorary Professor at Wuhan and Tsinghua Universities. He is Past President of the Econometric Society.
The Sun Hung Kai Properties Nobel Laureates Distinguished Lectures were inaugurated in 2004 in conjunction with The Chinese University of Hong Kong. The series allows various Nobel laureates to speak to a broad cross-section of the community, to promote the discovery and the dissemination of knowledge, professional and entrepreneurial expertise and contributions to humanity. After this, the eleventh installment of the series, 18 Nobel laureates or renowned scholars had lectured in Hong Kong.