The Chinese University Unveils Statue of Professor Sir Charles Kao
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) held a ceremony for the unveiling of the statue of Professor Sir Charles Kao today (27 September). Officiating at the ceremony were Sir Charles and Lady Kao, world-renowned sculptor Prof. Wu Weishan and Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor, CUHK. Sir Charles, a pioneer in the field of optical fiber communication, is regarded worldwide as the ‘Father of Fiber Optic’. In 2009, Sir Charles was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for his ‘groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication’. CUHK erects a statue for former Vice-Chancellor Sir Charles to commend his outstanding scientific achievement and leadership in steering the University to prominence.
The statue of Professor Sir Charles Kao is sculpted by world-renowned sculptor Prof. Wu Weishan. The statue is 2.2 m tall and weighs 400 kg. Its composed and elegant demeanour embodies the self-assured but modest scholarship of Sir Charles. The ground is laid with white pebbles to better highlight the statue.
Professor Sir Charles Kao first came to CUHK in 1970. He was appointed chairman of the then newly established Department of Electronics, and later became the first professor of the department. In 1985, Sir Charles was conferred an honorary doctorate of science by CUHK. As Vice-Chancellor from 1987 to 1996, Sir Charles made substantial contributions to the University’s growth and development. To give recognition to his tremendous contributions, CUHK appointed Sir Charles as Honorary Professor of Engineering upon his retirement from vice-chancellorship. With the erection of the statue of Sir Charles at the home of engineering at CUHK – the podium outside Ho Sin-Hang Engineering Building, generations of engineering students can look to this scientific giant for inspiration to innovate and to excel.
‘Professor Sir Charles Kao has made pivotal contributions to the high standards and the international reputation in teaching and research that the Chinese University enjoys today. To commemorate his immense contributions and as a gesture of our great admiration and respect, the University is honoured to install a statue of Professor Sir Charles Kao on this campus,’ said Prof. Joseph Sung at the ceremony. Professor Sung also congratulated Sir Charles on the recent conferment on him of the Knight Commander of the Order of British Empire (KBE) by the Queen of Great Britain and on the award of the Grand Bauhinia Medal by the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Lady Kao remarked, ‘It was a great honour to set a statue of Professor Sir Charles in the campus grounds for generations of students to view and to read of his history.’
Prof. Wu Weishan is glad to be given the honour of sculpting the statue of Professor Sir Charles Kao. ‘A good statue should be able to reflect a person’s physical appearance as well as his spirit. Through this sculpture, I hope to give viewers a vivid impression of Sir Charles – not only is he a science giant, but he is also a man of great kindness and integrity who incessantly strives to pursue scientific truths.’
Prof. Wu Weishan is President of China Sculpture Academy and Director of Institute of Arts of the Chinese National Academy of Arts. He has created over 500 sculptures of historical and cultural world figures such as Qi Baishi, Fei Xiaotong and Queen Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands. Professor Wu received many international awards for his outstanding artistic attainment, including the Pangolin Award of the Society of Portrait Sculptors in the U.K., the Recognition Award of the Third Exhibition of City Sculpture in China, and New China City Sculpture Construction Achievement Award. Apart from Professor Sir Charles Kao, Professor Wu has sculpted the likeness of many important Chinese University figures, for example, the Founding Vice-Chancellor Dr. Choh-ming Li, the Founding President of New Asia College Prof. Ch’ien Mu, Prof. Yang Chen-ning, Dr. the Honourable Simon Li Fook-sean and Professor the Honourable Jao Tsung-I.
CUHK presented the exhibition ‘The Lore of a Laureate: A Tribute to Charles Kao, Former CUHK Vice-Chancellor and Nobel Laureate’ in February when Professor Sir Charles Kao returned to CUHK. The exhibition was found to be very popular and was re-run in May, and now the exhibition period is extended to 10 October. The exhibition highlights Sir Charles’s lifetime of achievements as well as his legendary contribution to fiber optic communications. The Nobel Medal kindly donated by Sir Charles to CUHK is on display. Video footages of Sir Charles is shown in the exhibition, including his demonstration of optical communication technology in the 1960s, the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony, the exhibition’s opening ceremony, the ‘Walk with Professor Kao’ CUHK Walkathon, as well as some of the University activities attended by Sir Charles during his vice-chancellorship at CUHK. All are welcome and admission is free. Details of the exhibition are as follows:
Date: From today onwards to 10 October (Closed on 1 October)
Venue: Exhibition Hall, G/F, University Library
Monday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.