Newsletter No. 75

Two Wei Lun Lectures Renowned Psychologist Probes Rules Behind Human Reasoning A c c o r d i ng to Jean Piaget, one of the most influential psychologists of this century, a l l adults have the same repertoire o f rules for reasoning. However, Prof. Richard E. Nisbett of the University o f M i c h i gan has more recently argued against this cardinal principle. Theodore M . Newcomb Distinguished University Professor o f Psychology at Michigan University, Prof. Nisbett elaborated his argument in a lecture entitled 'Rules for Reasoning' on 8th September as Wei Lun Visiting Professor to the University. He maintained that formal rules are little used in reasoning, and not all adults have the same inferential rules. 'Education adds to the rules one has, and specific forms o f training such as psychology, statistics, and economics add specific rules systems.' Prof. Nisbett taught at Yale between 1966 and 1971 after obtaining his Ph.D. a t Columbia University. His research interests include evolutionary psychology, b i o l og i cal bases o f behaviour and individual differences, and social cognition. His contributions to psychology have won h im the Distinguished Scientific Contributions award f r om th e Ame r i can Psychologist Association. The Computer of Tomorrow More intuitive? D o our brains and the computer use the samemechanisms to process information? Or d o they function according t o completely different principles o f information processing? Assuming the latter is true, can we improve computers by studying the principles used by the human brain? These were some of the questions addressed by Prof. Shun-ichi Amari, professor of mathematical engineering and information physics at the University of Tokyo, in a Wei Lun lecture entitled 'Computer and the Brain' delivered on 18th September on the campus. Human beings experience two different styles of thinking or reasoning: logical, where information is represented by words or symbols, and intuitive, where information is represented by excitation patterns over a huge number of neurons. The modern computer simulates the logical thinking style of the brain. Prof. Amari believes that the computer of tomorrow will be the neurocomputer 一 a computer which can simulate the more flexible intuitive thinking style. Prof. Amari is currently director of the RIKEN Frontier Research Program on Brain Information Processing and president-elect of the International Neural Network Society. An expert in neural networks, he was awarded the IEEE Neural Network Pioneer Award in 1993 and the Japan Academy Award in 1995. HK$5 Mi l l ion Contract for CU Press T h e Chinese University Press recently won two contracts worth atotal ofHK$4.9 million to design and produce teaching kits for local primary schools. China Light and Hong Kong Electric have invited The Press t o produce materials on environmental protection and energy conservation t o be used for teaching general studies to pupils from primary four to six. Ms. Teresa Siu, lecturer in curriculum and instruction, will design the instructional strategies in collaboration with her counterpart from the Hong Kong Education Department, while The Chinese University Press will design and produce video programmes, audio programmes, and simulation games. The target completion date is September 1996. Art Museum Collections on Display in Osaka Sixty-five paintings selected from the Art Museum's collection of paintings and calligraphy of Guangdong masters are now on display at the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art until 26th November. Entitled 'Mode rn Paintings o f Guangdong Artists', the exhibition features 42 paintings by Gao Jianfu, and 23 other pieces o f work b y three generations of painters: Ju Chao and Ju Lian, Gao Qifeng and Gao Jianshen, and Chao Shao'ang and Guan Shanyue. These masterpieces reveal the transition, evolution and creativities of the influential Lingnan school of painting. The exhibition is jointly sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office and the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art under the 'Hong Kong-Japan Partnership' programme. Service t o th eCommunit y and Internationa l Organization s * Prof. C. Metreweli of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging has been appointed by the Secretary for Health and Welfare as a member of the Radiographers Board for one year from 1st September 1995. * Prof. P.C. Leung of the Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology has been appointed by the Secretary for Education and Manpower as chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Council for three years from 22nd August 1995. * Dr. Yu Tak-sun, lecturer in community and family medicine, has been appointed by the Secretary for Education and Manpower a s a member o f th e Occupational Safety and Health Council for three years from 22nd August 1995. * Dr. Wong Wai-leung, senior lecturer in Chinese language and literature, has been appointed by the Urban Council as a member o f its Advisory Board o f Literature and Arts for one year from September 1995. * Prof. Sydney S.C. Chung o f the Department of Surgery has been inivited by the First Affiliated Hospital Guangzhou Medical College to serve on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Model Clinical Medical Bioengineering from 6th June 1995. Prof. Chung was also elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians on 27th July 1995. * Dr. Cheng Yin Cheong, senior lecturer in educational administration and policy, has been reappointed as amember of the Education Department's Advisory Committee on School Management Initiative for one year from1s t September 1995. * Prof. David Gwilt of the Department of Music conducted the Hong Kong Sinfonietta i n a concert entitled 'Enchanting World of Music' in Tsuen Wan Town Hall on 2nd September 1995. * Dr. Edith Lau, lecturer in community and family medicine, has been appointed as (1) Examiner for Part I membership examination, Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, UK; (2) Examiner for Part I membership examination, College of Community Medicine, Academy of Medicine, Hong Kong. (All information in this section is provided by the Information and Public Relations Office. Contributions should be sent direct to that office for registration and verification before publication.) 'IT' Shows How IT WORKS A two-day exhibition on the latest applications and developments o f information technology in the University was staged at the Sir Run Run Shaw Hall on 26th and 27th September. The exhibition featured various computer programs designed by CUHK staff and students to assist teaching and research. A series of seminars on the Hong Kong Newspaper Database, Internet development in Hong Kong, Microsoft Window ' 95, and information security were also held. The function was organized by the Computer Services Centre/Information Technology Service Unit; Prof. Kenneth Young, pro-vice-chancellor, officiated at the opening ceremony.