Newsletter No. 152

Wei Lun Professor Examines Energy Product ion and the Envi ronment i nChina Prof. Vaclav Smil, FRSC, distinguished professor i n the Department o f Geography of the University of Manitoba in Canada, delivered a lecture entitled 'Long Term Perspectives o n China's Energy 1950-2050' o n 7t h October i n hi s capacity a s Wei Lu n Visiting Professor to the University. In his lecture, Prof. Smil warned that Ch i na shou ld pa y greater attention t o the impact o f its energy industries, fo r failure t o d o so would have serious implications fo r he r economic development and the global environment. During three decades of centrally- planned development since 1949, he pointed out, the total output o f coal, crude oil, and electricity in China increased rapidly, but th e country's energy industries ha d l o w productivity, the level o f private energy use was also very low , an d energy conversions were extraordinarily inefficient — a direct cause o f China's environmental degradation. The situation improved significantly between 1980 an d 1995, when th e country's energy intensity fell b y half. Prof. Smil believes that, i n the coming generation, substantial gains in overall energy efficiency an d a greater attention t o protecting the environment are essential i f China is t o combine its much needed expansion of total energy p r odu c t i on an d pe r capita energy consumption with the maintenance o f acceptable environmental quality. Born i n Bohemia, Prof. Smil obtained a doctorate i n natural sciences from Carolinum University i n Prague i n 1965, and a Ph.D. from the College o f Earth and Mineral Sciences o f Pennsylvania State University in 1972. Since then, he has taught at the University of Manitoba where he is now a distinguished professor. He is currently a fellow of the Royal Society (Science Academy), and his research interests encompass a broad area of inter-disciplinary studies on China: economics, energy, food, population, public policy studies, and environmental affairs. CUHK and HKUST Formalize Academic Partnership A n agreement on academic partnership was signed by vice-chancellor of The Chinese University Prof. Arthur K.C. Li , and president o f the Hong Kong University o f Science and Technology, Prof. Chia-wei Woo, o n 28th September. With the aim o f establishing closer linkages with each other so as t o be able t o make greater contributions t o tertiary education, the two universities formed the alliance which allows students to enrol in the other party's courses, and which encourages staff and departments t o conduct joint research, organize joint seminars and conferences, and share academic resources. FITNESS PRO g RAMME EFFECTIVE FO RFAT CH I LDREN T he incidence o f childhood obesity i s on the rise in Hong Kong. The causes for childhood obesity are mostly improper diet and a sedentary lifestyle. A Fu n an d F i t We i g ht Ma n a g eme nt Programme specially designed fo r obese local children aged 8 t o 12 years was launched earlier this year to address such a phenomenon. The project was organized by the Department of Sports Science and Physical Education and the Department of Paediatrics in collaboration with the Health Promotion and Education Department o f the Adventist Hospital i n Tsuen Wan. Supported by the Health Care and Promotion Fund o f the Hospital Authority, the programme emphasized physical fitness and optimal diet rather than weight loss, and catered specifically for obese children a t growing ages. It also functioned to educate parents i n p r o v i d i ng a n en v i r onment conducive t o a healthy lifestyle fo r their children. After six months, the children in th e programme demonstrated s i g n i f i c a nt i mp r o v eme n ts i n physical fitness an d health. A seminar on Hong Kong Childhood Obesity was subsequently organized o n 28th September fo r professionals i n the field t o share their findings on different aspects o f weight control f o r children. Wha tMake sBette rTeachin g • Forty teaching staff participated i n a teaching enhancement workshop conducted by Prof. David Cook from the Division o f Studies in Medical Education, University of Alberta, from 20th t o 23rd September. Topics addressed covered educational objectives, teaching progress, interaction with students, and presentation skills. • Twenty-five teachers from different departments rediscovered an d reaffirmed their capacity for humour in a teaching cells session facilitated by Prof. Chua Bee Leng o f the Department o f Management o n 24th September. Entitled 'The Positive Use o f Creativity and Humour i n the Classroom', the session explored how the use of humour in teaching can bring out creativity in students and encourage them to express their views.