Newsletter No. 157

C.N. Ya ng Ar ch i ve S e t U p T he C.N. Yang Archive was formally set up at the University on 8th December. The first Chinese to have won the Nobel prize, Prof. Yang Chen-ning has been Distinguished Professor-at- Large of the University since 1986. The archive is a valuable collection of the many prestigious medals Prof. Yang has won in his long and distinguished career, the important research manuscripts he has written, the personal letters he has received from friends, students, and fellow scientists, and photographs catching him in special and important moments of his life. A l l manifest his remarkable contribution to the study of physics, to science education and technological development in China, and to cultural exchange between China and the West. At the opening ceremony of the archive, Prof. Yang presented the manuscripts of two of his most important papers to Prof. Arthur K.C. Li, vice- chancellor o f the Un i ve r s i t y. They were 'Conservation of Isotopic Spin and Istopic Gauge Invariance' (1954) and 'Question of Parity Conservation in Weak Interactions' (1956). Officiating at the ceremony was also Dr. David Sin Wai-kin, member of the University Council. Prof. Daniel Tsui, Nobel laureate in physics 1998, was among the guests attending the ceremony. Prof. Daniel Tsui (left) congratulating fellow Nobel laureate, Prof. Yang Chen-ning From Regional Champion to World Finalist B ravo! Following their success in the eighth Association for Computing Machinery ( ACM) Hong Kong Scholastic Programming Contest held in June last year, the CUHK programming team came first among 34 teams i n the A C M I n t e r n a t i o n al C o l l e g i a te Programming Contest (Asia Regional) held in Bangladesh on 24th November. W i t h this victory, the team, consisting of engineering students Mr. Kenny Kwok, Mr. Starsky Ho, and Mr. Lau Lap-chi, w i ll automatically be entered into the wo r ld finals to be held in Orlando, Florida in March 2000. Coach of the 1999 team Prof. Irwin King of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering points out that this marks the first time a team from Hong Kong has entered the A CM Wo r ld Finals as the champion of a regional competition. Only 60 teams have been selected from over 2,000 to take part in the finals. New Centre to Study Genetics of Brain Tumour A Hong Kong-China Brain Tumour Research Centre has been set up by the Neurosurgical Unit of the Department of Surgery w i th an anonymous donation. The centre w i ll be jointly administered by the unit and the Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology. The centre, located at the Prince of Wales Hospital, w i l l capitalize on the clinical and scientific materials and expertise of the University, Tian Tan Hospital in Beijing, and Shanghai Hua Shan Hospital 一 hospitals with the largest departments of neurosurgery in mainland China, to conduct research focussing on the genetics of brain tumour formation. Knowledge generated from such research will enable the development of technology targeted at genetic changes wh i ch w i l l result in malignant tumours, e.g. gene therapy. Genetic information will also allow early diagnosis of tumours that run in family as well as prediction for prognosis and indication of need for adjuvant therapy, e.g. radiotherapy. Officiating at the inauguration ceremony of the centre were Prof. Sydney Chung, dean of medicine, Prof. Poon Wai-sang, head of the Neurosurgical Unit, and Prof. Ng Ho-keung, acting chairman of the Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology. Also present at the ceremony were representatives f r om the Institute of Neurosurgery of Tian Tan Hospital and the Department of Neurosurgery of Hua Shan Hospital. Prof. Charles Kao Selected One of Five Most Influential Asians of the Century P rof. Charles Kao, honorary professor of engineering, has been selected by Asiaweek magazine as one of the five most influential people in Asia in the 20th century. The selection was made by a team of editors from Asiaweek. Prof. Kao, the only surviving candidate, tops the 'Science and Technology' category. The four other influential people are D e n g X i a o p i n g ( P o l i t i c s and Government), Morita Akio, co-founder of Sony (Business and Economics), Kurosawa Akira (Arts, Literature, and Culture), and Mohandas K. Gandhi (Moral and Spiritual Leadership). Dubbed 'the father of fibre optics' ever since he published his paper on fibre-optic communications technology in 1966, Prof. Kao, now 66, was selected by Asiaweek for his immense contribution to fibre-optic communication, without which communication as we know it, including the Internet, would not have existed. His achievements were lauded as having 'laid the foundation for the Information Age stretching out before us'. Agreement Marks First Transfer of Chinese Medicinal Technology in HK T he University signed an agreement with Molecular Technology Innomed Limited (MTI) on 6th December, allowing MTI to use and further develop a technology developed by the Chinese Medicinal Material Research Centre of the University which identifies Chinese medicinal materials and differentiates them from their adulterants using DNA. The technology, entitled 'Polymerase Chain Reaction — Restriction Fragment Length Po l ymo r ph i sm Test for the Authentication of Traditional Chinese Medicines', marks the first transfer of a patented technology in Chinese medicinal research in Hong Kong. The University has recently obtained a US patent for the technology, and a patent application has also been filed in mainland China. MT I is a Hong Kong based biotechnology company specializing in DNA technology. A world pioneer in the application of molecular approaches to authenticate Chinese medicinal materials, the Chinese Medicinal Material Research Centre of the University has since 1992 successfully generated DNA fingerprints and sequences of over 50 species of medicinal materials as well as their substitutes and adulterants. The research team has been led by Profs. P.C. Shaw, Wang Jun, and Paul But. Thanks to a recent grant from the Environment and Conservation Fund and support from the Agriculture and Fisheries Department, Kadoorie Farm, and the Botanical Gardens, the centre is currently generating DNA probes for the authentication of endangered animal and plant species used in Chinese medicine, including orchids, crocodile and snake meat.