Newsletter No. 183

Nobel Laureate Presents Latest Awards to C N Yang Archive P rof. Yang Chen Ning, Nobel laureate in physics and Distinguished Professor-at- Large of the University, presented his latest medal — the 2001 Ki ng Faisal International Prize for Science, to the University. Set up by the King Faisal International Foundation of Saudi Arabia, the prize ranks prominently among the world's most prestigious awards. Prof. Yang also presented to the University the certificate and medal for the Academicum Pontificium award, which Pope John Paul I I bestowed on him in 2000. The presentation ceremony took place on 11th April in Cho Yiu Hall, with Prof. Arthur K.C. L i representing the University to receive the gifts from Prof. Yang. These items are the latest additions to the collection of Prof. Yang's medals, awards, and manuscripts in the C.N. Yang Archive of the University. The archive was set up in 1999 and is a unique and valuable resource for historians studying Prof. Yang's life and work, and for students of physics interested in knowing more about his contribution to science. Celebration for CUHK Debaters A party was held on 6th April 2001 at the L i Wai Chun Bu i l d i ng to celebrate the excellent performances and achievements of the CUHK debating teams at the Inter-University Debating Contest and other competitions. Prof. Arthur K.C. L i, vice-chancellor of the University, conveyed congratulatory messages to the teams on the occasion. A mini-debate, the motion for which was disclosed only minutes before it started, was also staged at the party to give the teams a chance to demonstrate their skills. Old hands and faculty members who were once debaters also shared their experiences with their successors. Poetry Reading to Celebrate UN's Year of Dialogue Thirty Hong Kong-based poets from veterans to emerging talent participated in a bilingual programme organized by the Research Centre for Translation and Shaw College as part of a series of programmes of a United Nations literary project. The year 2001 was designated by the United Nations General Assembly as the United Nations Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations, with the aim of fostering tolerance, respect, and cooperation among peoples. Initiated by the UN Society of Writers, a series of literary programmes were organized in major cities around the world under the umbrella p r o j e ct ' D i a l o g ue Amo ng Civilizations Through Poetry'. The highlight was a series of over 240 poetry readings which took place in different countries in the last week of March 2001 The programme in Hong Kong was held in two sessions, which took place respectively on 28th March at the Hong Kong Space Museum, and on 31 St March at the Shaw College Lecture Theatre. Posing outside Shaw College Lecture Theatre are Hong Kong-based writers and poets: (from left) Timothy Kaiser, Jam Ismail, Louise Ho, and Xu Xi. New Eye Dr op to the Rescue f rom Myop ia T h e Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences of the University is currently evaluating the ability of a new eye drop to prevent the progression of myopia in children. This is part of a multi-centre study involving eye centres in the US and four Asian countries. The new eye drop is a selective agent which works mainly on the scleral fibrous tissue of the eye and has been safely used in countries including Germany, Japan, England, and Canada for up to 20 years as a treatment for gastric ulcers and stomach distress, according to Prof. Dennis Lam Shun-chiu, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Tolerance and safety clinical trials have been conducted on the new treatment for myopia in the US with good results. A large-scale multi-national study on its safety and efficacy is now underway. A previous study conducted by the department has found an alarming prevalence of short-sightedness among secondary school students in Hong Kong. Fifty-five per cent of Secondary 1 students screened suffered from it. The highest prevalence was in Secondary 7 at close to 81 per cent. Other studies also found that the percentage of myopia leaped from 3 per cent in pre-schoolers to 36 per cent in primary school pupils, and 92 per cent in university students. Chemistry Professor Awarded Croucher Senior Research Fellowship Prof. Chi Wu, professor of chemistry, was awarded a Croucher Senior Research Fellowship for 2001-2 at a presentation ceremony held on 29th March 2001. The winners of the fellowship were selected after a rigorous selection process. Leading experts in the international scientific community were recruited to assess the candidates and recommend their choices to the trustees of the Croucher Foundation. The trustees' evaluation of each nomination took into account the proposed programme of research work, the urgency in each case in requiring release for an extended period for full-time research, and other relevant resource factors. The Croucher Foundation pays to the University the salary of a replacement teacher to stand in for Prof. Wu when he engages in full-time research in 2001-2, and a HK$40,000 cash award to Prof. Wu. Hong Kong Not Yet Ready for an Ageing Population A study conducted by the University's School of Continuing Studies and the University of New England in Australia reveals that Hong Kong's aged care workforce may not be large enough, or may not have the necessary skills to care for the territory's rapidly ageing population. According to the 1996 census, those aged 75 years or above represented 3.7 per cent of the population and this figure is projected to exceed 5 per cent by 2006. This population growth will require significant changes in the infrastructure of Hong Kong's health care provision. The study surveyed 650 health and welfare professionals and personal care workers in Hong Kong and found that there are ma j or challenges ahead for them. While unlike the case in many Western countries, Hong Kong's health professionals and personal care workers value working with older people, only a third of them had specialized aged care training or qualification. A vast majority expressed an interest in obtaining specialized postgraduate education in gerontology so that they could provide better services to the elderly clients. The survey report recommended, among other things, the development of innovative programmes for gerontological training, and the creation of strategies for recruiting and retaining all categories of aged care workers.