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Presentations by Professors from Harvard University and the University of Hong Kong

Edited byzx Date:2015-07-01 16:04

EE College invited Prof Venkatesh Narayanamurti and Prof C. C. Chan, the two leading professors in their area to deliver presentations on the morning of June 29th this Monday. The impressive presentations by the two professors helped to open the door for those attended to prepare themselves for “renaissance engineers”, as was stressed in their presentations.

Prof Venkatesh Narayanamurti was delivering his presentation:Globalization, Science and Technology and the Public Good.

Prof Venkatesh Narayanamurti from Harvard University shared his presentation - Globalization, Science and Technology and the Public Good - with the attendees from his own personal experiences in industry, research intensive universities and in U.S national laboratories. He first reviewed what was known about the processes of innovation and the role of engineering as a linking discipline with the society at large. According to Prof Narayanamurti, many of the societal grand challenges, such as energy and sustainability, required global solutions. Since technology played a central part in the global development, we must prepare engineering graduates for this new environment. We needed to educate “renaissance engineers”- those who understood not only how things worked but also how the world worked, Prof Narayanamurti said. At the final part of the presentation, he reviewed the specifics of the key ingredients of successful R&D institutions. He focused on the special case of Bell Labs which had been described recently as the “Idea Factory and the great age of American Innovation” by the N.Y Times magazine writer Jon Gertner. He then discussed the need for institutions that transcended the “basic-applied” dichotomy and who rather brought research across domains into deeper congress. He discussed further the need for such new integrative institutions to address global challenges in areas such as alternative energy.

Prof C. C. Chan from the University of Hong Kong made a similar presentation with the topic of “Renaissance, Engineering Philosophy and Electric Vehicles”. In his opinion, to cope with the current complex economical, societal and technical challenges in the new era, it was vital to be open-minded. Namely, it meant to integrate the Chinese ancient civilization and the western modern civilization, and to uphold the spirit of renaissance. Renaissance scientists and engineers were those who not only understood Why and How Things worked, but also Why and How the World worked. According to Prof Chan, the characters of renaissance scientists and engineers could be summarized as 1. Global thinking instead of local thinking; 2. Circle thinking instead of linear thinking; 3. Closed loop thinking instead of open loop thinking; 4. Life cycle thinking instead of partial life thinking; and 5. Harmony thinking between human and nature. He discussed further the relation and distinct features of Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation, the key of philosophy of engineering and the principles of integrated system design, and grand challenges of science and technology, as well as the overview of global electric vehicle development.

Prof C.C.Chan was delivering his presentation: Renaissance, Engineering Philosophy and Electric Vehicles.


About the speakers:
Prof Venkatesh Narayanamurti is the Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy and a Professor of Physics at Harvard. He is also the Director of the Science, Technology and Public Policy Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). He currently also serves as the Foreign Secretary of the U.S National Academy of Engineering. He was formerly the John L. Armstrong Professor and Founding Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Dean of Physical Sciences at Harvard. Previously he served as the Richard A. Auhll Professor and Dean of Engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Prior to that he was Vice President of Research at Sandia National Laboratories and Director of Solid State Electronics Research at Bell Labs. He obtained his PhD in Physics from Cornell University and has an Honorary Doctorate from Tohoku University. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the IEEE, and the Indian Academy of Sciences. He has served on numerous advisory boards of the federal government, research universities and industry. He is the author of more than 230 scientific papers in different areas of condensed matter and applied physics. He lectures widely on solid state, computer, and communication technologies, and on the management of science, technology and public policy.

Prof. C. C. Chan holds BSc, MSc, PhD, HonDSc, HonDTech degrees. Honorary Professor and Former Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the University of Hong Kong; Visiting Professor of MIT, University of Cambridge, etc; Founding President of the World Electric Vehicle Association; Senior Consultant to governments and industries; Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, U.K., Chinese Academy of Engineering, IEEE, IET and HKIE. Recipient of Royal Academy of Engineering Prince Philip Medal; World Federation of Engineering (WFEO) Medal of Engineering Excellence; Gold Medal of Hong Kong Institution of Engineers; IEE International Lecture Medal; “Asia’s Best Technology Pioneers” by Asiaweek; “Father of Asian Electric Vehicles” by Magazine Global View; “Pitamaha (Grandfather) of Electric Vehicle Technology” in India; “Environmental Excellence in Transportation Award” by Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE); published 11 books, over 300 technical papers and holds 9 patents.



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