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October 12, 2023
Top Scientist Lecture Series Broadens Horizons and Inspires Minds

To create opportunities for students to meet the world’s academic heavyweights, know the frontiers in scientific research, and promote international exchanges and the development of related disciplines, Hainan University has organized the Top Scientist Lecture Series. Since its inception in September 2020, ten top experts in different fields have delivered lectures online and offline, among whom five are Nobel Prize laureates, one is a U.S. National Medal of Science recipient and most are fellows or foreign fellows of national science academies, and all have made outstanding contributions in their respective fields.

These top scientists have inspired and encouraged the teachers and students of Hainan University with their lectures on the cutting-edge of science and technology.

A Review of Past Lectures

On September 30, 2020, Ada Yonath, an Israeli crystallographer and Nobel laureate in Chemistry, gave a lecture entitled “The Next Generation of Environment-friendly Antibiotics”. She pointed out that the ribosome is a universal cellular structure that translates the genetic code into proteins, and because of this important function, the bacterial ribosome has been the target of antibiotics development. Its unique features can be found through comparing the ribosome’s structure, which can form the basis for the development of the next generation of novel disease-specific antibiotics.

On October 13, 2020, Aaron Ciechanover, an Israeli biochemist, foreign fellow of Chinese Academy of Sciences and U.S. National Academy of Sciences, fellow of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry gave a lecture entitled “The Personalized Medicine Revolution - Can We Cure All the Diseases? And at What Cost?” He emphasized that with the advent of a new era of “personalized (precision) healthcare”, treatment plans should be based on molecular or biochemical indicators of the patient, and further analyzed the relevant features of this new era.

On October 27, 2020, Erwin Neher, a German biophysicist and winner of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, gave a lecture entitled “Discovery, Function, and Role of Ion Channels in Medicine and Pharmaceutics”. He pointed out that ion channel is the major drug target and that its dysfunction can lead to many genetic diseases, and introduced the discovery, function and role of ion channel in medicine and pharmaceutics.

On November 10, 2020, Nakamura Shūji, a Japanese-American electrical engineer, inventor of blue LEDs, and winner of Nobel Prize in Physics and the World Energy Prize, gave a lecture entitled “The Invention of Blue LEDs and the Future of Solid-State Lighting Technology”. He introduced the invention of blue LEDs, and pointed out that laser lighting with the use of blue-violet lasers is a point light source, and further explained that it will become a new lighting trend in the future.

On December 1, 2020, Shu Chien, a world-renowned physiologist and bioengineer, fellow of US National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Humanities and Sciences, National Academy of Inventors, and a U.S. National Medal of Science recipient, gave a lecture entitled “Life and Science”. He shared his learning experiences and challenges in his life and science career, and encouraged the attendees to seize the moment, keep learning and become contributing members of society.

On December 15, 2020, Lihong Wang, fellow of US National Academy of Engineering and a tenured professor of medical and electrical engineering in the Department of Medical Engineering at Caltech, gave a lecture entitled “The World’s Deepest-Penetrating and Fastest Optical Camera: Photoacoustic Laminography and Compressed Ultrafast Photography”. He introduced the Photoacoustic Tomography (PAT) and Compressed Ultrafast Photography (CUP) technologies developed by his team and how the latter can be extensively applied.

On September 5, 2022, Mohamed Ibrahim bin Abdul Mutalib, fellow of Academy of Sciences Malaysia, President of Universiti Teknologi Petronas and member of the International Advisory Board of Hainan University, gave a lecture entitled “The Changing Role of Universities in a Changing World – a Case Study of Universiti Teknologi Petronas Malaysia”. Based on his own experience in university management, he shared his opinions about the development trend and challenges of universities, and the path of development Universiti Teknologi Petronas has taken under the new circumstances.

On September 8, 2022, Bill S. Hansson, an internationally renowned expert in evolutionary neurobehavior and chemical ecology, foreign fellow of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and fellow of the German Academy of Sciences, the African Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences and Letters of Finland, the European Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, gave a lecture entitled “Old and New Models of Olfactory Neuroecology in Insects – the Example of Flies and Locusts”. He introduced the latest progress made by his team through the use of fly pheromones to study phylogenetic relationships, how the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology was innovatively applied to the flying locusts to establish a new model for insect research, and revealed the new principles of olfactory coding.

On May 17, Thomas C. Südhof, a German-American neuroscientist and 2013 Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology or Medicine gave a lecture entitled “How to Understand the Brain Network Damage Mechanisms of Alzheimer’s Disease: Exploring New Approaches to Drug Development”. He shared his learning path to the Nobel Prize, and introduced synapses, synapse formation and its characteristics based on his latest research findings. He also explained the latest trend of drug R&D in the pharmaceutical industry with Alzheimer’s disease as an example, and emphasized the essential role of synapses in drug R& D.

On September 20, Wang Zhonglin, foreign fellow of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the first scientist of Chinese descent to win the Albert Einstein World Science Prize, gave a lecture entitled “From ‘0-1’ Original Science to Disruptive Technological Revolution”. He focused on the aspects of “How to generate ‘0-1’ innovation”, “scientific contributions based on the ‘0-1’ innovations”, and “from fossil energy to blue energy”. Focused on the commercialization of sci-tech achievement, his lecture revealed the application and development trend of nanotechnology and activated in-depth thinking about original science, basic research and technological revolution.

On October 12, Prof. Lin Jianhua, former president of Peking University and director of Peking University Future Education and Management Research Center will give the 11th Top Scientist Lecture at the invitation of Hainan University.

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