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Dr Benoit Guénard from HKU School of Biological Sciences

Thirteen new ant species discovered in Hong Kong

"If you believe that all life surrounding you in Hong Kong has been discovered, then you'll realise that you just need to look a bit closer… not for big things, but for ants and other insects walking at your feet, to find a plethora of new creatures," said Dr Benoit Guénard from the School of Biological Sciences.   In two separate articles recently published in Zookeys and Asian Myrmecology, Dr Guénard and his team expanded the knowledge on Hong Kong ants by adding 13 species to the 174 species officially recorded.   Among those are three new species of the genus "Strumigenys", also known as miniature trap-jaw ants, new to Science and thus far known only from Hong Kong. As their name indicates, these species are tiny, measuring only 2 to 4mm long but are astounding predators of the small arthropods living in the forest leaf-litter. They can open their mandibles widely and snap their prey with the fast-closing movement of their mandibles.   The new species described by a recent HKU graduate student Wilfred Kit Lam Tang, and the researchers Mr Mac Pierce and Dr Benoit Guénard, are named Strumigenys hirsuta, in reference to its hairy appearance; Strumigenys lantaui, as this extremely rare species is known only from a single locality on Lantau Island; and Strumigenys nathistorisoc, in honour of the Hong Kong Natural History Society who funded this research through the Name an Ant Program (https://benoitguenard.wordpress.com/name-an-ant/) which invites donors to support scientific research on biodiversity in exchange for having a species named after them.   Profile (top), dorsal (bottom left) and head (bottom right) views of Strumigenys hirsuta, one of the three new ant species described from Hong Kong for the first time.     Profile (top left), antennal (top right), dorsal (bottom left) and head (bottom right) views of Strumigenys lantaui, one of the three new ant species described from Hong Kong for the first time.   Profile (top left), mandibular (top right), dorsal (bottom left) and head (bottom right) views of Strumigenys nathistorisoc, one of the three new ant species described from Hong Kong for the first time.   Ken Bradley, Chairman of the Hong Kong Natural History Society (www.hknhs.org) said that the Society readily supports Dr Guénard's research which is line with the Society's objective of "encouraging the study of Natural History in general and in particular in Hong Kong". "There are still many species in Hong Kong to be discovered and the support and involvement from the community in this endeavour is absolutely fundamental," said Dr. Guénard.   Dr Benoit Guénard and Ken Bradley, Chairman of the Hong Kong Natural History Society. New ant species Strumigenys nathistorisoc is named in honour of the Society which funded this research   Another five species of Strumigenys are newly recorded from Hong Kong but had already been described from other Asian regions. One of them, Strumigenys formosa, was known only from Taiwan where only two queens had been collected since its discovery in 1988. For the first time, the worker caste is thus described from a single specimen collected in Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve; enhancing our knowledge on this species' distribution and its importance for conservation. Other species recorded were previously known from South East Asia, Japan, Taiwan or other provinces of China. Finding these new, and for some of them rare species, is a good thing for Hong Kong and its biodiversity, but other discoveries are more worrisome.   Head (left), profile (middle) and dorsal (right) views of four new exotic ant species detected in Hong Kong; (A-C) Strumigenys hexamera, (D-F) S. membranifera, (G-I) S. nepalensis, and (J-L) S. rogeri.   Indeed, five of the species newly recorded are non-native to Hong Kong, four belonging to the Strumigenys genus, and one, Brachymyrmex patagonicus, here recorded for the first time from mainland Asia. This latter is an urban pest well-known for its ability to enter and establish nests within a wide range of buildings, like hospitals, hotels, schools, and houses, and colonise various rooms such as kitchens, offices, and laundry rooms, but also more sensitive areas such as infirmary and neonatal units. In some American states, where it is also introduced, it has become the species causing the most frequent intervention from pest control companies. If the population in Hong Kong, currently known only from Hung Hom, was to proliferate, it would most likely induce an increase in pest management costs; and more harmful for the environment and populations, a more frequent use of pesticides.   The discovery of five more exotic species in Hong Kong, like the fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) in the early 2000's, highlights the regional importance of Hong Kong in importing species, some with important consequences for human populations and local biodiversity. It also indicates the need to deploy efficient survey and monitoring programmes to quickly detect these species after their arrival so targeted actions to suppress them or limit their spread through Hong Kong and beyond can be activated.   Monitoring Hong Kong insects can thus reveal both beautiful and alarming discoveries. With probably several hundreds, if not thousands of species waiting to be found, it shows the fantastic diversity that the city still has to offer if protected sufficiently. In parallel, it also represents an important step for uncovering more alarming species, in particular exotic ones for which early detection represents a key requirement to ensure success in the limitation of their spread and negative impacts. Links of journals: Tang K.L., M.P. Pierce, & B. Guénard (2019). Review of the genus Strumigenys (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) in Hong Kong with the description of three new species and the addition of five native and four introduced species records. Zookeys 831, 1-48. https://zookeys.pensoft.net/article/31515/ Guénard B. (2019) First record of the emerging global pest Brachymyrmex patagonicus Mayr 1868 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from continental Asia. Asian Myrmecology 10: e010011. (link)  

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Science Teachers Received the HKU Excellence Awards 2018

Congratulations to our teachers for their being honored at the HKU Excellence Awards Presentation Ceremony 2018. The Faculty is very proud of their achievements and would like to join the university to pay tribute to the outstanding work of our exceptional teachers and researchers.   Outstanding Teaching Award 2017-18 Professor Alice S T WONG, School of Biological Sciences more   Outstanding Researcher Award 2017-18 Professor Xuechen LI, Department of Chemistry more   Outstanding Young Researcher Award 2017-18 Dr Benjamin R KANE, Department of Mathematics more

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A bird hatchling leaving its nest shortly after birth

Ancient birds out of the egg running

The ~125 million-year-old Early Cretaceous fossil beds of Los Hoyas, Spain have long been known for producing thousands of petrified fish and reptiles (Fig 1.). However, one special fossil stands unique and is one of the rarest of fossils — a nearly complete skeleton of a hatchling bird. Using their own laser imaging technology, Dr Michael Pittman from the Department of Earth Sciences and Thomas G Kaye from the Foundation for Scientific Advancement in the USA determined the lifestyle of this ~3cm long hatchling bird by revealing the previously unknown feathering preserved in the fossil specimen (Fig. 2).   Chickens and ducks are up and about within hours of hatching, they are “precocial” (Fig. 3). Pigeons and eagles are “altricial”, they stay in the nest and are looked after by their parents. How do you tell if a hatchling came “out of the egg running” or was “naked and helpless in the nest”? Feathers. When precocial birds hatch they have developed down feathers and partly developed large feathers and can keep warm and get around without mum’s help. “Previous studies searched for but failed to find any hints of feathers on the Los Hoyas hatchling. This meant that its original lifestyle was a mystery,” says Dr Pittman.   Michael Pittman and Thomas Kaye brought new technology to the study of Los Hoyas fossils in the form of a high power laser. This made very small chemical differences in the fossils become visible by fluorescing them different colours, revealing previously unseen anatomical details. They recently had tremendous success with the first discovered fossil feather which they disassociated from the famous early bird Archaeopteryx by recovering the chemical signature of its fossil quill, a key part of the feather’s identification that had been previously unverified for ~150 years. The new results on the hatchling bird finally answered the question about its lifestyle as it did indeed have feathers at birth (Figs. 2, 4) and was thus precocial and out of the egg running. The feathers were made of carbon which has low fluorescence using Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence (LSF), but the background matrix did glow making the feathers stand out in dramatic dark silhouette (Fig. 2). “Previous attempts using UV lights and synchrotron beams failed to detect the feathers, underscoring that the laser technology stands alone as a new tool in palaeontology” added Tom Kaye, the study’s lead author.   This discovery via new technology demonstrates that some early birds adopted a precocial breeding strategy just like modern birds. Thus, in the time of the dinosaurs, some enantiornithine bird babies had the means to avoid the dangers of Mesozoic life perhaps by following their parents or moving around themselves. “One of the feathers discovered was of a substantial size and preserves features seen in other hatchlings. It indicates that our hatchling had reasonably well-developed flight feathers at the time of birth”, says Jesús Marugán-Lobón, a co-author from the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid, Spain (Figs. 2B, 4). This and other “illuminating” discoveries are adding to our knowledge of ancient life with details surviving in the fossil record that were never thought possible even a couple decades ago.   The paper: ‘Fully fledged enantiornithine hatchling revealed by Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence supports precocial nesting behavior’ by T. Kaye, M. Pittman, J. Marugán-Lobón , H. Martín Abad , J. Sanz & A. Buscalioni in Scientific Reports.    Link to journal article   Figure 1. Las Hoyas, Spain is known for spectacular fossils preserved in 126+ million-year-old rocks deposited in a lake environment. Image Credit: HKU MOOC / HKU Vertebrate Palaeontology Laboratory.   Figure 2. Feathers revealed in a ~125 million-year-old fossil of a bird hatchling shows it came “out of the egg running”. Specimen MPCM-LH-26189 from Los Hoyas, Spain is preserved between two slabs of rock: (a) ‘counter’ slab under normal light (b) Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence (LSF) image combining the results from both rock slabs. This reveals brown patches around the specimen that include clumps of elongate feathers associated with the neck and wings and a single long vaned feather associated with the left wing. (c) Normal light image of the main slab. Scale is 5mm. Image Credit: Kaye et al. 2019   Figure 3. Chickens are up and about within hours of hatching, they are “precocial’ birds that were already known in the age of dinosaurs. Image licensed from Shutterstock.com   Figure 4. A bird hatchling leaving its nest shortly after birth ~125 million years ago. This baby bird lived in a lake environment and may have been born on the ground like some other extinct enantiornithine birds. Image Credit: Julius T Csotonyi / HKU Vertebrate Palaeontology Laboratory.

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Artist conception of a brown dwarf (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Are brown dwarfs failed stars or super-planets?

Brown dwarfs are celestial bodies that are less massive than stars and more massive than planets. It remains unclear whether they all form like stars in interstellar gas clouds or they can also form like planets in disks of gas and dust around young stars. A team of astronomers that includes Dr Man Hoi Lee from the Department of Physics and Department of Earth Sciences and former postdoctoral fellow Dr Trifon Trifonov in his team discovered that the star v Ophiuchi is orbited by two brown dwarfs in a 6:1 orbital resonance configuration. The orbital periods of the two brown dwarfs are 530 and 3185 days, which means that the brown dwarf closer to v Ophiuchi orbits its star six times while the more distant brown dwarf completes one orbit. This system is the first to have two brown dwarfs in orbital resonance, and the period ratio of the resonance is also the largest discovered so far for a pair of brown dwarfs or planets orbiting a star. This 6:1 resonant configuration strongly indicates that these brown dwarfs formed like planets in a disk around the star and underwent migration due to interactions with the disk. The finding has just been published as a highlighted paper in the 2019 April issue of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.    Link to the paper   棕矮星是失敗的恆星還是超級行星? 棕矮星是一類質量在較重的恆星和較輕的行星之間的天體,目前尚不清楚它們是否都像恆星一樣在星際氣體雲中形成,或者它們也可能像行星一樣在圍繞原恆星的氣體和塵埃盤中形成。一個包括來自香港大學的李文愷博士和前任博士後研究員 Trifon Trifonov的天文學家團隊發現了圍繞蛇夫座v恆星的兩顆棕矮星是在一個6:1共振軌道結構。這兩顆棕矮星的公轉周期分別為530和3185天,意味著當靠近蛇夫座v星的棕矮星繞其恆星運行六次,較遠的棕矮星便完成一個軌道運行。這個系統是第一個有一對棕矮星在軌道共振中,並且共振的周期比率也是在已知的圍繞恆星的棕矮星或行星中最大的一對。這種6:1的共振軌道結構強烈地表明這兩顆棕矮星像行星一樣在圍繞原恆星的氣體和塵埃盤中形成,並且由於與原行星盤的相互作用而進行遷移。這一結果剛剛在2019年4月的《天文和天體物理》期刊上作為重點論文發表。   論文連結  

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Dr Benoit Guénard from HKU School of Biological Sciences

Thirteen new ant species discovered in Hong Kong

"If you believe that all life surrounding you in Hong Kong has been discovered, then you'll realise that you just need to look a bit closer… not for big things, but for ants and other insects walking at your feet, to find a plethora of new creatures," said Dr Benoit Guénard from the School of Biological Sciences.   In two separate articles recently published in Zookeys and Asian Myrmecology, Dr Guénard and his team expanded the knowledge on Hong Kong ants by adding 13 species to the 174 species officially recorded.   Among those are three new species of the genus "Strumigenys", also known as miniature trap-jaw ants, new to Science and thus far known only from Hong Kong. As their name indicates, these species are tiny, measuring only 2 to 4mm long but are astounding predators of the small arthropods living in the forest leaf-litter. They can open their mandibles widely and snap their prey with the fast-closing movement of their mandibles.   The new species described by a recent HKU graduate student Wilfred Kit Lam Tang, and the researchers Mr Mac Pierce and Dr Benoit Guénard, are named Strumigenys hirsuta, in reference to its hairy appearance; Strumigenys lantaui, as this extremely rare species is known only from a single locality on Lantau Island; and Strumigenys nathistorisoc, in honour of the Hong Kong Natural History Society who funded this research through the Name an Ant Program (https://benoitguenard.wordpress.com/name-an-ant/) which invites donors to support scientific research on biodiversity in exchange for having a species named after them.   Profile (top), dorsal (bottom left) and head (bottom right) views of Strumigenys hirsuta, one of the three new ant species described from Hong Kong for the first time.     Profile (top left), antennal (top right), dorsal (bottom left) and head (bottom right) views of Strumigenys lantaui, one of the three new ant species described from Hong Kong for the first time.   Profile (top left), mandibular (top right), dorsal (bottom left) and head (bottom right) views of Strumigenys nathistorisoc, one of the three new ant species described from Hong Kong for the first time.   Ken Bradley, Chairman of the Hong Kong Natural History Society (www.hknhs.org) said that the Society readily supports Dr Guénard's research which is line with the Society's objective of "encouraging the study of Natural History in general and in particular in Hong Kong". "There are still many species in Hong Kong to be discovered and the support and involvement from the community in this endeavour is absolutely fundamental," said Dr. Guénard.   Dr Benoit Guénard and Ken Bradley, Chairman of the Hong Kong Natural History Society. New ant species Strumigenys nathistorisoc is named in honour of the Society which funded this research   Another five species of Strumigenys are newly recorded from Hong Kong but had already been described from other Asian regions. One of them, Strumigenys formosa, was known only from Taiwan where only two queens had been collected since its discovery in 1988. For the first time, the worker caste is thus described from a single specimen collected in Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve; enhancing our knowledge on this species' distribution and its importance for conservation. Other species recorded were previously known from South East Asia, Japan, Taiwan or other provinces of China. Finding these new, and for some of them rare species, is a good thing for Hong Kong and its biodiversity, but other discoveries are more worrisome.   Head (left), profile (middle) and dorsal (right) views of four new exotic ant species detected in Hong Kong; (A-C) Strumigenys hexamera, (D-F) S. membranifera, (G-I) S. nepalensis, and (J-L) S. rogeri.   Indeed, five of the species newly recorded are non-native to Hong Kong, four belonging to the Strumigenys genus, and one, Brachymyrmex patagonicus, here recorded for the first time from mainland Asia. This latter is an urban pest well-known for its ability to enter and establish nests within a wide range of buildings, like hospitals, hotels, schools, and houses, and colonise various rooms such as kitchens, offices, and laundry rooms, but also more sensitive areas such as infirmary and neonatal units. In some American states, where it is also introduced, it has become the species causing the most frequent intervention from pest control companies. If the population in Hong Kong, currently known only from Hung Hom, was to proliferate, it would most likely induce an increase in pest management costs; and more harmful for the environment and populations, a more frequent use of pesticides.   The discovery of five more exotic species in Hong Kong, like the fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) in the early 2000's, highlights the regional importance of Hong Kong in importing species, some with important consequences for human populations and local biodiversity. It also indicates the need to deploy efficient survey and monitoring programmes to quickly detect these species after their arrival so targeted actions to suppress them or limit their spread through Hong Kong and beyond can be activated.   Monitoring Hong Kong insects can thus reveal both beautiful and alarming discoveries. With probably several hundreds, if not thousands of species waiting to be found, it shows the fantastic diversity that the city still has to offer if protected sufficiently. In parallel, it also represents an important step for uncovering more alarming species, in particular exotic ones for which early detection represents a key requirement to ensure success in the limitation of their spread and negative impacts. Links of journals: Tang K.L., M.P. Pierce, & B. Guénard (2019). Review of the genus Strumigenys (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Myrmicinae) in Hong Kong with the description of three new species and the addition of five native and four introduced species records. Zookeys 831, 1-48. https://zookeys.pensoft.net/article/31515/ Guénard B. (2019) First record of the emerging global pest Brachymyrmex patagonicus Mayr 1868 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from continental Asia. Asian Myrmecology 10: e010011. (link)  

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Science Teachers Received the HKU Excellence Awards 2018

Congratulations to our teachers for their being honored at the HKU Excellence Awards Presentation Ceremony 2018. The Faculty is very proud of their achievements and would like to join the university to pay tribute to the outstanding work of our exceptional teachers and researchers.   Outstanding Teaching Award 2017-18 Professor Alice S T WONG, School of Biological Sciences more   Outstanding Researcher Award 2017-18 Professor Xuechen LI, Department of Chemistry more   Outstanding Young Researcher Award 2017-18 Dr Benjamin R KANE, Department of Mathematics more

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A bird hatchling leaving its nest shortly after birth

Ancient birds out of the egg running

The ~125 million-year-old Early Cretaceous fossil beds of Los Hoyas, Spain have long been known for producing thousands of petrified fish and reptiles (Fig 1.). However, one special fossil stands unique and is one of the rarest of fossils — a nearly complete skeleton of a hatchling bird. Using their own laser imaging technology, Dr Michael Pittman from the Department of Earth Sciences and Thomas G Kaye from the Foundation for Scientific Advancement in the USA determined the lifestyle of this ~3cm long hatchling bird by revealing the previously unknown feathering preserved in the fossil specimen (Fig. 2).   Chickens and ducks are up and about within hours of hatching, they are “precocial” (Fig. 3). Pigeons and eagles are “altricial”, they stay in the nest and are looked after by their parents. How do you tell if a hatchling came “out of the egg running” or was “naked and helpless in the nest”? Feathers. When precocial birds hatch they have developed down feathers and partly developed large feathers and can keep warm and get around without mum’s help. “Previous studies searched for but failed to find any hints of feathers on the Los Hoyas hatchling. This meant that its original lifestyle was a mystery,” says Dr Pittman.   Michael Pittman and Thomas Kaye brought new technology to the study of Los Hoyas fossils in the form of a high power laser. This made very small chemical differences in the fossils become visible by fluorescing them different colours, revealing previously unseen anatomical details. They recently had tremendous success with the first discovered fossil feather which they disassociated from the famous early bird Archaeopteryx by recovering the chemical signature of its fossil quill, a key part of the feather’s identification that had been previously unverified for ~150 years. The new results on the hatchling bird finally answered the question about its lifestyle as it did indeed have feathers at birth (Figs. 2, 4) and was thus precocial and out of the egg running. The feathers were made of carbon which has low fluorescence using Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence (LSF), but the background matrix did glow making the feathers stand out in dramatic dark silhouette (Fig. 2). “Previous attempts using UV lights and synchrotron beams failed to detect the feathers, underscoring that the laser technology stands alone as a new tool in palaeontology” added Tom Kaye, the study’s lead author.   This discovery via new technology demonstrates that some early birds adopted a precocial breeding strategy just like modern birds. Thus, in the time of the dinosaurs, some enantiornithine bird babies had the means to avoid the dangers of Mesozoic life perhaps by following their parents or moving around themselves. “One of the feathers discovered was of a substantial size and preserves features seen in other hatchlings. It indicates that our hatchling had reasonably well-developed flight feathers at the time of birth”, says Jesús Marugán-Lobón, a co-author from the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid, Spain (Figs. 2B, 4). This and other “illuminating” discoveries are adding to our knowledge of ancient life with details surviving in the fossil record that were never thought possible even a couple decades ago.   The paper: ‘Fully fledged enantiornithine hatchling revealed by Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence supports precocial nesting behavior’ by T. Kaye, M. Pittman, J. Marugán-Lobón , H. Martín Abad , J. Sanz & A. Buscalioni in Scientific Reports.    Link to journal article   Figure 1. Las Hoyas, Spain is known for spectacular fossils preserved in 126+ million-year-old rocks deposited in a lake environment. Image Credit: HKU MOOC / HKU Vertebrate Palaeontology Laboratory.   Figure 2. Feathers revealed in a ~125 million-year-old fossil of a bird hatchling shows it came “out of the egg running”. Specimen MPCM-LH-26189 from Los Hoyas, Spain is preserved between two slabs of rock: (a) ‘counter’ slab under normal light (b) Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence (LSF) image combining the results from both rock slabs. This reveals brown patches around the specimen that include clumps of elongate feathers associated with the neck and wings and a single long vaned feather associated with the left wing. (c) Normal light image of the main slab. Scale is 5mm. Image Credit: Kaye et al. 2019   Figure 3. Chickens are up and about within hours of hatching, they are “precocial’ birds that were already known in the age of dinosaurs. Image licensed from Shutterstock.com   Figure 4. A bird hatchling leaving its nest shortly after birth ~125 million years ago. This baby bird lived in a lake environment and may have been born on the ground like some other extinct enantiornithine birds. Image Credit: Julius T Csotonyi / HKU Vertebrate Palaeontology Laboratory.

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Professor Quentin Parker receiving gift from BISME Director.

HKU Faculty of Science Laboratory for Space Research gains access to mainland national observatory facilities for the entire Hong Kong astronomer community

The Laboratory for Space Research (LSR) of HKU Faculty of Science strives to play an important role in strategically positioning astrophysics, space and planetary research of both HKU and Hong Kong SAR to a higher level. A senior LSR delegation led by Prof. Quentin Parker recently opened the avenue for collaboration with the Mainland National Astronomical Observatories and embarked on several other key initiatives during its visit to elite Chinese institutes and Universities in Beijing and Shanghai in early March. This succeeded well beyond the team’s expectations with agreements and opportunities galore!   The LSR believes there will probably never be a better time for HKU to push forward on Space and Planetary Sciences than now. This is given the massive Mainland expansion and expenditure in this area and shift in focus to major science missions in space. The science and engineering opportunities available and possibilities for HK SAR and HKU are significant. “Timing is important. This all comes at a period when there is also very strong upstream pressure for Mainland engagement with HK, Macau and the Greater Bay Area. We do not underestimate the importance of this. Our trip solidified existing initiatives and secured other excellent opportunities,” said Professor Quentin Parker, Director of LSR.   At its visit to Beijing Institute of Space Mechanics and Electricity (BISME), the team finalised an important MoU with them – BISME are responsible for manufacturing the NJU-HKU No.1 satellite due for launch as early as October 2019. At the visit to the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC), the LSR finalised an MoU both parties have been working on together for nearly a year. This MoU has far-reaching and strategically important consequences. The most important is that the MoU includes access rights for the first time for all HK astronomers to all ground based Mainland facilities and those available via international agreements. So now HK SAR based astronomers can apply for time in open competition with their Chinese peers on any telescope that China has access to, just like for Mainland universities. HKU LSR negotiated this on-behalf of the entire HK SAR astronomical community in all tertiary education establishments (there are currently around 60 active astronomy researchers in HK SAR across HKU, HKUST, CUHK that could benefit including postdoctoral fellows and research postgraduate students, including around 25 at HKU). This is a highly significant, positive development for HK scientists and astronomers and demonstrates our open-handed, collaborative approach.   HKU was also invited to become a member of the NAOC-led Chinese participation in the International Thirty Metre Telescope project (TMT: see www.tmt.org). Chinese membership of this consortium is a flagship science project of national significance. We are hoping for HK SAR government and HKU can support us to participate and lead HK astronomers in this wonderful opportunity.   Another highlight was our visit to Shanghai to talk with Shanghai government officials and senior directors and representatives from the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technologies (SAST). An MoU was signed and HKU (under the auspices of the LSR) was invited to become a full member of the SAST led Joint Innovation Centre for Space Science (JICSS) that was established in May 2018. We will be joining 17 top Mainland universities in an endeavor that is expected to lead all major Chinese-led space science satellite missions in the future. HKU has an opportunity to lead such a future mission via the JICSS. Finally, Shanghai and Hong Kong have a joint innovation commission between our two great cities and it was suggested by the government officials that Space Science could form a key part of this initiative for high-tech endeavours both at HKU-ZIRI (www.ziri.hku.hk) and in the GBA.   About LSR The LSR is well situated in a dynamic region of Asia to foster links with the space science community in China and globally as is already occurring. The LSR’s interdisciplinary research launches various bids to exploit and access the emerging Mainland funding and research environment. We plan to develop multilateral and strategic partnerships with world-leading space science institutes, and participate in large, international, high-impact space missions. We see this as an effective means to better position the LSR, the Departments of Physics and Earth Sciences, the newly established Research Divisions of the Faculty of Science and so HKU, as a serious node of knowledge, expertise and capacity in space science and related disciplines. Website: www.lsr.hku.hk   LSR-BISME group photo MoU Signing with NAOC Beijing March 7th with deputy NAOC director Prof. Xue Suijian and NAOC director of International relations plus Prof. Quentin Parker, Dr Meng Su and Dr Pablo Saz Parkinson   SAST-LSR MoU signing, Shanghai March 8th with senior representatives from Shanghai Government and directors from SAST

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New Endowed Professorships established in Faculty of Science

Two Endowed Professorships of Faculty of Science were inaugurated on March 20, 2019. May we congratulate Professor Hongzhe SUN on being conferred “Norman and Cecilia Yip Professorship in Bioinorganic Chemistry”, and Professor Guosheng YIN on succeeding “Patrick S C Poon Professor in Statistics and Actuarial Science”. In celebration of Faculty’s 80th Oak Anniversary, “Norman and Cecilia Yip Professorship in Bioinorganic Chemistry” was established for catalysing the study of bioinorganic chemistry, with the hope to bring impacts on human lives. The professorship was conferred to Professor Hongzhe SUN, Chair of Chemistry at HKU. Professor Sun’s research interests lie in the frontier of inorganic chemistry and biology, and medicine. He and his team recently made a medical breakthrough in developing a drug that can be used to paralyse multi-resistant superbugs. He was the recipient of a Croucher Senior Research Fellowship (2010-11) and numerous renowned awards, as well as the editor of international journals. Professor Guosheng YIN is the Head and Professor of the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at HKU. Professor Yin’s main research areas cover clinical trial methodology, adaptive design, deep learning, big data, data mining and machine learning, Bayesian methods, change-point, and survival analysis. He was among the world’s top 1% of scientists ranked in one of the 22 subject fields of Thomson Reuters according to Essential Science Indicators in 2015. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed papers in top-tier statistical journals and received numerous international awards. Congratulations again to Professor SUN and Professor YIN for being conferred the above Endowed Professorships.   For more information about the professorships, please click the links below: About Patrick S C Poon Professorship in Analytics and Innovation About Norman and Cecilia Yip Professorship in Bioinorganic Chemistry      

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