Biography of Professor Sun Kwok

Prof. Kwok is a Chair Professor of Physics and the first appointed Dean of Science at The University of Hong Kong. Previously, Prof. Kwok has served as Faculty Professor of the University of Calgary in Calgary, Canada, and Director and Distinguished Research Fellow of the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics of Academia Sinica of Taiwan. Prof. Kwok holds a B.Sc. degree in Physics from McMaster University, Canada, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from the University of Minnesota, U.S.A.

Professor Kwok is widely acknowledged as the world-leading expert in the study of planetary nebulae, a class of spectacular-looking objects formed near the end of a star's life. His theory on the origin of planetary nebulae has revolutionarized our understanding of the death of Sun-like stars. More recently, he has found that planetary nebulae can rapidly synthesize large amount of complex organic compounds, as well as widely spreading them throughout the Milky Way Galaxy; a finding that has significant implications on the origin of life on Earth.

He has been guest observer on many space missions including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Infrared Space Observatory. Between 1994 and 2006, Professor Kwok served as the Principal Investigator for Canada in the international submillimeter-wave satellite Odin which was successfully launched in 2001.

Prof. Kwok is the author of several books, including the best-selling Cosmic Butterflies published by Cambridge University Press in 2001, and Physics and Chemistry of the Interstellar Medium, a standard textbook used in many leading universities in the world. His most recent books are Organic Matter in the Universe (Wiley 2011) and Stardust: The Cosmic Seeds of Life (Springer 2013).

He has served in many national and international bodies, including as chairman of the International Astronomical Union Working Group on Planetary Nebulae (1994-2001), and Vice President, International Astronomical Union (IAU), Division VI (Interstellar Matter) (2009-2012), President, IAU, Commission 34 (Interstellar Matter) (2012-), and Vice President, IAU, Commission 51 (Bioastronomy) (2012-).

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