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Junior Science Institute (JSI)

JSI Workshops offered in 2020-21


Online JSI workshops offered in 1st Semester (Nov 14, 2020, Sat)

Online JSI workshops offered in 2nd semester (Mar 13, 2021, Sat)

Online JSI workshops offered in summer semester (July 10, 2021, Sat)


Artificial Intelligence        Biological Sciences        Chemistry        Earth Sciences
       Mathematics        Physics        Statistics and Actuarial Science        

Artificial Intelligence

Can Artificial Intelligence be creative? 

Teacher: Dr Rachel LUI, Faculty of Science
Level: F.4 - F.6

Machines can simulate human intelligence, think like human as well as mimic their actions. Can machines be creative? In this workshop, we will investigate whether machines can engage in creative activities through painting a picture and composing a song using Artificial Intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence Chatbots 

Teacher: Dr Rachel LUI, Faculty of Science
Level: F.4 - F.6

Conversational Artificial Intelligence enables machines to understand human voice or text input in a natural way. In this workshop, we will create our own Turing Test and examine it with an AI Chatbot.


Biological Sciences


 Molecular Analysis of Genetically Modified (GM) Plants

 Teacher: Dr Clive LO, School of Biological Sciences
 Level: F.4 - F.6

 Genetically modified (GM) plants are successful examples of agricultural biotechnology. In this workshop, students will learn the concepts of GM plant production and debate their benefits and risks based on scientific arguments. They will also gain hands-on experience on the use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect gene modifications in plant materials.

Evaluate your Meat

Teacher: Dr Jetty LEE & Dr Thomas Lam, School of Biological Sciences
Level: F.4 - F.5

How do you decide which package of meat and meat products to buy in a supermarket? You probably use your senses to determine the quality of meat. Attributes of meat quality include colour, juiciness, texture and flavour. In this workshop, students will learn how to apply instrumental analysis to assess the quality of meat through colour and texture. Students also will learn to compare how ‘real’ sausage differ in quality from commercial ones by making the sausage and evaluating the flavour, texture and colour.


Check your Health

Teacher: Dr Lu ZHANG, School of Biological Sciences
Level: F.4

Are you healthy or not? A balanced diet and exercise are important combination for a healthy body. With the increase of western diet such as burgers, pizzas and a variety of fast food, the health status of youth is declining and becoming a global problem. In this workshop, students will learn the use of simple physiological assessments to identify their health status. Students can self-check if they have healthy hearts or strong bones. From these measurements, students will learn to interpret and improve their health status.

To See DNA Crossing and Exchanging

Teacher: Dr Gary CHAN, School of Biological Sciences
Level: F.5

Sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) is the reciprocal exchange of genetic material between two identical sister chromatids. SCEs are produced when cells repair DNA damage. The frequency of SCE is highly elevated in cancer cells and cells derived from individuals with Bloom syndrome. In this workshop, students will conduct experiment to detect SCE in normal and Bloom syndrome cell lines.




 What's the "Matter"?

 Teacher: Dr Edmond LEUNG, Faculty of Science
 Level: F.4 - F.5

Everything has to be made of some matter. Why is a particular matter or material used to make something functional? Why do different types of materials behave differently? In this workshop, students will explore the multidisciplinary field of materials science. Through hands-on activities, students will learn more about the structure-property relationships of materials and scientific methods to characterise materials.

Weighing Proteins Using Mass Spectrometry

Teacher: Dr Ivan Chu, Department of Chemistry
Level: F.6

The explosive growth of protemics parallels the advent of innovative techniques, such as electrospray ionisation (ESI) and matrix-assisted laser desorption / ionisation (MALDI) in mass spectrometry, culminating in the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry being awarded to Professor John fenn and Mr Koichi Tanaka. In this workshop, the concepts of biological mass spectrometry in peptide sequencing and ultimately protein identification will be discussed.

 Science, Technology and Humans

 Teacher: Dr Geogre AKOM, Faculty of Science
 Level: F.4 - F.5

Understanding science is relevant not only to those pursuing careers in science fields because it enables us to understand how the natural world is organized, how it changes and how it interacts with the human-designed world. 

In this activity, we will examine a common compound (chemical) and try to understand how the science behind a reaction (behaviour) of this compound can be applied to affect our lives in a dramatic way.

RNA isolation from mammalian cells

 Teacher: Dr Ying LI, Department of Chemistry
 Level: F.5 - F.6

RNA is involved in many aspects of cellular functions and has become one of the rising targets for disease treatment. To assistant downstream analysis, being able to isolate RNA from cells of interest is the crucial first step. This workshop will help the students to know more about RNA and achieve a vivid impression about RNA isolation and basic characterization.

Chirality: origin, amplification, and application

 Teacher: Dr Zhongxing HUANG, Department of Chemistry
 Level: F.5 - F.6

While your left and right hands are of mirror image to each other, natural amino acids and sugars, two classes of building blocks that make up life, are exclusively left-handed and right-handed, respectively. This workshop will guide you through possible origins of this phenomenon in the universe and its significance in modern industries.


Earth Sciences


Geological Heritage of Hong Kong

Teacher: Dr Haz CHEUNG, Department of Earth Sciences
Level: F.4 - F.6

Although Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated and busy cities in the world, almost 70% is covered by unspoilt countryside, consisting of stunning landscapes of jagged mountains, rugged rock forms, vastness coastlines, and many different specular landscapes. In this JSI talk, students will learn through virtual field trips via Zoom about the geology and landscape of Hong Kong.

Remarks: Virtual field trip will be conducted via Zoom.



Calculus: Why Should We Care?

Teacher: Dr Alex SHUM, Faculty of Science
Level: F.5 - F.6

Calculus is a subject that many students have to take (and dread!) in secondary school, but why we learn it is rarely ever discussed. From radio waves to modelling how diseases spread, calculus has significantly affected scientific understanding and applications throughout our recent history. We’ll take a look at understanding some calculus concepts from a basic level and discuss why it has been crucial in the development of humankind.

Remarks: Students without prior calculus knowledge can also join the workshop


Probability in Daily Life

Teacher: Dr Haiyu ZHANG, Department of Mathematics
Level: F.4 - F.6

Probability plays an important role in our daily life. You may think that you will not perform probability problems, but actually you use probability to make decision nearly every day- to plan around the weather. In this workshop, we will discuss several interesting probability problems in our daily life.


Groups and Symmetry

Teacher: Dr Yat Ming CHAN, Department of Mathematics
Level: F.4 - F.6

The workshop is designed to introduce students to the concept of a group through the study of the mathematics behind the idea of symmetry and rearrangement of objects. Hands-on activities and interactive session will be arranged as a means to facilitate the understanding of the mathematical concepts.


Proof of the Four-Color Conjecture

Teacher: Professor Wenan ZANG, Department of Mathematics
Level: F.4 - F.6

The famous four-color conjecture made by Guthrie in 1852 states that every plane map can be colored using four colors so that no two adjacent regions have the same color. In this talk we shall give you a brief introduction to  his conjecture and a computer-assisted proof obtained by Appel and Haken in 1976.

Unlocking the Mathematical Key to Cryptography

Teacher: Dr Benjamin KANE, Department of Mathematics
Level: F.4 - F.6

In this workshop, we will learn some knowledge about the mathematical background behind sending secret messages. What is a one-way function? How can it be easy to send a scrambled message but hard to read it? We will learn a bit about "clock arithmetic" and something called "elliptic curves". There will be demonstrations on how to use these to encode messages. 



Faculty of Science

Magnetism and Motion

Teacher: Dr Timothy WOTHERSPOON, Faculty of Science
Level: F.4 - F.6

This workshop will explore uses of magnets around us from simple motors in our household appliances to maglev trains and roller coaster launch systems. Topics include magnetic attraction and repulsion, electromagnets, magnetic induction, motional EMF, and the Hall effect. 

Nuclear Physics — Fundamental to Applied Science

Teachers: Dr Yanjun TU, Department of Physics
Level: F.4 - F.6

This workshop aims at introducing the pleasure of nuclear and high energy physics from fundamental science (origin of elements in universe) to practical application (environmental radiation detection).

The Wonderful World of the Quantum

Teacher: Dr Shizhong ZHANG, Department of Physics
Level: F.4 - F.6

This workshop will showcase a few extraordinary macroscopic phenomena of quantum origin, in particular the effects associated with superfluidity and superconductivity.

How does an Astronomical Telescope Work?

Teacher: Dr David YU, Faculty of Science
Level: F.4 - F.6

Have you ever wondered how did astronomers discover various astrophysical objects on the sky using a telescope? In this workshop, we will explore the physical principles behind a small astronomical telescope. Demonstration of assembling a 2-inch telescope for solar observation if weather permits.

The Two-sphere Model of the Universe

Teacher: Dr Timothy WOTHERSPOON, Faculty of Science
Level: F.4 - F.6

Early astronomers imagined the Earth as the unmoving, fixed center of the Universe. This may seem silly to modern people, but the long-standing popularity of this model is due to its tremendous success despite its simplicity. We will use a smartphone app simulating the Armillary Sphere, a practical device based on the two-sphere model to explore its usefulness.


Statistics and Actuarial Science


Probabilities and Statistics in Daily Life

Teacher: Dr Wentao LI, Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Level: F.4 - F.6

This workshop will introduce and explain some basic concepts of probability and statistics and their applications using some simple interesting examples. Examples are:

  1. How to choose the “best” boyfriend or girlfriend?
  2. Is there any sure-win strategy in the finance world?
  3. How to prove the existence of God indirectly with probability and statistics?
  4. Do you believe in fate? Can your fate be predicted by palm-reading or facial reading?

The workshop will be with illustrated through some experiments and games.