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Talk @ My School Programme

List of Science Talks (2020-21)

Thirty-five science talks covering various science disciplines will be offered in 2020-21.  Our teachers will deliver science and admissions talks at local secondary and international schools. The science talks cover a variety of science topics, ranging from recent scientific discoveries to thematic science issues related to our daily life, which are suitable for F.4, F.5 and F.6 students and international school students of equivalent level.

 

 

Categories of science talks

Appearance and Evolution of LifeChemistry in Daily LifeDevelopments in Drugs and Medical Science
Developments in Science and TechnologyEcology, Environment and Planet EarthFood Sciences and Health
Mathematics, Statistics and Decision Making

Mysteries in Space

Science and Humanity

Understanding the Physics of Nature

  

 

 

Appearance and Evolution of Life

ST0017
Early Life on Earth

By Department of Earth Sciences
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology and Chemistry

The talk will describe recent findings on how life appeared and evolved during Earth’s early days and how tell-tale signs from some peculiar ancient rocks bear information on Earth’s early environment.

Appearance-and-Evolution-of

ST0079
The World of Dinosaurs

By Department of Earth Sciences
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology and Geography

Dinosaurs are amazing animals that are often people's favourite. But what was life like as a dinosaur? What did they eat? Where did they live? Where did they go? Let’s explore the land of dinosaurs with the help of a palaeontologist/geologist to answer these questions in a fun-packed adventure!

 

Chemistry in Daily Life

ST0145
Weighing Proteins Using Mass Spectrometry

By Department of Chemistry
Level: F.5 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Chemistry

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. Mass spectrometry is a powerful and key technology in peptide sequencing and ultimately protein identification. In this talk, the speaker will discuss the concepts of biological mass spectrometry.

 

Developments in Drugs and Medical Science

ST0004
Understanding Cancer

By School of Biomedical Sciences
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology

Cancer is a genetic disease caused by alterations in oncogenes and other related genes. This talk will first introduce the ground-breaking discovery of oncogenes that was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1989. How a normal gene might become an oncogene through mutations and the mechanisms will be introduced. Examples will be given to illustrate how our understanding of the function of oncogenes leads to a revolution in the design and development of highly specific and effective anti-cancer drugs that target oncogenes.

superbug

 

ST0142
Superbugs: What Doesn't Kill Them Makes Them Stronger

By School of Biological Sciences
Level: F.5 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology and Chemistry

According to the WHO, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has emerged as one of the major challenges to health care in the 21st century. Without effective antibiotics, not only previously curable infectious infectious, but also many other medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes management and major surgery become compromised. Worsening of the situation is significant slow down of new development and literally no new chemical classes of antibiotics have appeared in the last 40 years.

In this talk, a comprehensive review of the origin of AMR and new, out-of-the-box solutions from the frontiers of AMR research will be  presented with a hope of raising the public awareness of wise-use and protection of the existing antibiotics pipelines and offering scientific  literacy on this topic.

ST0150
Understanding COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2

By School of Biomedical Sciences
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology

The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is still ongoing. In this talk, Professor DY JIN will give a brief introduction to the science of COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2. The talk will cover all important areas including the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the life cycle of the virus, the COVID-19 disease, diagnosis, treatment and vaccine development. Particularly, he will explain how HKU scientists made a difference in the fight against COVID-19. He will also provide an answer to many key questions such as whether SARS-CoV-2 is man-made, what herd immunity is and when vaccines might be available.

 

Developments in Science and Technology

solar-cell

ST0002
Can Fantasy Become Reality?

By School of Biomedical Sciences
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology

In this talk, four stories in biomedical research will be used to illustrate how fantasy can become reality. The first two stories will be centered on Nobel Prize winning discoveries: the isolation of GFP as tracer of proteins, and the invention of PCR as a powerful diagnostic tool. The third and fourth stories will focus more on the near future. The speaker will discuss how studies of bacterial enzymes found in termites and cow rumen may revolutionise the development of biofuels, and how reprogramming of somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells may advance regenerative medicine.

ST0147
Bacteria Extracellular Electron Transfer for a Sustainable and Renewable World 

By Faculty of Science
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology, Chemistry and Physics

Microorganisms such as bacteria depend on a continuous electron flow process for the formation of electrochemical gradients in the cells to sustain key cellular processes. To gain energy and survive, bacteria needs to obtain electrons by oxidizing organic/inorganic compounds (called electron donors) and discard the respiratory electrons to a terminal electron acceptor such as oxygen. Some bacteria have remarkable abilities to transfer electrons, outside of the cells, to solid-state electron acceptors such as oxide minerals and synthetic electrodes. In this talk, the speaker will introduce the physics and chemistry of this amazing extracellular electron transfer (EET) process of some capable bacteria and discuss the associated practical applications such as electricity generation, wastewater treatment and bioremediation, potentially for a sustainable and renewable world.

ST0160
How may Artificial Intelligence Change our Society?

By Faculty of Science
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Economics and Liberal Studies

Artificial Intelligence is no longer a postulate about the future, but is already bringing noticeable impacts to our current society. Will the AI revolution lead to a reform in our economy? Is it simply another Industrial Revolution? We will address these questions in the talk. 

 

 

Ecology, Environment and Planet Earth

earthquake

ST0018
Earthquakes and Tsunamis

By Department of Earth Sciences
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Geography, Physics and Liberal Studies

Why are there earthquakes and tsunamis? How are they measured? Are there earthquakes and tsunamis in Hong Kong? Can they be predicted? This talk will use recent earthquake and tsunami case studies to address these questions.

ST0110
Noise Annoys: Understanding the Effects of Noise Pollution on Human and non-Human City Dwellers

By Department of Earth Sciences
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology and Geography

Cities are noisy environments, and this noise pollution has negative effects on all residents of a city, including humans. In this talk, we will explore the greatest contributions to noise pollution in cities, the unique auditory environment that exists in modern cityscapes, and learn how this noise affects both humans and wildlife within the city boundaries.

ST0111
The Anthropocene: Are We Causing the 6th Mass Extinction Event?

By Department of Earth Sciences
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology, Geography and Liberal Studies

As the human population grows, our increasing need for resources leads to a major impact on the environment. In this talk, students will learn about how human activities are changing the processes and cycles of life on Earth and what effects these changes are having upon the Earth.

We will look specifically at the causes of the previous five mass extinction events and discuss whether human activities are causing animals to go extinct at equal rates, potentially leading to the 6th mass extinction event.

ST0112
Darwin in the City: Understanding Evolution in an Urban World

By Department of Earth Sciences
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology and Geography

We live in an increasingly urbanised world —— more than half of the human population now lives in cities. This talk will discuss how new urban environments change the evolution of urban-dwelling species, from plants to birds to humans. For example, we will discuss why mammals are often bigger in cities, why birds are becoming more and more active at night, and why cities are becoming more and more similar in terms of the species found in them.

ST0119
Scientific Health Risk Assessment of Persistent Organic Pollutants at Intensive Electronic Waste Recycling Sites

By School of Biological Sciences
Level: F.5 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology, Chemistry and Liberal Studies

Electronic waste has become one of the emerging environmental issues to be tackled worldwide. Approximately 54 million tonnes of e-waste were produced in 2012. Despite increasingly strict international regulations and control programmes, a substantial part of e-waste generated in consumer societies is exported to developing countries, where it is often recycled through environmentally harmful methods or dumped in unprotected areas, causing severe environmental and health damage accompanied by a range of socio-cultural problems. In this talk, students will be able to learn the basic principles of conducting scientific health risk assessment of persistent organic pollutants, local and global issues of e-waste and the adverse impacts of primitive e-waste recycling in developing countries.

panda

ST0157
Revisiting Photosynthesis and Chloroplast Bioenergetics

By School of Biological Sciences
Level: F.5 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology

Photosynthesis is the major energy harvesting process on this planet. The photosystems converts light energy into chemical energy, which is stored in high-energy molecules like adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH). By employing fluorescence protein sensors, we are the first to observe dynamic changes of these two molecules in live plants and solved a few important scientific questions in photosynthesis. In this talk, I will share with you our voyage of discovery.

ST0162
The Earth is Round

By Faculty of Science
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Physics

From an early age, we all learn that the Earth is round. How do we know this is true? Why do some think that the Earth is flat? In Ancient Greece, astronomers not only knew that the Earth was round, but were able to make accurate predictions of its size. Yet, in the middle ages of Europe, many insisted it was flat. Even today some popular musicians and athletes maintain that the Earth is flat. This talk will explore what evidence we can find in our daily lives that convinces us that the Earth is round.

 

Food Sciences and Health

foodST0148
Science of Food and Nutrition: What and Why do we Eat?

By School of Biological Sciences
Level: F.5 & F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology, Chemistry and Geography

Why do we need to eat certain food? Is it safe to eat? How can we sustain and secure the food we eat? Recommendations in human nutrition can no longer make be focused on a single part of a human diet; to be most effective, one needs to understand the links among food, nutrients, and human health. Nutrition is defined as the 'Science of food, the nutrients and other substances therein, their action, interaction, and balance in relation to health and disease and the processes by which the organism ingests, digests, absorbs, transports, utilizes and excretes food substances.' The understanding of nutritional science began from macro-nutrients and the physiology of energy, to the current discovery of essential nutrients -- the vitamin and minerals and the emergence of functional foods. In this talk, the speaker will discuss some of the current issues in nutrition and health sciences.

 

Mathematics, Statistics and Decision Making

ST0039
Interesting Things about Interest Rates

By Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Level: F.5 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Mathematics

This talk will introduce some basic concepts and characteristics about the operation of interest rates. The speaker will also briefly look into the relationships between interest rates and other economic variables.

ST0101
Misuses of Statistics

By Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Mathematics

Statistics is used everywhere in our daily lives, from research reports and scientific articles to newspaper reports and magazines. Unfortunately, the misuse of statistics, either accidentally or purposely, is very common. This talk will discuss some real life examples on how statistics are misused, and how not to commit and not be misled by these misuses.

ST0140
Calculus! Why should We Care?

By Faculty of Science
Level: F.5 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Mathematics

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. Though we will refer to some math concepts, prior understanding beyond secondary school mathematics will not be required.

ST0151
Machine Learning

By Department of Mathematics
Level: F.4
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Mathematics

The talk will introduce what Machine Learning is and how to implement a simple programme to teach a computer recognizing your own commands. The definition of Machine Learning will first be introduced, then the speaker will present three important applications:

1. Self-driving technology 
2. Master the Game of Go 
3. Face detection

A small program designed by the speaker will be used to demonstrate how to control the fan and lamp in the room by commands - present as many examples as possible to turn on/off the fan/lamp; the computer learns our commands from our examples and write a very short code to check its performance. 

ST0152
How Mathematics Improves the Quality of our Life

By Department of Mathematics
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Mathematics

In this talk, I will briefly introduce how are mathematics related to everyday life and how are them related to science and technology. Specifically, I will introduce the applications of mathematics in financial markets, medical technology (such as CT and MRI), image process, weather prediction, Internet search engine, global positioning system (GPS), deep learning and so on. The presentation aims to motivate secondary school students appreciate mathematics and increase their interests in learning mathematics. 

ST0153
What the Man who Knew Infinity Knew

By Department of Mathematics
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Mathematics

You may have seen the recent movie "The man who knew infinity" about the Indian mathematician Ramanujan (and his interactions with G.H. Hardy and Littlewood, among others). In this talk, we'll introduce some of what Ramanujan studied and discuss a bit about his impact on the mathematical world since that time. 

ST0154
Statistics in Mahjong

By Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Level: F.5 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Mathematics

Mahjong has long been a popular board game among Asian culture. Different people have developed their own strategies in terms of winning the game based on experience. This talk will explore how statistical tools could be useful for a more subjective analysis. 

ST0155
Role of Statistics in Health Sciences

By Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Mathematics

Statistics plays a crucial role in the health sciences, including epidemiology, publuc health, medicine, and clinical research. This talk will be about how statistical methods are applied in health sciences and used to solve real-world problems. 

ST0156
Statistics for Data Science

By Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Mathematics

Have you even think about what your fans like you in Instagram? Or do you want to become popular YouTuber? Using statistics for data science can tell you the answer. Statistics is a key part of data science. It uses statistical methods, such as permutation and combination, graphics, vectors, etc., to extract knowledge and insights from many structural and unstructured data. How? Join Dr Adela LAU to learn statistics today! 

ST0161
The Mathematics of Voting 

By Faculty of Science
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Mathematics

Often in our lives, we require some way to make decisions as a group even when the preferences of those in the group may not align. From a group of friends deciding in which restaurant to dine to nations electing their leaders, voting systems allow us to move from individual preferences to a social choice. It is often desirable that whatever voting system we use be fair. This talk will explore what we mean by fair and examine whether popular voting systems fulfill those requirements.

 

Mysteries in Space

space

ST0015
Are We Alone: The Search for Planets around Other Stars

Jointly offered by Department of Earth Sciences & Department of Physics
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology and Physics 

Are we alone in the Universe? Scientists have made the first step in answering this question by finding planets outside our Solar System. How do they find these planets? Are these planets different from those in our Solar System? What are the prospects for finding planets suitable for life and signs of life?

ST0037
The Sun: Our Nearest Star

By Department of Physics
Level: F.5 - F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Physics

This talk will introduce the properties of and recent observational results regarding the Sun – our nearest star. The focus is on how astronomers find them out rather than simply a talk on "known facts".

ST0137
Cosmic Fireworks

By Department of Physics
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Physics

Have you ever wondered where do elements on Earth come from? The heavy metals, including gold, iron, and even calcium in our bones are indeed star dusts released in supernova explosions when massive stars die. This talk introduces these most energetic events in the Universe, which do not only produce heavy elements, but also trigger new stellar formation, and could even have played an important role in the origin of life on Earth.

ST0158
The Violent Universe

By Faculty of Science
Level: F.5 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Physics

When we look up to the night sky, we think that the Universe is clam. But isn’t it? It’s far from the truth! The are in fact many kinds of astrophysical objects in the Universe, some of them emit deadly radiations like X-rays and Gamma-rays. The talk will cover the discovery and physics of various interesting astrophysical objects, e.g., pulsars, black holes, gamma-ray bursts, and the recently hot research topic of fast radio bursts. And many more. Are you ready to look at the Universe in a different perspective?

ST0163
The Many Uses of Pulsars

By Department of Physics
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Physics

Pulsars (rapidly spinning neutron stars) are among the most fascinating objects in astrophysics. Their high densities, strong magnetic fields, and rapid spin periods, as well as their abundant numbers throughout the Galaxy, make them ideal tools or "laboratories" with which to study a broad range of topics in astrophysics. In this talk i will give an overview of the various uses of pulsars, and focus particularly on their application to the study of gravity.

 

Science and Humanity

ST0159
The Forgotten Member of the Science Trinity

By Faculty of Science
Level: F.4
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Biology, Chemistry and Physics

Three domains of science that are critical to developing scientific literacy have been identified. Of the three, science as body of knowledge, is the most familiar and includes scientific facts, concepts, theories, etc. Scientific methods and processes comprise the second and describe the variety of methods that scientists use to generate knowledge. The third and often neglected aspect, the nature of science (NOS), seeks to describe the nature of the scientific enterprise, and the characteristics of the knowledge it generates. This talk will use simple demonstrations to introduce and strengthen students’ understanding of NOS.

 

Understanding the Physics of Nature

ST0134
The Four Nobel Prizes Associated with Neutrinos and Beyond

By Department of Physics
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Physics

Neutrinos are produced by rare nuclear processes such as the beta decay. These particles are very hard to study because they are electrically neutral, almost massless and interact very weakly with all matters. This talk summarises how physicists study the properties of neutrinos in the past 60 years so on by building larger and larger detectors, resulting in four Nobel Prize works so far –– and probably a few more to come! The speaker will also highlight Hong Kong's contribution in some of the recent neutrino physics experiments.

ST0135
The World of Particles

By Department of Physics
Level: F.4 – F.6
HKDSE Related Subject(s): Physics

Particle physics aims at addressing the most fundamental questions in the universe. It is a worldwide frontier in physics. With the startup of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN lab in 2009, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, particle physics enters a new phase—the LHC era. Since then, great progress has been achieved. For example, the Higgs particle, was discovered at the LHC in 2012, about half a century after its existence was predicted by theorists. This progress marks a triumph of collaboration between theoretical and experimental particle physicists, and has been named 2012's "Breakthrough of the Year" by science. This talk will introduce how this discovery is made and why it is so important for us to have a deeper understanding of universe.