Hong Kong schools

Award-winning Hong Kong pupils eye top universities to further their scientific dreams

Students urge government to provide more money and facilities for research and development and liberalise current regulatory system

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 July, 2017, 5:09pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 July, 2017, 5:17pm

Two students involved in inventing an award-winning sanitising technology have achieved outstanding scores in Hong Kong’s public examination and are now eyeing top local universities to pursue their scientific dreams.

Simon Wong Sum-ming and Kwok Yik-wong, who invented a self-disinfecting door handle which won them local and international awards for young scientists, scored 22 and 27 respectively from their best five subjects in the Diploma of Secondary Education.

A third student, Michael Li Kin-pong, was also involved in the project. He graduated in 2015 and currently studies at the Institute of Vocational Education.

The invention uses the opening or closing of a door to power a germ-killing system on its handle.

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Wong, who had a small star named after him for winning a second-place award at the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, decided to accept an offer to study theoretical physics at Chinese University.

He dreams of working at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland, the world’s largest particle physics research centre.

“I have been doing research at the university, which feels like home,” said Wong from CCC Tam Lee Lai Fun Memorial Secondary School in Tuen Mun.

Wong said he would not easily surrender his passion for scientific research. “Hong Kong’s industrial structure and its values keep draining talent from scientific research, but I believe strong personal interest and resolution can solve many problems,” said Wong, who has won at least 16 local and overseas awards in the past five years.

Wong encouraged his juniors, especially those interested in science and technology, not to give up.

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Wong suggested that the new government led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor should provide more money and facilities for research and development and review regulations that are “too much and too tight”.

The other inventor of the technology, Kwok, who won the Roche Young Scientist Award in 2015, would like to study computer science at the University of Science and Technology or Chinese University.

Kwok, who is interested in the emerging areas of machine learning, cyber security and artificial intelligence, also called on the government to review outdated regulations.

“We should not reject new technologies only because existing laws fail to cover them,” Kwok said.

Besides, the young scientist said more science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses should be integrated into the city’s secondary education, and the government should provide more financial support.

“When we tried to do some projects, it was the school or some external sponsors that funded us, not the government,” Kwok said.