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Science

Nobel Prize winner and Chinese University presidents past and present among group organising funeral for Charles Kao, Hong Kong’s father of fibre optics

Obituary in today’s Post lists famous scientist’s funeral for Monday, with public wake on Sunday in North Point, while fellow physics prize recipient Yang Chen-ning is one of 37 on committee

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 October, 2018, 4:22pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2018, 4:39pm

Five former and serving Chinese University presidents, and a Nobel Physics Prize winner, are among the 37-strong funeral committee for Nobel laureate Professor Charles Kao Kuen, according to obituaries published in several newspapers on Tuesday.

Notices in the South China Morning Post, Sing Tao Daily and Ta Kung Pao, announced that the public wake will be from 3pm to 5pm on Sunday, on the first floor of the Hong Kong Funeral Home in North Point.

After 5pm, friends and relatives can continue to pay their respects. The funeral itself will take place at 10.30am on Monday.

Kao died on September 23, aged 84, after battling Alzheimer’s disease for more than a decade.

Known for his groundbreaking achievements involving the transmission of light in fibres for optical communication, Kao won a joint Nobel Prize in Physics in 2009, the Faraday Medal in 1989, and the Alexander Graham Bell Medal in 1985.

He also contributed extensively to Hong Kong’s higher education sector, serving both as a researcher and the third vice chancellor for Chinese University.

Charles Kao a true inspiration for Hong Kong

Kao is survived by his wife, Gwen Kao Wong May-wan, children Simon and Amanda, and three grandchildren.

The committee is chaired by CUHK vice chancellor Rocky Tuan Sung-chi, while vice-chairmen include four former CUHK presidents – Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, Lawrence Lau Juen-yee, Ambrose King Yeo-chi and Arthur Li Kwok-cheung – as well as the university’s council chairman Norman Leung Nai-pang, and Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung.

Other members include 1957 joint-Nobel Prize for Physics winner Yang Chen-ning, who is a distinguished professor-at-large at CUHK, the university’s seven vice-presidents, Polytechnic University president Timothy Tong Wai-cheung, former University of Hong Kong and City University president Cheng Yiu-chung, and Science Park chief Sunny Chai Ngai-chiu.

Hong Kong mourns passing of Nobel Prize winner

“Professor Kao’s scientific and technological contributions continue to be praised by the world for the lasting changes they have brought to communication for humankind, for bringing human beings closer together, and for significant changes to society, all of which are part of Professor Kao’s legacy to the world,” the obituary in the Post read.

The Kao family said that in lieu of flowers it would appreciate donations to CUHK’s Charles K Kao Scholarship Endowment Fund, or the Charles K Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease.