The "Now, New and Next" of Materials

Gary Lo


More than 500 local engineers attended a conference on the present and future developments in materials. Titled Materials Science and Technology in Engineering Conference - Now, New and Next (MaSTEC 2003), the Conference is organized by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE), and supported by CityU's Department of Physics and Materials Science and the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) from 15-17 January.

Mapping the development of materials science from now to 10 to 20 years in future, the gathering looked at the existing problems that should be solved through the application of available technology; the forthcoming technology that is relatively new to Hong Kong; and the likely future developments. Speakers included academics and engineers from Hong Kong, Taiwan,

Singapore, Malaysia and US, with a heavy presence by academics from CityU's Department of Physics and Materials Science, the Department of Building and Construction, and the Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management.

The conference kicked off the project titled "Materials Solutions for the Sustainable Future of Hong Kong" funded by the Professional Services Development Assistance Scheme (PSDAS) of the HKSAR Government. The government has provided a grant of HK$763,000 to support short courses, seminars, workshops and forums related to materials science for two years with an aim to enhancing Hong Kong engineers' knowledge in materials. CityU will play a major and active role in planning and coordinating the future events under the project with HKIE and HKPC.

"All industries, be it building and construction or engineering, need advanced materials for future development. But it is inadequate to just rely on the existing knowledge, there is a need to look for sustainable solutions and academics have an important role in promoting education in this area and enhancing technology transfer to the industries," said Professor Haydn Chen, Head and Chair Professor of the Department of Physics and Materials Science and Chairman of the Conference Organizing Committee.

"Materials, basically can serve all industries," said Dr Jonathan Chung, Associate Professor, in the Department of Physics and Materials Science and co-ordinator of the PSDAS-funded project. As a start off, the project launches the conference that covers a comprehensive range of industries from building services, mechanical and electrical, building and construction, manufacturing, electronics, nano technology and biomateirals, so as to arouse the interests of people from different fields. The future events will focus more on specific industries.

The conference also included a paper presentation session by the finalists of the HKIE Materials Division Best Paper Competition which is open to all students in Hong Kong on a bachelor's degree programme related to materials and engineering. A BEng Materials Engineering graduate from CityU, Mr Tam Chi-yan, is among the finalists this year.

The next in the project is the Short Course on Sputter Deposition, to be held from 20-21 January.



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