Neutron scattering expert elected AAAS Fellow

Emily Law

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Prof Wang
Professor Wang Xunli


A renowned scholar in neutron scattering at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has been elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is the only scholar elected from Hong Kong this year.

Professor Wang Xunli, Chair Professor of Physics and Head of the Department of Physics, was honoured for his distinguished contributions in neutron and synchrotron scattering studies. Professor Wang has recently achieved a breakthrough by leading a research team to solve a 40-year scientific mystery and discover a hidden amorphous phase in the formation of metallic glass.

Neutron scattering, a powerful tool for materials researchers and industries, has made substantial contributions over the years to clean energy, pharmaceuticals, nanotechnology, materials engineering, information technology and fundamental physics. Since joining CityU in 2012, Professor Wang has been instrumental in introducing this technology to scientists in Hong Kong.

“CityU is in a strong leadership position for neutron scattering in Hong Kong. We provide training to Hong Kong scientists on the use of this powerful tool through summer school and public lectures,” Professor Wang said.

With funding from the Croucher Foundation, Professor Wang established the Croucher Summer Course on Neutron Scattering in 2014. In addition, he launched the Gordon Research Conference, a high-level scientific conference series on this discipline, and was the inaugural Chair in 2015. He has also established a joint laboratory with the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Neutron Scattering.

Professor Wang has been an advisor to the China Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS) project since its conception. This facility, which is located at Dongguan in Guangdong Province and cost RMB2.2 billion to construct, is designed to provide a multidisciplinary platform for scientific research on neutron scattering and industrial development.

“CSNS produced its first neutron beam at the end of August this year. This was sensational news for both the mainland and international scientific communities. It was widely covered in news media, for example in the CCTV nightly news and in a recent article in the journal Nature. Given the proximity of CSNS and what it will provide, Hong Kong can certainly become a powerhouse in this field,” he said.

Professor Wang is currently studying the structure and dynamics of disordered materials, such as liquid and glass, and the effect of disorder on properties. He is collaborating with Dongguan University of Technology and CSNS to build a state-of-the-art total-scattering-instrument to further studies of disordered materials.

“Science is in my heart, and I will continue to do what I enjoy: discovering and sharing knowledge of science,” said Professor Wang, adding that he felt extremely honoured to receive this recognition to join the ranks of other AAAS Fellows.

Founded in 1848, AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society. It honours members with a Fellowship for their efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications, which are scientifically or socially distinguished. For the year of 2017, 396 AAAS members were elevated to the rank of Fellow. Professor Wang was elected in the physics section.


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