A big world in a small droplet

Michael Gibb

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Professor Wang gives a talk titled “A big world in a small droplet” at the President’s Lecture.
Professor Wang gives a talk titled “A big world in a small droplet” at the President’s Lecture.

 

Droplets hold great promise for generating new sources of much-needed energy, according to Professor Wang Zuankai of City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

Speaking at the latest instalment of the President’s Lecture Series: Excellence in Academia, Professor Wang discussed the potential of droplets for sustainable energy.

Titled “A big world in a small droplet”, the talk by Professor Wang, who is concurrently Associate Dean (Internationalisation and Industry Engagement) in the College of Engineering and Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, demonstrated that droplets can make the world a better place. 

A number of participants from different parts of the world asked questions during the Q&A session. Professor Kuo Tei-wei, Dean of the College of Engineering and the moderator, is pictured left.
A number of participants from different parts of the world asked questions during the Q&A session. Professor Kuo Tei-wei, Dean of the College of Engineering and the moderator, is pictured left.

 

Although droplets are ordinary and small, their power and impact can be large and far-reaching. Thus they can be used to solve the great challenges facing us today, such as the water and energy crisis.

“Harvesting water energy can help solve the global problem of renewable energy shortage,” said Professor Wang, who since joining CityU has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, Science and their sister journals. 

Among the insights in his talk was how we can learn from nature about collecting water, noting how certain beetles in the desert have adapted to their environment by developing unique techniques for accessing vital water supplies.

Summing up his lecture, Professor Wang said: “From a scientific point of view, my work is about the development of new disruptive technologies that open up the applications beyond our conventional thinking,” he said.

“Not only that, I feel to some extent that life is like a droplet: soft but resilient!” he added.

The lecture was held online amid concerns over the pandemic. During the Q&A, questions were submitted from as far afield as India and the US as well as from Hong Kong.

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