Introduction

Timeline of Big Events

    - The evolution of the Department of Physics in The University of Hong Kong

 


First Phase

1910
On March 16, Frederick Lugard, Governer, laid the foundation stone of the Main Building.The laying of foundation stone ceremony
1911
The University of Hong Kong incorporated by ordinance.
1912
A Lecturer in Physics, Matthewman, T.H.1 was appointed as one of the only 2 full-time member of teaching staff by the University in its first year.
1914
Warren, Arthur George2 became the first Head of Department.
1920
Florance, David C.H.3 took over the Headship in February.
1922
Einstein, Albert visited Hong Kong. The grandchirdren of Florance indicated that Florance had met him and taken photos with him.
1923
Sun, Yat Sen visited the University on Feburary 20.
Sun Yat Sen's historic visit to HKU


Second Phase

1924
Faid, William4 came to be the Professor and Head of Department as Florance's successor.
1931
Faid became Dean of Arts for 1 year.
1939
The birth of Science Faculty. The Department, then consisted of a Professor, Faid, a Lecturer, Davies, D.F.5, and 3 Demonstrators, Un, Po6, Hui, Pak Mi7 and a new appointee, Yue, Shu Chiu8 joined it. 
1940
Founding of the Science Society.
1941
The Department moved from the west wing of the Main Building to the Northcote Science Building.Northcote Science Building


War Time

At the outbreak of fighting, the University became the University Relief Hospital and Faid was its Lay Superintendent. He and his wife were interned in Stanley Camp, where he died, in July 1944, having fractured his skull after falling from a roof. He is still remembered by the "William Faid Memorial Prize in Physics" awarded annually to the student passing at first attempt the Final B.Sc. examination obtaining the best result in Physics.
 
Davies was part of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and so, as a combatant, became a prisoner of war. He escaped, however, from Shamshuipo Prisoner of War Camp and made his way in the company of the Professor of Physiology Lindsay Ride - the first postwar Vice Chancellor - into China and on to India where he spent most of the war.
 
Un, very early, moved into China and was Associate Professor of Civil Engineering in the National Sun Yat Sen University, at the time in exile in northern Guangdong, moving with them to Guangzhou when the War ended in 1945.
 
Hui escaped to Macau, where he stayed, with his family, but without a job, until the end of the war.


Third Phase

1946
The University reopened. Davies, Hui and Un returned.
The first member of staff to hold a doctorate degree, Cook, E.O.9 came.
1947
Davies became the Professor and Head of Department.
1948
Davies became the Dean of Science until 1952.
1952
Un was appointed as Head of Department in May and Davies was encouraged to leave the University.
1953
Hui and Un were promoted to Lecturer, and between them managed the Department for the 2 years that the Chair was vacant.
1954
Parsons, R W10 came to be the Chair.
1957
The first refereed publication with the departmental byline was a paper in conjunction with Parsons publishing in the Journal of Scientific Instruments.
1958
The first graduates receiving a B.Sc. Honours degree in Physics were Chik, Kin Pong11 and Kwan, Sik Hong12.
1959
Un died in early 1959. Parsons left and the Department was under the acting headship of Hui.
1961
Chesterman, William Deryck13 came to be the Professor and Head of Department in January.
4 students first graduated with the Special Honours degree, 2 of them were Ng, Leung Kai14 and Yu, Miu Robert15.
1963
Chesterman became the Dean of Science until 1966.
1965
The first Masters degrees for work done in the Department were awarded simultaneously to Ng and Lee, Hinglun Alan16.
1966
The first Ph.D. from the Department was awarded to Chan, Yin Lui17.
1967
Following Chesterman's departure, Hui was in charge of the Department again, for a period of 6 months until the new Chair, Lyon, Arthur James18, arrived in January.
Hui retired.


Modern Era

1973
The Department moved from the ground floor and basement of the Northcote Science Building on Pokfulam Road to the first and second floors of the Knowles Building.
Knowles Building
Faculty-wide reform of the curriculum was mandated. The General and Special degrees were then replaced with the single, so called unit degree, an honours degree spread over three years.
1976
First international Physics conference in Hong Kong. Largely sponsored by the Department, it was entitled the "Asian Cosmic Ray Symposium on Secondary Cosmic Rays". Among the 32 participants were delegates from India, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.
1979
Lyon retired in 1977. Walker, George Oulton19 acted as Head of Department until the arrival of the new professor, Newman, Douglas John20 in January..
1984
The 7th International Symposium on Equatorial Aeronomy, attracting over 70 participants from ten countries was organized by the ionospheric group.
1985
Reid, M F21 came. Reid was of a new generation, fully at home in the modern 'computer culture' and, aided by the technician Yip Kin Hang, did much to bring the Department into the cyber age.
1990
Newman left a year ahead of retirement in 1989. Fung, Peter Chin Wan22 acted as Head of Department during the period between Newman's departure and the appointment of a new chair professor in April, Chau, Wai Yin23.
1993
Cheng, Kwong Sang
received the National Natural Science Award. Cheng, Kwong Sang received the National Natural Science Award
1994
The Department moved from the Knowles Building to a new purposely built Physics building, the Chong Yuet Ming Physics Building - although for several years some floors had to be shared with Earth Sciences and Zoology.
Chong Yuet Ming Physics Building
Chau retured to Canada in 1992. Fung, Peter took over as Head until a new Chair, Tong, David Suk Yin was appointed.
1995
Wang, Zi Dan
received the National Natural Science Award.
Wang, Zi Dan recieved the National Natural Science Award
1996
The "Surface Science: Critical Review and Outlook" conference was held here in June.
The 21st Century Chinese Astronomy Conference was held here in August.
The much coveted Doctor of Science degree has been conferred by the University of Oxford on Fung, Steve.
1997
Tong, David
received the Croucher Senior Research Fellowship of 1997/1998.
1999
1999 Pacific Rim Conference on Stellar Astrophysics was held here in August.
A visit by Prof. Daniel Chee Tsui (1998 Nobel Laureate in Physics) in December. Prof. Daniel Tsui visited us
Wang, Jian
was a co-winner of the 1999 Achievement in Asia Award (AAA) of the Overseas Chinese Physics Association.
Cheng, K.S.
received the Croucher Senior Research Fellowship of 2000/2001.
2000
A public talk delivered by Sir Roger Penrose in April.
Sir Penrose's talk
The 26th IUVSTA Workshop on Surface Holography and Other Direct Methods was held here in August.
Cheng, K.S.
became the Head of Department.
Cheng, K.S.
received the Outstanding Researcher Award of the University of Hong Kong.
Chau, Hoi Fung
received the Outstanding Young Researcher Award of the University of Hong Kong.
2001
Our student group winned the third class prize in The 7th Challenge Cup Competition, Xian, China (2001).
Tong, David
was elected as Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Fellow of the American Physical Society.
2002
The Second Vacuum & Surface Sciences Conference of Asia and Australia was held here in August.
The Workshop of the Theoretical Astrophysics Consortium was held here in December.
Wang, Z.D.
received the Outstanding Researcher Award of the University of Hong Kong.
2003
We sponsored The 8th Annual Conference of the Physical Society of Hong Kong and it was held here in June.
The first formal workshop on Particle Physics in Hong Kong was held here in November.
2004
The Second Workshop on the Nature of the High-Energy UnidS: The Multiwavelength Approach To Unidentified Gamma-ray Sources was held here in June.

The Multiwavelength Approach To Unidentified Gamma-ray Sources

In the same month, together with the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, we jointly organized the 2nd Asia-Pacific Physics Workshop - Frontier in Condensed Matter Physics.2nd Asia-Pacific Physics Workshop
2005
Zhang, Fu Chun
becomes the Head of Department.
Croucher Advanced Study Institute on Science & Applications of Spin Electronics Workshop was held here in August.
Croucher Advanced Study Institute on Science & Applications of Spin Electronics
Students are invited to meet the 1985 Nobel Laureate, Prof. Klaus von Klitzing on August 19.Meeting with Prof. Klitzing
Miniworkshop on Strongly Correlated Electron Systems was held here in November.Miniworkshop on Strongly Correlated Electron Systems
Zhang, F.C.
received the Distinguished Research Achievement Award of the University of Hong Kong.Distinguished Research Achievement Award 2005
2006
Djurisic, A.B.
received the Outstanding Young Research Awards of the University of Hong Kong.
Mini-Course: Introduction to Quantum Many-body Theory - from the origin of phonons to an origin of photons --by Prof. X.G. Wen (MIT) jointly organized by HKU, HKUST and PSHK was held in January.
The Miniworkshop on Quantum Phase Transition and Spintronics by Prof. X.G. Wen (MIT) jointly organized by HKU, HKUST and PSHK was held here in July.
Prof. X.G. Wen's miniworkshop in July 2006
Cheng, K.S.
was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (Division of Astrophysics).
International Workshop on Computational Methods for Nanoscale Systems was held here in December.International Workshop on Computational Methods for Nanoscale Systems in December 2006
Hong Kong Forum of Physics: Frontiers in Condensed Matter jointly organized by HKU and HKUST was held here in December.
Hong Kong Forum of Condensed Matter Physics: Past, Present and Future in December 2006
2007
Wang, Z.D.
. received the Croucher Senior Research Fellowship of 2007. Wang, Z.D. received the Croucher Senior Research Fellowship of 2007
The Daya Bay Collaboration Meeting was held here in January.Daya Bay Collaboration Meeting, Jan 2007
2008
IAU Symposium was held in February.
Overseas Chinese Physics Association (OCPA) Workshop on Underground Science was held in July.
Hong Kong Forum of Physics 2008 - Quantum Matters and Quantum Simulations was held in December.
2009
Zhang, F.C.
, as the project coordinator, was awarded with the Area of Excellence Project funded by the UGC.
Wang, J.
received Croucher Senior Research Fellowship 2009 and Outstanding Researcher Awards of the University of Hong Kong.
Wang, J. received Croucher Senior Research Fellowship 2009 Wang, J. received Croucher Senior Research Fellowship 2009
Zhang, F.C.
. chaired 2009 Gordon Research Conference on Superconductivity held in June 2009 in HKUST.
A workshop titled “Novel Topological States in Condensed Matter Physics” was held in June.
Student Workshop entitled "Monte Carlo Methods -- An Introduction" (9-10 July, 2009) was held in July.
The 3rd International Workshop on Solid-State Quantum Computing & the Hong Kong Forum on Quantum Control was held in December.
2010
Shen, S.Q.
received Croucher Senior Research Fellowship 2010. Shen, S.Q. received Croucher Senior Research Fellowship 2010
Cui X.D.
received the Outstanding Young Research Awards of the University of Hong Kong.
A mini-workshop on "Gamma-ray Sky from Fermi: Neutron Stars and their Environment" was held in June, 2010.
Workshop on Simulation and Modelling of Emerging Electronics 2010 was held in December, 2010.
Hong Kong Forum of Physics 2010: Novel Quantum States and Methods was held in December, 2010. 


In Memoriam: Prof. Christopher Beling (1955-2010), valued colleague and friend of the Physics Department of HKU. He made many great contributions to the department and helped it move forward in numerous ways. His work here will not soon be forgotten.

In Memoriam: Prof. Christopher Beling (1955-2010), valued colleague and friend of the Physics Department of HKU. He made many great contributions to the department and helped it move forward in numerous ways. His work here will not soon be forgotten.
 

2011
Zhang, F.C.
was being chosen as the incumbent of the Zhou Guang-Zhao Professorship in Natural Sciences. Zhang, F.C. was being chosen as the incumbent of the Zhou Guang-Zhao Professorship in Natural Sciences.
(from left) Dr. K.K. Chung, Mrs Laura Cha, Mrs K.K. Chung, Prof. G.Z. Zhou, Prof. F.C. Zhang, Prof. L.C. Tsui, Mrs C. Tse

2012
Prof. P.K. MacKeown's book, "Early China Coast Meteorology: The Role of Hong Kong" has been chosen by the Atmospheric Science Librarians International (ASLI) as "2011 ASLI Choice" - History award for its account of the scientists and science that comprise the history and accomplishments of the Hong Kong Observatory.



Reference:

An Anecdotal History of the Department by Prof. P.K. MacKeown

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Last updated on 26 January 2016