News and Events


2012 年 02 月 29 日
Seminar - Development of Human Flight by Prof. R. M. C. So

Date:   29 February 2012 (Wednesday)

Time:   10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Venue:  HJ305, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

The development of human flight from biblical times to 1912 is traced.  Broadly speaking, there are five stages in this development.  These are the Observation to Fundamentals period (pre-1798), the First Aircraft period (1799-1853), the Powering Up period (1854-1879), the Airmen or Chauffeurs period (1880-1898), and the Road to Kitty Hawk period (1899-1903).  The significance of each stage of development in these five periods is examined together with the break through required for a successful human flight.  The First Aviator of China also played a significant role in the development of human flight.  His overall contribution and the tragic end of China’s aviation development are discussed.

Ronald M. C. So received his BSc (Hons) from The University of Hong Kong in 1962, and was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to study at McGill University in 1964 where he received his MEng in 1966.  He went to the US and received his MA and PhD in Aerospace and Mechanical Sciences from Princeton University in 1968 and 1971, respectively.  He joined Union Camp Corporation in 1970 working on pulp and paper research, and in 1972 joined Rutgers University as a Research Assistant Professor to work on atmospheric dispersion and pollution.  He left Rutgers to join General Electric Research and Development Center (GE/R&D) in 1976 to work on research and development in propulsion and power generation.  In 1981, he left GE/R&D to become an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Arizona State University.  The following year he was promoted to Professor and remained there until 1996 when he took a two-year leave of absence to head the Mechanical Engineering Department in HK PolyU.  Since 1998, he has resigned from ASU to become Head at HK PolyU.  After retirement in 2006, he was installed as Professor Emeritus at HK PolyU.  His research led to the Publication Award in 1981 from GE/R&D, the Dugald Clerk Prize from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1991 for contributions made to combustion in IC engines, the Doctor of Science (DSc) degree in 1993 from The University of Hong Kong for original contributions in fluid dynamics and heat transfer, the Lewis F. Moody Award of ASME in 1996 for contributions made in the area of computational fluid dynamics, and the Doctor of Engineering (DEng) honoris causa degree in 2005 from Waterloo University for contributions made in fluid dynamics and mechanical engineering education.  His contributions to research, engineering education and service culminated in his induction into the Asian Academy Hall of Fame in 2006, and to his election as Fellow of the World Innovation Foundation, FAIAA, FASME, FRAeS, and FIMechE, and as Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics.  Through the years Dr. So has received funding from agencies such as NSF, NASA Langley, NASA Lewis, NASA Ames, NRL, DTMB, Naval Surface Weapons Lab, DoE, DoD, RGC of the Government of the HKSAR, and various industrial concerns such as Research Cottrell, GE Nuclear Division, GE Gas Turbine Division, GE Aircraft Engine Division, and Garrett.  His funding totaled more than US$16 millions.  Dr. So has edited 8 books, is the author/co-author of 340 refereed articles in books, journals and proceedings, and has delivered more than 220 invited talks and conference presentations.