Junior scientists win PolyU space experiment competition Winning team will receive guidance from PolyU Research Centre for Deep Space Explorations experts
4 Aug 2022
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has for some years been actively participating in the Nation’s space programmes, as well as cultivating the interest of local youth in space science through various promotional activities. The University is committed to elevating young people’s enthusiasm for a career in space technology development thus making contributions to the scientific development of Hong Kong, the Nation and the world.
PolyU is committed to cultivating next generation researchers as well as innovation and technology talents, and to encouraging young people to contribute to society with their knowledge and innovation. We hope the competition can inspire participants to join the scientific research community in various roles in the future.
Professor Ben YOUNG
Vice President (Student and Global Affairs), PolyU
“Science World: Exploring Space to Benefit Mankind” is a science education programme that PolyU has launched for secondary school students. The space experiment competition under the programme has attracted 26 experiment proposals from 22 secondary schools. The judging panel, comprising leading PolyU experts including Professor YUNG Kai-leung, Director of the Research Centre for Deep Space Explorations (RCDSE), Professor WU Bo of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI), Professor Eric CHENG Ka-wai of the Department of Electrical Engineering, and Professor YU Siu-Fung of the Department of Applied Physics, has awarded the championship, first runners-up and second runners-up prizes to teams from Diocesan Boys’ School, Diocesan Girls’ School and St. Paul’s Convent School, respectively. The winning teams will be awarded a grant of HK$10,000, HK$5,000 and HK$3,000 in cash as an incentive for the students and to help promote STEM education at their schools.
The judging panel evaluated the proposals based on feasibility, creativity, scientific knowledge, scientific value, as well as presentation skills. Experts from the RCDSE will offer guidance and modifications to the winning proposal, so that it could have a chance to be performed at the China Space Station.
Professor Ben YOUNG, Vice President (Student and Global Affairs), PolyU, said: “I am pleased to learn that the ‘Science World: Exploring Space to Benefit Mankind’ education programme was well received. The experiment proposals reflect the students’ enthusiasm for scientific exploration of space. PolyU is committed to cultivating next generation researchers as well as innovation and technology talents, and to encouraging young people to contribute to society with their knowledge and innovation. We hope the competition can inspire participants to join the scientific research community in various roles in the future.”
The championship team from Diocesan Boys’ School proposes to learn how lizards adapt to the microgravity environment and cosmic radiation in space, to probe into the factors that affect cell metabolism by comparing the volume and density of the lizards’ cells on Earth and in space. The team believes that the experiment would help research into human body tissue repair mechanisms, for preparing humanity’s long-term space missions in the future. The experiment would foster medical science advancement and drug development as well.
The first runners-up, the Diocesan Girls’ School team, propose to grow Aloe vera hydroponically on the space station to investigate the effect of microgravity on its medicinal properties. The experiment compares the chemical compositions of Aloe vera grown on Earth and under the microgravity environment.
Given that the lack of natural and fresh oxygen on the space station might have adverse effect on astronauts, the second runners-up from St. Paul’s Convent School propose designing an ecosphere which converts carbon dioxide to oxygen through photosynthesis to improve air quality on the station.
Prof. Yung Kai-leung, who led the judging panel, praised the experiment proposals from the three winning teams. “The proposals, which involved various scientific theories, were not only feasible but also creative. The results of these experiments could potentially be highly valuable scientifically and beneficial to mankind if conducted successfully on the space station,” said Prof. Yung.
One of the judging panel members, Prof. Wu Bo, encouraged the participants to develop a solid foundation in scientific knowledge. “Innovative thinking is vital for the future. Young people should unleash their innovative thinking and seize every opportunity to equip themselves with knowledge and skills needed to pave the way to innovative scientific research in the future,” Prof. Wu said.
In addition to the competition, the “Science World: Exploring Space to Benefit Mankind” education programme delivered 13 online lectures with interesting topics related to engineering, physics and astronomy, and which touched on basic scientific knowledge related to space. Students also had the opportunity to visit PolyU’s specialised laboratories, including the RCDSE, Planetary Remote Sensing Laboratory and Aerodynamics Laboratory.
PolyU has been working closely with secondary schools in Hong Kong for many years and strives particularly to promote STEM education. Apart from this education programme, the Junior Researcher Mentoring Programme was launched last year and this year, providing secondary school students with the chance to participate in various research projects led by our scholars at the University, thereby opening the door for their future research endeavours. Secondary schools are encouraged to nominate students who have participated in the abovesaid programmes to apply for admittance to PolyU through the School Principal’s Nominations and the School Nominations Direct Admission Scheme, which may enhance students’ chances of enrolling at the University.
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Ms Candace Ho
Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
- 3400 2132