Nanjing-born scholar Zhang Xiang leads HKU as its 16th president
2018-07-20 16:28:00

Zhang Xiang, a graduate of Nanjing University, assumed office as the 16th President of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) on July 17 for a term of 5 years.

Zhang has sent a bulk email entitled “Together we take HKU to new heights” to the university members on taking office.

Briefly addressing the media on Tuesday morning, Zhang said he looks forward to working closely with diverse stakeholders including students, faculty, staff, alumni, as well as local communities and government, to build cohesive and sustained momentum and support.

Zhang, 55, was born in Nanjing. He graduated from the Department of Physics of Nanjing University in 1989.

Now Zhang is a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences - a national think tank that advises the government on major science and technology issues. He is also an elected member of the United States National Academy of Engineering.

His innovation on stealth technology was selected by American weekly Time as one of “Top Ten Scientific Discoveries of the Year” in 2008. In 2011, Zhang has also innovated stealth cloak with a more challenging technology, which would make an object covered by the cloak no longer detectable under visible light. This meant not only prospect of application in military and civil sectors, but also enormous contribution to the research on optical illusion systematic technology.

He won the special honor of A. C. Eringen Medal 2017 from the US Society of Engineering Science, which was established in 1976 and the highest award by the Society.

Despite his remarkable achievement, Zhang’s path of pursing knowledge was by no means smooth. When he went to the United States for study in 1991, the particle accelerator project in Texas had been put into a halt due to lack of government fund support. Therefore, Zhang had to change his research direction.

Then Zhang chose environmental engineering in the University of Minnesota, but he lost fund support due to his limited English language capacity and little progress in the sector. He had to become dormitory administrator, gardener, and cleaner to maintain his life. Finally, Zhang decided on a suitable research direction after prudent reflection.

In 1996, Zhang got his dream fulfilled as he got his PhD from University of California, Berkeley. Since then, he has made remarkable contribution in sectors including metamaterials, 3D fabrication technologies, materials physics, nano-photonics, microelectronics and optoelectronics. He is best known for his breakthrough research in metamaterials, a discovery that allows an engineered material to manipulate and bend light in unnatural ways. Editor:Dylan