Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year Award
The Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year, initiated by the Berlin-based Falling Walls Foundation, showcases and celebrates the most recent breakthroughs in science and society from all around the world. Awardees are selected by a jury comprising globally recognised experts in the fields.
The Falling Walls Foundation is a non-profit organisation supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany. It has been hosting an annual conference since 9 November 2009, the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2020, the event was conducted online to bring together outstanding science projects and bright minds globally to inspire a discussion on how science and innovation can contribute to the state of mankind. It celebrated work in 10 scientific, innovation, and humanistic categories.
Top 10 Scientists
Introduction to Prof. Yi-Chun Lu’s work
Prof. Yi-Chun Lu’s interview with the Falling Walls
Engineering and Technology | Prof. Yi-Chun Lu – Breaking the wall of safe energy storage
In 2020, Prof. Yi-Chun Lu from the Faculty of Engineering was selected as one of the top 10 scientists in the Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year Award in the category of Engineering and Technology. Being the only female Asian scientist in the top 10 of this category, Prof. Lu was recognised for her ground-breaking invention of a safe, high energy, low cost, and environmentally friendly battery that serves as a substitute for commercial lithium-ion batteries which are ubiquitous in our daily lives.
Four other CUHK scientists were shortlisted as finalists in other categories, including:
Taking advantage of digital technology in higher education, the Virtual Student Exchange (VSE) program provides students within the Association of Pacific Rim Universities network an innovative, immersive virtual exchange experience through digital platforms. The VSE program includes academic courses and co-curricular cultural and social community activities.
Physical Sciences | Prof. Lin Liu – Breaking the wall to cryosphere monitoring
The cryosphere, the planet’s frozen parts, has undergone rapid warming in recent decades, posing profound threats to people and the earth systems. With innovative use of AI, computer vision, deep learning, and remote sensing for detecting, characterising, and monitoring changes of the glaciers and the frozen ground from big earth observation data, Prof. Liu’s project transforms our understanding of the polar changes and their global impacts.
Growing evidence indicates that gut microbiome plays a central role in health and disease. With rapid expansion of global microbiome investment, GenieBiome has positioned itself to be a pioneer in the development of microbiome-based diagnostics and therapeutics in Asia. It has developed a non-invasive disruptive technology for detecting colon cancer. With this novel diagnostic stool test, regular screening colonoscopy will no longer be necessary.
Social Sciences and Humanities | Prof. Mee Kam Ng – Breaking the wall to ecological and humane urbanism
Hong Kong has been facing many challenges including socio-economic and spatial inequities, and political changes since its return to the Chinese rule in 1997. Working with other professionals, NGOs, district councilors and place champions, this project encourages community members to collaborate in place-making endeavors that restore the ecosystem and provide socio-petal spaces for convivial bottom-up community developments.
Please check out the videos for the breakthroughs.