Published on 09 Dec 2021

4th World Laureates Forum

The 4th World Laureates Forum was held in Shanghai, China on October 30th - November 3rd, 2021 in a "hybrid" virtual format considering the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Laureates Forum (WLF) is the highest-profile scientific conference in Asia and the foremost global scientific gathering of prize-winners, including laureates of the Nobel Prize, Wolf Prize, Lasker Award, Turing Award and etc. The Forum aims to “Promote Basic Science, Advocate for International Cooperation and an Open Exchange of Ideas, and Support the Development of Youth”.

This year, the three-day forum gathered more than 130 decorated scientists, including 68 Nobel Prize winners, with the theme “Open science: build an open innovation ecosystem”.  Participants have the opportunity to join various seminars and themed sessions including poster display, where their works were reviewed by laureates. The participants included 3 of our NTU Postgraduates: Berend David Christopher (PhD, SCSE), Lim Yu Jie (PhD, IGP/NEWRI), and Tan Wei Ming Matthew (PhD, MSE).

Below are testimonials from our Postgraduate students:

It is truly a privilege to be nominated and selected to attend the 4th World Laureates Forum held from 1st to 4th November. Listening to the top scientific minds in the world share their latest research, thoughts on the progress of science and even their personal journeys left a deep impression on me. As a young and ambitious researcher, it is easy to be caught within the publication rat race to climb the academic ladder. The forum was a timely reminder of our role in science, such as to advance our everyday life, find the truth of nature and protect our earth. The emphasis on the need for an open innovation ecosystem comprising of increased collaborations and communication between scientists has further justified my decision to pursue a postdoc overseas. Having gotten interested in science quite late during my undergraduate years, the discussions on supporting the development of youth resonated with me. As a postgraduate that has taken up roles such as being an FYP mentor and teaching assistant, I was inspired by the sharing of Prof. Dan Shechtman (2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry) to not just be a knowledge provider but a role model. More importantly, hearing the journeys of the Nobel Laureates has served as an encouragement to press in the pursuit of science despite constant failures and hurdles. After all, if these “scientific giants” have faced similar challenges, this only means that I am on the right path.

Two quotes that impacted me during the forum:  “Don’t say the experiment didn’t work, make it work” ~ Prof. Omar Yaghi (2018 Wolf Prize in Chemistry) ||  “Run wild, be independent. Cause this is where the discoveries are” ~ Prof. Dan Shechtman (2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry)

---  Tan Wei Ming Matthew (PhD, MSE) 


I attended the sessions related to materials science, carbon capture, energy and environment.

Specifically, I find that these sessions are insightful in that it allows me to see the ‘big picture’ of how materials science can fit into a bigger landscape, how materials can shape bigger things in reality.

Lastly, the most important thing which I learned from WLF is the future projection of how next-generation materials might be like (e.g. what are their desired characteristics) as well as how future research will evolve based on the current limitations and mankind needs.

---  Lim Yu Jie (PhD, IGP/NEWRI)