2024 Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Professors

Our esteemed speakers, Prof Hugo Duminil-Copin and Prof Leslie Valiant, were appointed as Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Professors in relation to the public lecture on 12 January 2024.  Organised as a partner event of the National Research Foundation's Global Young Scientists Summit 2024, the event was sponsored by the Lee Foundation and Paeonia Foundation, with support from the Embassy of France in Singapore.

Engaging lectures by Prof Hugo Duminil-Copin on percolation (left) and Prof Leslie Valiant on humanity's distinguishing capability.

Prof Hugo Duminil-Copin (Fields Medallist 2022) is a probability expert with a passion for physics.  He serves as a full professor at the University of Geneva and holds a permanent professorship at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHES). In his talk titled "The Mathematics of Percolation", he explored percolation models' origins and applications, highlighting their relevance in understanding various phenomena such as phase transitions, conductivity, communication networks, disease spread, and probabilistic graphs etc.  

Prof Leslie Valiant (Turing Award laureate 2010) is the T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. His lecture titled "What is Humanity’s Distinguishing Capability?" delved into the dynamic interaction between humans and machines, and discussed the challenging limits on machine replication of human behaviour. He also proposed 'educability' as a vital human trait, with a focus on the importance of active education to counter arbitrary beliefs and drive technological advancements through a deeper understanding of human capabilities.

Prof Hugo Duminil-Copin and Prof Leslie Valiant alongside Prof Ling San, accompanied by NTU membersProf Hugo Duminil-Copin and Prof Leslie Valiant (second and third from the left) alongside Prof Ling San (NTU Deputy President and Provost, fourth from the left), accompanied by NTU members. 


Our eminent speakers, Prof Martin Green and Prof Sir Shankar Balasubramanian, were appointed as Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Professors in relation to the public lecture on 10 January 2024.  Organised as a partner event of the National Research Foundation's Global Young Scientists Summit 2024, the event was sponsored by Lee Foundation.

Prof Martin Green (left) delivering engaging talk on solar energy while Sir Shankar sharing his groundbreaking DNA sequencing journey

Prof Martin Green (2022 Millennium Technology Prize laureate) is the Scientia Professor at the University of New South Wales and the Director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics. In his lecture titled "The Role Solar Energy Will Play in Our Energy Future", Prof Green brought the audience on a remarkable journey spanning the past, present, and future of photovoltaics. HIs talk offered a glimpse into a future where solar power plays a pivotal role in mitigating carbon emissions and producing clean energy.

Prof Sir Shankar Balasubramanian (2020 Millennium Technology Prize laureate), distinguished Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, is renowned for his influential contributions to the field of nucleic acids. In his talk titled "DNA - What Is It Telling Us?" he inspired the audience with his story how he and Prof David Klenerman discovered a new way to read the DNA molecular code. Their work revolutionised biology research and the understanding of genetic diseases by making DNA sequencing a tool in every biologist’s toolbox, thereby accelerating diverse fields of research.

(From left) Assoc Prof Nripan Mathews, Prof Sum Tze-Chien, Prof Sir Shankar Balasubramanian, Prof Simon Redfern, Prof Martin Green , His Excellency Allaster Cox (Australian High Commissioner to Singapore) and Assoc Prof Tan Meng How.


Our eminent panellists, Nobel laureates Prof Duncan Haldane and Prof Klaus von Klitzing, were appointed as Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Professors in relation to the panel discussion on 4 January 2024. Sponsored by Lee Foundation and organised as a partner event of the Global Young Scientists Summit 2024, the panel discussion was held in conjunction with the 9th International Workshop on Emergent Phenomena in Quantum Hall Systems at SPMS NTU. Themed "Emergent Behaviours in the Quantum World, the discussion symphonised the ideas, insights, and the collective wisdom of Prof Duncan Haldane, Prof Klaus von Klitzing, and Prof Bertrand Halperin.

Prof Duncan Haldane, Nobel Prize laureate in Physics 2016 is a professor of physics at Princeton University. Prof Klaus von Klitzing, Nobel Prize laureate in Physics 1985 is the director of Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research.

Enthusiastic audiences in the IAS Panel Discussion engaging with insightful questions, creating a dynamic exchange of ideas.

The panel discussion started off with a discussion on what the panellists felt was interesting in science right now. Prof Klaus von Klitzing expressed awe at how the mathematical problems of yesteryears were concrete applications of today. In a similar vein, Prof Duncan Haldane discussed how quantum entanglement now gives a new way of thinking about quantum physics. The discussion then shifted to the evolving landscape of quantum mechanics education, with a consensus among panellists that applications bring novel teaching opportunities. Transitioning to the topic of quantum computing, the panellists agreed that while quantum computers have the potential to propel advancements in quantum mechanics and serve advanced applications, they are unlikely to replace personal computers.

[From left] Prof Antonio Castro Neto (moderator), Dr Norbert Riedel (German Ambassador to Singapore), Prof Klaus von Klitzing,  Prof Duncan Haldane, Prof Phan Anh Tuan, Prof Bertrand Halperin, Prof Sum Tze-Chien and Nanyang Assistant Prof Yang Bo.