In memory of the late Professor Lau Oi Wah, a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and our former Dean of Science, for her life-long devotion of promoting science education in the University and secondary schools, the Faculty has been hosting an annual Lau Oi Wah Memorial Science Lecture Series since 2005 to extend Professor Lau’s vision of science education.
Date 27 April 2024 (Saturday)
Time 10:00 am – 12:00 nn
Venue: LT3, Yasumoto International Academic Park, CUHK
(Seats are limited; first come, first served)
Enquiries 3943 1387 /
Registration Deadline: 23 April 2024 (Tuesday)

Lecture Series Topics:


First Talk The Guard of Secrets: Statistical Privacy

Professor CHAN Kin Wai (Department of Statistics)

In the era of big data, where vast amounts of information are generated and collected, safeguarding privacy has become one of the most concerning issues regarding the ethical use of data. Since there is always a tradeoff between data privacy and data utility, deriving a statistically insightful procedure that can sufficiently protect privacy at a desired level is, therefore, an important task for statisticians and data scientists. In the talk, the speaker will demonstrate that anonymization by removing identifying information is not sufficient to protect privacy. To handle this problem, the speaker will present two statistical methods for protecting privacy: randomized response and differential privacy. Examples will also be presented to illustrate the principles.

Second Talk Hundred Years of Good “Learning”: To Improving Learning and Memory

Dr. KOON Chun Alex (School of Life Sciences))

“Without memory, we are nothing.” Memory is essential to all our lives. Without memory of the past, it is impossible to operate in the present or plan for the future. Without memory, we wouldn’t be able to learn anything at all. Since ancient times, enhancing memory has been one of mankind’s greatest dreams. Our brain is made up of approximately 100 billion neurons. During learning, neurons must construct new synapses to communicate with one another, thereby forming a neural network; and our memories rely on these synapses and networks to be maintained. Thus, synaptic plasticity is the basis of learning and memory. To date, scientists have accumulated over 150 years of research on learning and memory. What have we learned so far? Are there “super drugs” for memory? Can we apply this knowledge in the clinical setting to help patients of neurodegenerative diseases? How about in the educational setting to improve student learning? In this lecture, we will discuss some of the scientific milestones and explore some of the answers.

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