Most of the top winners in Hong Kong's previous public examinations have worked as doctors or lawyers, and some have alternative options to break out of another world. Fu Kaijun, a young scholar and assistant professor in the Department of Physics at HKUST, has been passionate about physics since he was a child and aspires to become a scientist. He had outstanding academic performance, and once became the top student in the old college entrance examination, he was faced with the struggle between ideals and reality, and hesitated to choose the "theology" of quantitative finance or physics, and finally he did not forget his original intention and chose the latter. With about 10 years of experience in academia, he is one of the recipients of this year's Croucher Mak Tak Wah Award for Pioneering Research for his outstanding performance in quantum materials.

He believes that children need space to explore themselves, cultivate curiosity and desire to learn, but today's students have heavy academic workloads and busy lives, which is not ideal, and calls on the society and parents to release more space, "The whole atmosphere can be relaxed, so that children can do what children should do."

Fu Hoi-chun, who won 9A and 5A in the HKCEE and Gaokao respectively, is now a theoretical physicist with his interest in physics and his desire to become a scientist. (Photo by Lu Yiming)

Interested in physics since childhood, parents do not interfere in college subject selection

Fu Kaijun has been interested in physics since he was a child, and has read the stories of physicists Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman, and has felt the charm of being a scientist, and has long been determined to become a scientist. He pointed out that his parents never interfered in his decision-making, including which subjects to study in JUPAS, and he never consulted his family. He joked that since he was a child, he has been "old-fashioned" since he was a child, and every decision he makes will have a "plan B" (backup plan), so his family trusts his choice and believes that he can find his own direction in life.

Although he put quantitative finance at the top of the JUPAS course selection and was admitted after an interview, he still can't forget his original intention to study physics and gave up finance. (Photo by Lu Yiming)

Abandon the degree of finance and study physics with the original intention

In secondary school, Fu Kaijun was a top student, and achieved 9A and 5A grades in the old system of the Hong Kong Entrance Examination and the National Entrance Examination. He once preferred "theology" in quantitative finance and was admitted to the university, but in the end, he was so impressed with his original intention that he decided to choose physics, "I have been doing physics all my life, but after I finished physics, I think I can switch to finance."

While studying physics at university, the top student also questioned his abilities. At that time, he was going to the University of California, Berkeley as an exchange student, and as an undergraduate student who wanted to do research, he was worried that his performance would not be as good as other local students, or that his exam results would be poor, and it would be difficult for him to find a graduate school to continue his studies. However, he later discovered that this was not the case, "It may not be like I imagined that everyone is a god, but everyone is a human being, and I am a human being, and I may have a way to enter this circle, and then slowly move forward to find my own way."

Condensed matter theoretical physicist Kaijun Fu (left) and biologist Lan Wang (right) both received the Croucher Prize for Foresight. (Photo by Lu Yiming)

Research and discovery of new phenomena and applications of quantum effects

Fu Hoi-chun, a condensed matter theoretical physicist, has been awarded the Croucher Mak Tak Wah's Foresight Award with a grant of $500 million for his outstanding performance in the study of quantum materials. He pointed out that with the grant grant, the research team will explore innovative methods using traditional computer simulations of quantum materials to analyze quantum entanglement patterns between electrons, so as to enhance the public's understanding of quantum materials and explore more new phenomena and application possibilities brought about by quantum effects.

Parents should give space and confidence

Fu Kaijun urged the younger generation not to be presumptuous and honest with their own ideas, "While looking at the world, we should also ask ourselves clearly, is it suitable for me to behave and fall? Shall I go or not? If you have a good balance between the two sides, you can move on."

He pointed out that he noticed that Hong Kong students have a heavy academic load and the amount of homework has increased compared with the past, from an average of one homework per subject to three homework per subject, and his life is very busy and not ideal, he called on the society and parents to release more space, "The whole atmosphere can be relaxed, and children can do what children should do." He also reminded parents to give their children more confidence to develop themselves, preserve their curiosity and desire to learn, "If you suffocate too many people, everyone will not have time and energy to develop anything else, in fact, you will not get an individual."

Research on mitochondria to help design treatments for neurological and muscular diseases

Lan Wang, another assistant in the Division of Life Sciences at HKUST, also received the Croucher Foresight Award for her research on the molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial quality control. Its laboratories use different methods to understand the molecular signatures and changes in healthy and unhealthy mitochondria to help design treatments for neurological and muscular diseases, among other things.

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