CAIS Students Participating in the first Tencent Youth Science Festival

February 1, 2019

Grade 11 students Marko Choi and Loren Ho were delighted to be the only two students selected among all international schools in Hong Kong participating in the first Tencent Youth Science Festival in Shenzhen on January 20, 2019. They were both deeply impressed by the scientific themes and exploration. The event was held in Shenzhen and hosted by Tencent with the support of the China Association for Science and Technology. The festival was the inaugural event of the Tencent Youth Science Program. In the festival, a number of world’s leading scientists and experts including Lucy Hawking, David Eagleman, Li Miao, Charles Czeisle, and Tim Urban to have a face-to-face dialogue with young people and interpret the mysteries of cutting-edge scientific fields on the list such as liquid water on Mars, human origin, memory manipulation, etc. Below are the thoughts of the student participants after the event. “Through the Tencent Youth Science Festival, I had a euphoric experience of conversing with spearheading and inspiring scientists such as Lucy Hawking, David Eagleman, and Charles Czeisler. This opportunity allowed me to meet elite students from all over China, befriending and identifying them as comrade-in-arms who are immensely interested in science. We have all treasured this infrequent chance to engage in intellectual discussions with concurrent elites. Lucy Hawking, the daughter of the late renowned theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, postulates that the science-fiction genre bestows a spectacular way of paving the road for future of science and technology. She uses a tender tone to recapitulate his father’s convoluted scientific achievements into simple persuasive speeches that allures our next generation to imagine and better future. Lucy beguilingly describes the astrophysics of black holes, the orbital of spacecraft and the galactic ventures by our contemporary society. Her speech has propelled my inconspicuous interest in inspecting unanswered questions, for instance, the role of peculiar dark energy and dark matter in our universe. She ultimately emphasizes how education systems such as peer-to-peer mentoring can foster imagination – the fuel of curiosity and science – to pragmatically realize our dreams and ambitions as an ever-growing civilization. Furthermore, I am blessed and grateful to be given the opportunity to pose questions to David Eagleman and Charles Czeisler. Both intellectuals provided me with astute acumen regarding the 86 billion intricate neuron cell communication to the pivotal circadian rhythms that govern our sleep. Eagleman has accentuated how the prefrontal cortex allows humans to predict and visualize the future, invigorating and narrating the scientific community with the sowed seeds amongst all children. The most memorable moment was with Dr. Czeisler, the Harvard professor that specializes in the field of sleep medicine and circadian rhythms. I raised the question, “is it possible to innovate a drug to eliminate the biological need of sleeping in order to have sufficient time to finish the amassed assignments and assessments?” He shrugged and started chuckling; he then commenced to elucidate the overwhelming amount of side effects one might have due to the deprivation of sleep. It was surely a blissful experience to meet these perceptive leaders in the field of science, this marvelous and thought-provoking science festival has surely sowed seeds of interest in science within me.The scientist’s divulged and extensive messages can be conveyed in one compromised message regarding science: we are the engaged citizens and decision-makers of the exciting times, where education and imagination consistently drive us to reach out further as a collective whole.“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”– Arthur C. Clarke” 11B Student Marko Choi “To say that the 2019 Tencent Youth Science Festival was just “fun” truly does not do the event justice. It was an eye-opener, an instigator of inspiration, and an opening door to the future of science. I for one am not fond of mornings so to say that I am willing to wake up at 5:30 in the morning again just for the sake of reliving my experience at the festival says a lot. It was a great privilege for me to be one of two students representing the school and it would be a great opportunity for me to learn. Little did I know, or little did I try to find out, how significant the festival was.  From 8:00 in the morning to 5:30 in the afternoon, with the exception of lunch and small breaks, I was in science paradise. From neuroscience to AI; cosmology to the study of sleep; imagination to evolution; technological innovation to biological discoveries, the science festival lived up to its name. During the morning Q&A sessions at Tencent, students like me got to ask neurologist David Eagleman and Harvard Professor Charles Czeisler numerous questions which stem from our curiosities. I got to ask Professor Czeisler about the science behind sleep paralysis and I am extremely thankful that both the scientists who spent time with us took the time to answer each and every question with sincerity and great detail. Then, Tencent led the participants around an exhibition which showcased the company’s facilities, products, innovations, AI technology, and accomplishments. After this, we arrived at a venue where significant scientific figures and great educators including David Eagleman, Charles Czeisler, Lucy Hawking, and Tim Appenzeller each gave inspiring and informative talks from their perspectives and their passions. Every talk was unique and the short science videos which played in between them combined cinematic creativity with the beauty of science. It was a very fruitful and fulfilling day to say the least.  After attending the festival, my interest in science intensified. I learnt that the foundation of science is imagination; the ability to dream the impossible as possible and to ask ridiculous questions as profound inquiries. It is only when one is brave enough to ask that they are motivated enough to seek. It moved me when Tencent expressed how they value youths like me and believed that the reins of the future are held in the younger generations. The recognition from Tencent and the scientists present at the festival encouraged me to be unafraid to imagine and to pursue my own interests. Hearing renowned scientists say they are in awe of how complex and beautiful this universe is also humbled me. I could not help but admire and revere God, the creator and the greatest scientist of all.  I highly encourage other students to attend this event because it provides a platform for inspiration and is such a valuable experience. Thank you for giving me this opportunity!”11B Student Loren Ho