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【Cubic Zine Issue 10】Scholar-Social Innovator: Dr Tong Shiu Sing learns to advocate STEM education from the legendary prankster

Where Ideas Root and Flourish

“Equip yourself, nurture your talents” – said our star in this issue to the younger generation, from his own experience, and from the bottom of his heart. In our interview, Dr Tong touched upon innovative education, Haruki Murakami, his past, and the recent gloomy society. His words may offer certain comfort, and resonance.

In this issue: #HappyHourWebinar #TravelBubble #WalkInHongKong #BCorp #TheNetherlands #STEMEducation #Fantasy

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Dr Tong Shiu Sing learns to advocate STEM education from the legendary prankster

Dr Tong Shiu Sing/Senior Lecturer, CUHK Department of Physics (Photo: SoCUBE)

“I’ve got certain capabilities in performing…I think?” Since six years ago, physics KOL Dr Tong Shiu Sing has starred in over 60 episodes of Sidewalk Scientist, a popsci TV show. Having unleashed his potential in acting, he, by chance, realised his childhood dream of becoming a star in popular science – just like American astronomer Carl Sagan.

“I wasn’t born this way, it’s years of cultivation. When you’re nerdy to the extreme, these abilities stay bottled up.” In front of a gigantic Einstein poster, he shares his personal “formula of growth” with a stern look.

While he progresses step by step in life, what’s his secret to handling hurdles? How would he comment on our STEM education?

Read the full interview

【Scholarly keyword】Capillary flow

Dr Tong took a pic of the interesting phenomenon he noticed when having a cup of milk tea.

Doing silly stuff seriously can be a source of happiness – ask the expert Dr Tong.

“I was having milk tea in a restaurant the other day, noting that when my drink evaporates at the surface, capillary action draws the liquid flow. Solid particles are brought to the edge of each tea droplet, forming holed patterns (corresponding to outlines of the droplets). Another interesting phenomenon is that when a drop of milk splashes into hot tea, the milk droplet occasionally levitates for one or two seconds due to the rising vapour, bounces then fuses into the tea. It’s really intriguing, I’ve witnessed it before.” These daily-life physical phenomena may seem boring, but do inspire physicists to make the next major discovery.



Tech B Corps|The Netherlands

(Picture: WeTransfer)

Headquartered in the Netherlands, WeTransfer is a well-known company offering file transfer services. As many as a billion files are reportedly transferred among 195 countries or regions via their platform. This June, the company announced its status as a certified B Corp – alongside over 3,000 corporates, they are recognised for their efforts in human resources (staff and customers), community and environment-relevant policies.

Originated from the US, B Corp is a much-discussed business model that emphasises both shareholder interests and multidimensional societal impact. Towards the end of last year, The Guardian also became the first mainstream media to be accredited.

Travel bubble|Hong Kong

(Picture: Walk In Hong Kong Facebook page)

Amid the pandemic, the global travel industry went through a silent spring and was forced to develop “inwards”. In May, the Baltic states became the first interconnected “travel bubble” within the European Union. While this has yet to be realised between Hong Kong and other regions, the “Hello Hong Kong. Holiday at home.” platform was launched in June to encourage “staycations”.

Indeed, most Hongkongers might be “coming home” to Japan and Taiwan every year, while seldom setting foot on the other side of the harbour or unfrequented corners of the territory. Social enterprise Walk In Hong Kong recently initiated a “Rewalking Hong Kong” series. Join these themed walking tours with special guests and celebrities, and get to know our city in a way you’ve never experienced before!


Scholar-readers by SoCUBE

Power of the unreasonable

Those who can actually change the world are often seen as “unreasonable” by the mainstream society – wrote social innovation and sustainable development experts John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan in The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets that Change the World.

Through lively stories, the authors shared the journeys, ways of thinking and strategies of several social entrepreneurs – how they overthrew existing industries, value chains and business models to create new markets, as a response to pressing social, economic and environmental issues.



Academic entrepreneur Prof Benny Zee shared his start-up experience and personal visions last week. (Photo: SoCUBE)

To facilitate knowledge and experience transfer in entrepreneurship and innovation, the CUHK Entrepreneurs Alliance was established last year to foster an entrepreneurial culture on and beyond campus. Their first event series “Happy Hour Webinars” engages guests from all walks of life in inspiring dialogues every Friday. Last week, ORKTS Director Prof Benny Zee shared his academic/entrepreneurial journey from Canada to Hong Kong. The session will be available online soon for review.

We certainly look forward to having real happy hours later in the year!

Upcoming sessions:
10 July|Three ways to lower your creativity
17 July|Entrepreneurship begins with life
24 July|Fintech applications in Hong Kong and beyond
31 July|Innovative education inside out

CUHK's support to scholar-social innovators

CUHK runs two funding schemes that support researchers to get down to social innovation – KPF and S-KPF. Selected projects may receive up to HK$400,000 for KPF projects or HK$600,000 for S-KPF companies. Over 200 teams have already benefited from the schemes, working on physical and mental well-being, social cohesion, cultural and heritage conservation, and so on.

Can’t wait to seize your chance? Prepare for the next round by learning the details here. Or share with us your ideas to get ready in advance!


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One email to feed you the hottest info from the social innovation universe! Cubic Zine is a publication under CUHK ORKTS’s social innovation platform SoCUBE. We are excited to bring you stories on what CUHK and glocal social innovators are working on, events happening around you and much more!

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