Message from Department Head

Welcome to HKU Mechanical Engineering.

In its vision statement, our university positions itself “as a leading international institution of higher learning in Asia”.  Indeed, Asia, with 60% of the world population, has a great need for technologies to tackle challenges arising from spiking demand for energy and resources coupled with rapid urbanization and knowledge expansion on the continent.

Asia, with 3 of the most populous countries in the world, grows rapidly economically. 68% of international firms have offices in Hong Kong alone, not to mention those in Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai. Asia, located in the east of Eurasian civilization, is now the factory for the world, and the engine of the world’s economy.

However, we have three “Asias”: the industrialized Asia with many success stories, the rapidly industrializing Asia and the Asia yet to be industrialized.

We have serious environmental challenges. Most polluted cities are in Asia, and 90% of affected people by natural disasters in the world are in Asia.  Many parts of Asia are plagued from time to time by floods, cyclones, earthquakes, drought, storm surges and tsunamis. The roles of engineers in Asia are to develop industry, to make industry more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, to innovate to meet the Asian and global challenges or simply to make life better.

Mechanical engineers apply the principles of energy, mechanics and materials to deal with anything that moves. From Archimedes (c.287-212BC) who developed the Archimedes screw for better pumping efficiency, to Willis Carrier (1876–1950) who pioneered the design and manufacture of modern air conditioning systems; from Muslim mechanical engineer al-Jazarī (1136–1206) who developed the crankshaft that translated reciprocating linear piston motion into rotation, to Henry Ford (1863 –1947) who sponsored the development of the assembly line technique of mass production; mechanical engineers have been striving to make life easier for mankind. Through ingenious inventions such as dishwasher, refrigerator, sewing machine, car, airplane, space shuttle, MTR, air conditioning, zipper, nano-pumps, MEMS,  Boeing 787, aircraft carrier, power station and wind farm; not only have mechanical engineers improved the quality of human life, they have also realized many of the dreams of mankind.  Our pioneers in mechanical engineering have made all these achievements because they had both depth and breadth of knowledge.

At HKU Mechanical Engineering, we are determined to educate mechanical engineers for the 21st century in Asia.  

We strive to be open-minded in our teaching, learning and scholarship. Mankind has expanded our knowledge base at an unprecedented rate. There are more than 100 million books, 50 million scholarly articles, 30,000 journals, and 7 million researchers worldwide. No one can read all that has been published, but we do have much easier access to knowledge than Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin did. We can search and find almost instantly any article, any textbook, and any expert online. In many cases, we can even find the “best” knowledge by ourselves. In addition to accessing existing knowledge, with Internet search engines and mobile communication, we can share our ideas, observations, data, findings, questions and answers in different formats such as text, images, and video, at any instant with anyone from anywhere. However, knowledge expansion also means that more time and effort is needed to develop the necessary in-depth expertise and skills for doing the best study and research, whether at the frontier of a specialized subject or in the multidisciplinary domains such as biomechanical engineering, energy and environment, materials science & engineering, robotics and intelligent manufacturing.

We attract the best students and academics from world renowned institutions to excel here. Our Associate Head (teaching and learning), Professor KW Chow, summarized our vision and goals succinctly: “we hope our students can master the core knowledge of mechanical engineering; we hope they know how to learn and how to ask the proper questions; and we hope they can develop a passion for this profession.”

I welcome suggestions and comments from our alumni, local and international community.

 

liyg@hku.hk

Yuguo Li

Head of Department