Meet Nobel laureates at science summit

Meet Nobel laureates at science summit
German virologist Professor Harald zur Hausen.

SINGAPOREANS will get to pick the brains of Nobel laureates and other renowned scientists when the Global Young Scientists Summit returns on Monday.

The annual event, organised by the National Research Foundation (NRF), is a five-day conference for young scientists and researchers from around the world. It includes public talks across Singapore. This year's line-up of 20 speakers includes Nobel laureates and winners of other prestigious awards, such as the Fields Medal for mathematics, Millennium Technology Prize for groundbreaking innovations, and the Turing Award, which is considered the Nobel equivalent for computing.

The Science Centre Singapore will host four scientists in a youth forum titled "What Science Needs". They include German virologist Professor Harald zur Hausen, who won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on the human papilloma virus' role in cervical cancer. Four scientists who each won the Turing Award between 1985 and 2012 will also take part in a panel discussion at Singapore Management University, on how computing theories and algorithms have shaped people's lives.

On the summit's final day on Jan 23, nine young scientists will present proposals on how to help the elderly remain in their communities for as long as possible. These include "smart" shoes with motion and pressure sensors that collect data on an elderly person's physical activities and encourage him to be more active. If the person has stayed indoors for a few days, the data could trigger a friendly message to persuade him to go for a walk.

The proposals are part of the summit's yearly Singapore Challenge, which asks participants to find solutions to problems faced by cities. "Ageing-in-place" is this year's challenge theme, and it is timely as one-fifth of Singapore's residents is expected to be aged 65 and above by 2030.

Five of the nine finalists are from Singapore universities and institutes, and their projects were selected from 55 proposals. Nearly 300 young scientists and researchers from 70 universities and institutes will attend the summit, which is in its third year. The public talks and panel discussions are expected to draw another 2,000 people.

At a media briefing yesterday, NRF chief executive Low Teck Seng said: "The summit brings the world of science to Singapore, and allows our young scientists to know some of the leading figures in the world."

For more information on the public talks, go to

This article was first published on January 14, 2015.
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