messagePic   Message from Professor Dudley R. Herschbach
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1986
December, 2011  

It is a joy to offer congratulatory remarks on the inauguration of the Institute of Creativity (IOC) at the Hong Kong Baptist University. Having had the opportunity to visit during the founding celebration last Spring, I anticipate that the IOC is destined to be widely recognised for its enterprise and exceptional scope in four major missions.


First, its catalytic role in fostering interdisciplinary research and teaching collaborations among different scientific and scholarly disciplines within the University. Second, its role as a "launching platform" for exceptionally promising young researchers. Third, its enabling role in attracting international visitors from leading research centers around the world. Fourth, its role in promoting what I like to term "extroverted" science and scholarship. That involves reaching out to the general public, to teachers and to students, putting them in direct contact with activities of the IOC that serve to provide broad, panoramic views of the cultural and historic impacts of creative research. The extroverted programmes will convey that such research nourishes education far beyond academic institutions, as well as bestowing practical economic benefits. Above all, creative learning is a grand, inspiring adventure of humanity.

This occasion calls to mind a pair of favorite stories. Benjamin Franklin, in Paris in July of 1783, witnessed the first ascent of a hot air balloon, which successfully carried two men above the rooftops on a flight of a couple of kilometers. As the balloon sailed off, Franklin was asked the question, "What might it be good for?" He replied, "What good is a new-born child?" Nearly 50 years later, Michael Faraday was asked the same question about his exploratory research on electricity and magnetism. He replied, "Dr. Franklin asked of what use is a new baby. I would add that we can endeavor to bring it up to be useful." That has happened often with creative discoveries and inventions whose future development was not apparent in the fledgling stages.

The launching of the IOC last Spring included an artistic exhibition, appropriately titled "In Search of the Marvelous". To pursue that lofty aim will take much patience and perseverance. May many join in buoyant efforts, responding to the vision, astute judgment, and earnest passion of the IOC founders, led by President Albert Chan of HKBU, and by wholehearted support from the Hung Hin Shiu Charitable Foundation.

Professor Dudley R. Herschbach
Harvard University
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1986