For Students


Steps Towards Life: Chemistry!

Dear students,

This is such an extraordinary time: at no other point in our collective memory have we faced more profound threats to our way of living. COVID-19 has confined half of the world population to self-isolation, threatening the liveliness of more. Confronting the worst economic prospect since the second world war, many people are losing hope and becoming cynical of the bleak and uncertain future.

We think not. As a department dedicated to educating chemists, we believe that more than ever the world is relying on scientists. The universe is built from only 118 chemical elements; the combination of these atoms can give us the deadliest virus, but can also give us the most miraculous cure. The forming, breaking and rearrangement of chemical bonds are exactly what chemists are trained to do.

To show our resilience against the climate of helplessness and to celebrate the power of basic science, Department of Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong is inviting your students to join a special lecture, given by our Visiting Distinguished Professor and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (1987), Professor Jean-Marie Lehn. This lecture is a special gift to all secondary school students of Hong Kong from one of the greatest chemists and educators of our time, intended to instil hope and to remind them of the importance of chemical sciences in this precarious time.

This lecture, entitled “Steps Towards Life: Chemistry!”, will be delivered via Facebook and YouTube at 4:00pm (HK Time), Wednesday, June 3, 2020, to commemorate the centenary of Ernest Rutherford’s Bakerian Lecture.

Selected questions and comments posted on Facebook and YouTube will be discussed after the lecture.

Details of the event are as follows:

Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn
Winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Visiting Distinguished Professor of Department of Chemistry, City University of Hong Kong
Director, Institute of Supramolecular Science and Engineering, University of Strasbourg
Date: 3 June 2020 (Wednesday)
Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Livestream on Facebook and YouTube @CityUChem
(Details will be sent to registrants in due course)
Target: Secondary 4 – 6 students
Steps Towards Life: Chemistry! 
The evolution of the universe has generated more and more complex forms of matter through self-organization, from particles up to living and thinking matter. Mankind has created science to unravel the ways and means by which matter has become organized up to a thinking organism in particular on our planet earth. Self-organization is the process by which steps towards life and thought have emerged. Animate as well as inanimate matter, living organisms as well as materials, are formed of molecules and of the organized entities resulting from the interaction of molecules with each other. Chemistry provides the bridge and unravels the steps from the molecules of inanimate matter and the highly complex molecular architectures and systems which make up living and thinking organisms. Molecular chemistry has developed very powerful methods for constructing ever more complex molecules from atoms. Supramolecular chemistry seeks to understand and control the formation and behaviour of complex molecular assemblies. The field of chemistry is the universe of all possible structures and transformations of molecular matter, of which those actually realized in nature represent just one world among all the worlds that await to be created. Conceptual considerations on science in general will be presented. Science shapes the future of humanity. Participate!

Interested students please register online at by 27 May 2020 (Wednesday). We will notify the interested students direct on the live stream details later.

In the meantime, if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Natalie Chan at (852) 3442 7402. We sincerely look forward to meeting you all at the lecture.

Kind regards,

Jian-Ping Wang (Prof.)

Assistant Provost (Strategic Planning)

City University of Hong Kong

Chun-Sing Lee (Prof.)

Head, Department of Chemistry

City University of Hong Kong

For details and application, please visit: