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HKU Engineering scholar Professor Alfonso Ngan elected as an International Fellow

Professor Alfonso H.W. Ngan, Kingboard Endowed Professsor in Materials Engineering, and Chair Professor in Material Sciences and Engineering of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), has been elected as an International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in the U.K. He is the only international fellow from Asia named by the Academy this year. The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) is UK’s national academy of engineering, comprising the most successful and talented engineers dedicated to promoting excellence in engineering. This year, 69 leading figures, including 60 Fellows, four International Fellows and five Honorary Fellows in the field of engineering and technology have been elected to its Fellowship. Each individual has made exceptional contributions or achievements in their sector and risen as innovation leaders and inspiring role models. Professor Ngan is elected for his “outstanding and consistent contributions to the characterisation, development and application of novel materials for a wide range of applications”. He is a leading international authority on the microstructural basis of material strength, particularly for micro-sized materials. His work on stochastic deformation of small materials is well-known in the field.

He established the first nanomechanics characterisation laboratory in Hong Kong in 2000, where he pioneered a method for measuring the intrinsic elastic moduli of soft materials in all types of displacement-sensing instrument, and successfully applied it to the softest materials with moduli of the order of Pa. He also developed a novel class of stimuli-responsive actuating materials for wirelessly powering micro-robotic devices, as a backbone technology for new designs of micro motion-driving systems.

He is an elected Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences (FHKEng), and currently serves as the academy’s Honorary Secretary and Council Member. His research honours include the Rosenhain Medal of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining; Doctor of Science (DSc) of the University of Birmingham; Croucher Senior Fellow, and the Guanghua Engineering Science and Technology Prize.

He is currently an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Plasticity, a top journal in the field of engineering plasticity. He also serves as an expert advisor to the Hong Kong Government’s Water Supplies Department, solving problems including lead-leaching in potable-water systems and corrosion in Hong Kong’s unique sea-water flushing system. He is a Fellow of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (FHKIE) and the Deputy Chairman of its Accreditation Board.

At HKU, Professor Ngan is formerly the acting Vice-President (Research), Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.

Professor Ngan’s election as an international fellow of RAE marks a continued recognition of distinguished members of the Faculty of Engineering by the Academy. Four members from the Departments of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Civil Engineering have been elected as RAE fellows since 1987.

HKU President Professor Xiang Zhang congratulated Professor Ngan on his latest honour. He said: “I am confident our distinguished academics will continue to be recognised for the contributions they have made to their disciplines, as they strive for research breakthroughs with a positive impact on humanity worldwide."

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