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09 Feb 2010 - 11 May 2012
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Scientists Travel to Shanghai For Symposium
Georgetown Delegation of Chemists and Physicists Look For Further Ways To Collaborate With Fudan University
SHANGHAI, China – Scientists from the Hilltop traveled to China this week to take part in the inaugural science symposium presented by Georgetown and Fudan Universities, June 18-20.

The two-and-half day symposium, which took place at Fudan’s main Handan campus in Shanghai, served as an arena where faculty members could present their research to one another and chat informally about ways they could work together in the future.

Led by professor YuYe Tong of the chemistry department, four other chemists and three physicists from Georgetown met with their counterparts at Fudan for a scientific exchange about everything from catalytic hydrocarbon functionalization to bifunctional metalloenzymes.

“We hope to establish some very concrete ideas regarding future scientific collaboration between our institutions,” Tong said. “This symposium is the first science collaboration between Georgetown and Fudan, but it certainly won’t be the last.”

In addition to Tong, the Georgetown delegation included Mak Paranjape, co-director of graduate studies for physics; Marcos Rigol, assistant professor of physics; Ed Van Keuren, chair of the physics department; Tim Warren, director of graduate studies for chemistry; Dick Weiss, professor of chemistry; Christian Wolf, associate professor of chemistry; and David Yang, professor of chemistry.

The symposium kicked off with a dinner presented by Fudan’s Office of Foreign Affairs, and scientists buckled down the next morning for a full day of concurrent sessions and presentations where members of the Georgetown delegation discussed some of their research.

The day concluded with a reception and poster session presented by Lili Dong, director of the Georgetown Liaison Office, where Fudan undergraduate and graduate students filled the atrium of the Center for American Studies for an opportunity to examine the research posters created by symposium participants.

The poster session not only allowed faculty members to further showcase their work, it also allowed them to promote better awareness in China of the scientific research and scholarship at Georgetown.

“Georgetown is well known for the humanities, for law and for international relations,” said Dong, “but it is not always known among Chinese students for its strong science programs. Most Chinese students when they go abroad to study do so in the sciences, so it is important for us to promote Georgetown to them as a top science institution.”

The Georgetown-Fudan science gathering developed after Tong visited Shanghai for the opening of the Georgetown Liaison Office at Fudan, the first such office Georgetown has opened at a foreign university.

As a native of China and an undergraduate alumnus of Fudan, Tong had begun exploring ways to build upon the 2006-2007 cooperative agreement signed by the two universities.

“I proposed the idea of a symposium and received great support from everyone involved, at Georgetown and at Fudan,” he said. “As a result, the issue was discussed at the first Georgetown-Fudan bilateral advisory committee meeting in December 2007 and considered by all an effective way to bring the two institutions closer together, particularly in the domain of the sciences.”

Though Tong said he sees future collaborations developing form this first symposium, the two universities also are teaming up in areas other than the sciences. Georgetown and Fudan are exploring partnerships across many disciplines, with history taking the lead. 

Clive Foss, a visiting professor in Georgetown’s history department, just finished a five-week lecture series this month in Fudan that focused on the Middle East. Additionally, Jim Millward, an associate history professor will team teach a course this fall with Yao Dali, a history professor at Fudan. Millward and Yao’s class will be “bi-local” in nature, where the classes will study the same material at the same time and communicate via various technology that includes videoconferencing, blogs, blackboards and e-mail.

Those two latest efforts also have built upon the joint Georgetown-Fudan programs in international relations, public policy, epidemiology, medicine and law.

-- Mark Overmann

(June 21, 2008)
'We hope to establish some very concrete ideas regarding future scientific collaboration between our institutions. This symposium is the first science collaboration between Georgetown and Fudan, but it certainly won’t be the last.' -- YuYe Tong, associate professor of chemistry

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