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Posted: Apr 22, 2012

NTU gathers world's top scientists in Molecular Frontiers Symposium for youths in Singapore

(Nanowerk News) Singapore's youths will get to question some of the world's top scientists at an internationally renowned symposium held today at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Targeted at students of junior colleges and polytechnics, this year's Molecular Frontiers Symposium is the result of a partnership between NTU and Molecular Frontiers Foundation, a global organisation which aims to promote the understanding and appreciation of molecular science, with its fundamental importance to life sciences, medicine and technology, in society.
Titled "Emerging Technologies in Bio-Medicine", the symposium will feature an illustrious cast of scientific leaders including the Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, Professor Barry Sharpless and Professor Sir Harold Kroto; and one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World, Dr. Craig Venter, known for being one of the first to sequence the human genome and for leading his team to create the world's first synthetic life form.
In recognising Asia's growing influence and research in science, the foundation has also decided to establish its inaugural Asia headquarters at NTU, expanding its educational outreach to youths in the region.
The two-day symposium from 21 to 22 April will see more than 500 participants made up mainly of junior college and polytechnic students. Videos from the event will also be broadcasted live to NTU's 33,000 students and made accessible to everyone around the world via a dedicated event website. There will also be a live Cisco interactive tele-presence feed to link up the participants from four different schools in Korea.
The symposium is one of the key initiatives under Molecular Frontier's Asia HQ, which aims to reach out to students in Asia and in Singapore. It will be working with various educational institutes and government agencies to run science campaigns and awareness programmes in order to attract the brightest minds to science and research.
NTU President, Professor Bertil Andersson said: "This symposium brings together the world's greatest innovators who are making scientific discoveries and breakthroughs that are improving our world. I hope that the students will gain valuable knowledge and inspiration from these scientific superheroes who were once in their shoes. Just like these distinguished scientists, they too will have every opportunity in the world to make great achievements that improve our world."
NTU is Molecular Frontiers Foundation Asia's headquarters
The Molecular Frontiers Symposium is a major programme of the Molecular Frontiers Foundation, held annually since 2006 at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.
Professor Andersson said NTU is honoured to be chosen as the Asian home of Molecular Frontiers and will "work hand-in-hand to encourage scientific discovery at all levels, especially among our youth".
The Molecular Frontiers Foundation was founded through the auspices of the Nobel Foundation, started by Professor Bengt Norden, a former chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee in Chemistry and the present chairman of the NTU Research Council.
Professor Norden, who was touched by the vision and passion demonstrated by Nobel Laureates and other eminent scientific leaders, wishes to inspire youth to reach similar goals, and to spread the awareness of how science and technology is transforming society.
"I found amazing potential in the Asia children especially in field of science and technology. That is why we are setting up the Asia HQ in Singapore. We will have an annual MF Symposium in Asia and NTU will be the headquarters of this effort." said Prof Norden.
Nobel Prize for Kids: the Molecular Frontiers Inquiry Prize
To complement this year's symposium, NTU will also develop a local version of the prestigious Molecular Frontiers Inquiry Prize, which has been described as a "Nobel Prize for Kids". This prize will be given to children and students who ask scientific questions whose answers could hold the potential to change the world, so as to encourage and nurture inquisitiveness.
This is the first time which the Inquiry Prize will be open to participants in Asia through the website: The website is designed to attract young people who are curious about science, using news, videos and games to explain the molecular phenomena inside and around us. Interviews with Nobel laureates and other prominent researchers will also be featured on the website.
Distinguished speakers at the symposium include:

1) Dr Craig Venter, CEO & Founder, J. Craig Venter Institute, USA

2) Professor K. Barry Sharpless, Noble Prize in Chemistry (2001), The Scripps Research Institute, USA

3) Professor Sir Harold W. Kroto, Noble Prize in Chemistry (1996), The Florida State University, USA

4) Professor Arnaud Comment, SNSF-funded Professor, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland

5) Professor Atsushi Miyawaki, Deputy Director, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan

6) Professor Erling Norrby, Professor of Virology, Center for History of Science, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Sweden

7) Professor Jackie Ying, Executive Director, Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology A*STAR, Singapore

8) Professor Ram Sasisekharan, Director, Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, USA

Source: Nanyang Technological University
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