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Dear friends of the STF programme,
4 years and two intakes of a total of 58 researchers from EU Member States have passed, and now it is time to say goodbye to all of you, as the STF office will close its doors on Wednesday 29 August, 2012.

Beijing: Understanding Science Nobel Laureate Lecture by Prof. Brian Schmidt the 2011 Nobel Prize winner for Physics

The Beijing “Understanding Science” team is delighted to invite you to attend a special summer lecture, held in collaboration with the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Prof. Brian Schmidt from the Australian National University, who was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics, will talk on the “The Accelerating Universe”. The lecture will take place at 10 a.m.

SHANGHAI: 4th Understanding Science Seminar:Viruses: the good, the bad and the deadly! by Professor Ralf ALTMEYER

Dear friends, the Understanding Science team is glad to invite you for its fourth Shanghai lecture on Monday July 16th from 7pm to 8:15pm at the Wooden box café (see attached map). This 4th seminar, entitled “Viruses: the good, the bad & the deadly! will be presented by Professor Ralf ALTMEYER from the Pasteur Institute in Shanghai. After an introduction of the famous Pasteur Institute, Professor Altmeyer will introduce to us, among other things,  a brief history of virus discoveries, most “famous” viruses and vaccines and how they work, how viruses are used today for research purpose as biotechnology tools and of course some of the recent virus threats in China…

Please help us promoting this event by forwarding this information to your contacts and by registering to our mailing-list (see below).

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SHANGHAI: 3rd Understanding Science Seminar: "Eat Drink Men Women: follow the birds and the bees in time of famine" by Sam Linsen

Dear friends, The Understanding Science scientific popularization talks are back in Shanghai for the third edition, on Monday June 18 from 7pm to 8:30pm at the Wooden box cafe. This 3rd seminar, entitled “Eat Drink Men Women: follow the birds and the bees in times of famine” will be presented by Dr Samuel LINSEN from the CAS-Max Planck Partner Institute for Computational Biology in Shanghai. “Famines are, for many societies, still a realistic threat and understanding the physiological impact of these may alleviate its lasting consequences.

ThinkIN China BEIJING: 23.05. 2012, Egyptian Islamists’ Foreign Policy Toward China

23/05/2012 15:31


Topic:            Egyptian Islamists’ Foreign Policy Toward China

Speaker:       Prof. WANG Suolao 王锁劳, Peking University 

Short Bio: Associate Professor at the School of International Studies at Peking University. Professor Wang is an expert in Middle Eastern Studies, notably Egypt, Islam, and the modern relationships between China and the Middle East/Africa. With a BA in History from Northwestern University and an MA in Afro-Asian History from Peking University, he completed his PhD dissertation in International Politics in 2000. Extended research stays at Cairo University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, etc.

Speech: Being fluent in both English and Arabic Professor Wang held a very up to date and informative talk with interesting anecdotes from his personal experiences and research on Egyptian Islamists foreign policy towards China. He started off with embedding his main argument in latest analysis on the upcoming Egyptian Presidential elections. He presented the the candidates on the ballot with emphasis on the 6 candidates with high chances. The biggest trade-off therein is that experienced candidates have the disadvantage of being linked to the former regime whilst genuinely new candidates, many of them representing Islamic political groupings, do not have experience in running the country. Prof. Wang sees the rise of Islamic political groupings as a general trend in the region and of the Arab Spring. “North Africa is becoming green again”.

“Understanding Science”: All from Nothing: The Structuring of our Universe



The “Understanding Science” lecture series continued on 22 May with a provocatively titled and engaging presentation on “All from Nothing” by Prof. Simon White, director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Munich (Germany).  

Simon White took the audience on a journey deeper and deeper into space, which is equivalent to “closer and closer to the creation of the Universe”. His journey started with the structure of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, which we can study in great detail, although these galaxies are fairly old (up to 10 billion years). Continuing to galaxies farther away, he presented observations which show galaxies to be distributed non-homogeneously: they are grouped in galaxy clusters, cosmic filaments and large volumes which are almost empty (“voids”). But how did this large-scale structure build up? It can only originate from structure being present already earlier! How, then, do we observe this underlying structure which was presumably present when no stars or galaxies had formed yet? Imaging the state of the Universe closest to its creation (the “Big Bang”) is currently only possible by observing the “cosmic microwave background” (CMB). This radiation was released about 400,000 years after the Big Bang, when the first atoms formed (from protons, neutrons and electrons) – the Universe had expanded and its content cooled down sufficiently to allow the formation of stable neutral atoms.

2nd STF Conference on EU–China Research Collaborations through People-to-People Exchanges



Following on from the very successful 1st STF Conference held in March 2011, the 2nd STF Conference was held at the Kempinski Hotel in Beijing on Wednesday May 16 2012. The conference was attended by approximately 140 participants, with a good mix of European and Chinese nationalities, including the STF Fellows, Science Counsellors from the EUD and embassies of member states, officials from Chinese government bodies as well as EU academics working in China and Chinese academics with experience of working in Europe.

EDITION 2012 - Summer Institute on Climate Change and Environmental Protection (SICCEP) and Summer Institute on Intellectual Property Rights and China (IP-China)



Queries can be addressed to :

Summer Institute on Climate Change and Environmental Protection (SICCEP) and Summer Institute on Intellectual Property Rights and China (IP-China) coordinated by the Chair of Chinese Law withing the Department of Law atUnivesity of Turin and to be held for four weeks at Peking University, School of Government in Beijing from the 7th July to the 4th August 2012 (SICCEP and IP-China) or from the 21st July to the 18th August (IP-China and SICCEP).

The first curriculum is called “Summer Institute on Climate Change and Environmental Protection” (SICCEP) or more precisely Law, Policy, Economics and Technology on Climate Change and Environmental issues: European and Chinese Perspectives. It addresses issues such as energy policies, environment law and sustainable development, intellectual property and technology innovation. The second curriculum is called “Summer Institute on Intellectual Property Rights and China” (IP-China). The participants will decide to enroll in all the scheduled courses and seminars will receive the certificates for both curricula. It is an innovative program that takes into account the training demands of young professionals on these issues, drawing on relevant curricula received from international organizations and the private sector representatives. 

ThinkIN China BEIJING: 24.04. 2012, " Sino-Japanese relations in a changing East Asian order" by Professor Gui Yongtao


Date:        Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 7:30-9:15 pm. Location:   Bridge Café, Wudaokou
Speaker:   Prof. GUI Yongtao, Peking University

Short Bio: Associate Professor at the School of International Studies of Peking University. Research focus on politics and international relations in East Asia. Educated in Waseda University and Peking University (PhD double degree program).

Speech: Sino-Japanese relations have a long history. It is certainly a difficult relationship, mostly due to the Second World War. Whereas this surely still plays a role in explaining the mutual attitudes of Chinese and Japanese people and governments, Prof. Gui’s core message was that Sino-Japanese relations have undergone tremendous change due to the rise of China in world politics, especially the speed thereof. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, scholars and commentators first predicted the ‘collapse of China’ as part of the communist world. With the increasing economic and political importance of China, this prediction changed into a ‘China threat theory’. However, not just the US but also Japan felt a need to constructively engage with China, not least because China is now the biggest trading partner of Japan. This has led to a period of ‘strategic opportunity’ for China, especially in the 2000s.

Archives BEIJING 16.04.2012: "the Science behind Photomedicine"

Dear friends and colleagues, Understanding Science was happy to invite you to its 12th seminar for the general public on April 16th in Beijing, entitled “The Science behind Photomedicine”. This event consisted on a presentation (popularization talk) by Professor David Phillips, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) and Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at Imperial College London. The use of light on the treatments of skin conditions was introduced. The lecture also discussed surgery using infrared and ultraviolet lasers, and the use of lasers plus chemical sensitizers to selectively destroy tumors in photodynamic therapy. Thanks for your participation.

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