Vivivan W.W. Yam
The World of Colours - From Fundamental Science to Energy and Materials

Vivian Wing-Wah Yam


A major global issue that the world is facing today is the upcoming depletion of fossil fuels and the fast-growing global demand for energy. Today, more than 80 % of the energy is generated from fossil fuels which include oil, gas and coal. This also translates into huge annual emissions of carbon dioxide that leads to massive environmental problems, particularly global warming, which could be disastrous. A major challenge confronting the world is to find the extra energy needed when our energy reserves based on fossil fuels are vanishing and when there is an urgent need and pressing demand for a carbon-neutral energy economy. Clearly there is an obvious demand for the development of clean sources of renewable energy. Solar energy is amongst one of the most attractive as there is more energy from the sun that hits the earth in one hour than all of the energy consumed on our planet in an entire year. Apart from the development of clean sources of renewable energy, developments related to increased energy efficiency, such as in the development of more energy-efficient lighting, would also lead to a reduction in the energy demand as lighting currently takes up about 19 % of the global energy demand. In this presentation, the basic concepts of colour and light, with the introduction of energy levels in the form of quanta, will be presented. Relevance to the encounters of daily life from dyes and pigments all the way to the more advanced technological applications including those of imaging and data storage systems such as optical memories, display and solid-state lighting systems such as organic light-emitting devices (OLEDs), solar energy conversion such as artificial photosynthesis and solar cells will be included.

Vivian W. W. Yam - Short Biography#

Vivian W. W. Yam is currently the Philip Wong Wilson Wong Professor in Chemistry and Energy and Chair Professor of Chemistry at The University of Hong Kong. She was elected to the Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences since 2001 and Fellow of TWAS, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World since 2006. She is the Laureate of the 2011 L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science, and recipient of a number of awards including the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Centenary Medal, State Natural Science Award, Japanese Photochemistry Association Eikohsha Award, Fulbright Distinguished Scholar, Out standing Women Professionals and Entrepreneurs Award, and Ten Outstanding Young Persons. She has published over 300 journal articles in international SCI journals and book chapters, and serves as the Associate Editor of the SCI journal, Inorganic Chemistry, published by the American Chemical Society. She also serves on the International Editorial Advisory Board of major SCI journals, such as the new RSC flagship journal, Chemical Science, ACS Nano of the American Chemical Society and Editorial Board of Coordination Chemistry Reviews (Elsevier), Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (Royal Society) and many others. Her research interests include the photophysics and photochemistry of transition metal complexes and clusters, supramolecular chemistry, and metal-based molecular functional materials for luminescence sensing, optoelectronics, optical memory and solar energy conversion.
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