Frequently Asked Questions
About Professor Shing-Tung Yau
Professor Shing-Tung Yau is Professor of Harvard University and Director of Yau Mathematical Sciences Center, Tsinghua University. He initiated the S.T. Yau High School Science Award in 2008.
Professor Yau was awarded the Fields Medal, the highest award in mathematics, in 1982, and in 1994 he shared with Professor Simon Donaldson of Oxford University the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Society, in recognition of his “development of nonlinear techniques in differential geometry leading to the solution of several outstanding problems.”
Professor Yau has made fundamental contributions to differential geometry which have influenced a wide range of scientific disciplines, including astronomy and theoretical physics. With Professor Richard Schoen, Professor Yau solved a longstanding question in Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity by proving that the sum of the energy in the universe is positive; their proof has provided an important tool for understanding how black holes form.
To learn more about Professor Yau, you may want to visit http://ymsc.tsinghua.edu.cn/en/content/page/132.html
Q1. Is YHSA(Asia) the same as YHSA(Mainland China)?
The S.T. Yau High School Science Award is initiated by Professor Shing-Tung Yau to promote innovation, originality and creativity in scholarly activities among high school students. All regions of S.T. Yau High School Science Award share similar vision and academic scope. However, considering the various scientific backgrounds of different regions, the Award is divided into regions in order to focus outreach effort and promote participations. Therefore, except for the overall scientific oversight and coordination, YHSA(Asia) runs its competition programme independently, with its own regulations, management, assessment criteria and procedures, prizes, etc.
Q2. What is so special about YHSA(Asia)?
YHSA(Asia) is more than a competition for awards. It covers the whole Asian region outside Mainland China and thus can reach out for students with diverse nationalities, ethnicities, cultural and educational background. It nurtures students’ passion for scientific discovery, patience in investigation, and rigour in deliberation. It provides the brightest students with an opportunity to emerge early and fast. It also provides a platform for academics from universities to reach secondary school students as early as possible. And the prizes are in fact very prestigious.
Q3. Why is Mainland China excluded from the Asia Award?
NO, Mainland China is not excluded from the Asia Award. As a matter of fact, Professor Yau first initiated the Award in Mainland China in 2008. YHSA has been running successfully for over a decade in Mainland China and it is best to keep the focus of YHSA(Mainland China) on Mainland students in order to continue to nurture them to success with dedicated resources and attention.
Q4. Is YHSA(Asia) entirely managed by The Hong Kong Academy of Sciences (ASHK)?
NO. YHSA(Asia) is co-organised by The Hong Kong Academy of Sciences (ASHK) and Yau Mathematical Sciences Center (YMSC) of Tsinghua University. Nonetheless, YHSA(Asia) has its own governance structure for scientific oversight and management by its Scientific Advisory Board, Executive Committee, Regional Advisory Committee and Assessment Panels.
Q5. I am a non-local student studying in Hong Kong. Can I compete for YHSA(Asia)?
YES, all enrolled secondary school students in Hong Kong or the Asian region outside Mainland China are welcomed to compete for YHSA(Asia), regardless of nationality and ethnicity. For example, you could form a team of British, Japanese and Australian, so long as all team members are studying at the same secondary school in the Asian region outside Mainland China.
Q6. Can I join the competition all by myself?
YES, you can. Each team shall consist of 1 to 3 student member(s) from the same secondary school. However we reckon it may be more fun and rewarding to form a team to compete.
Q7. Can I join more than one team to increase my chances?
YES, it is possible. Although a student can only be listed in one team in any subject category, it is possible for him/her to join more than one team of multiple subject categories. For example, a student can join two teams, one in Mathematics and one in Biology. However the student cannot join two teams in Mathematics.
Q8. Can we ask teacher from tertiary institute to be our supervising teacher?
YES, you can. You can ask teacher from another school or tertiary institute to serve as your supervising teacher. HOWEVER, hiring of services from profit-making training/education institution to serve as supervising teacher is NOT allowed.
Q9. Do we need to inform our school principal about our participation in the competition?
YES, you should. Your school principal will need to sign on the page of "Commitments on academic honesty and integrity" of the research report after your pass the first stage of assessment.
Q10. How do we register?
Simply fill out and submit the registration form online. You will receive a Registration Number upon successful registration.
Q11. What information do I need to prepare for the registration?
You could refer to the registration form sample.
Q12. How do we know if we have successfully registered?
YHSA(Asia) will email a Registration Number to all team member(s) and supervising teacher if your registration has been accepted. So it is important that you provide the correct email address(es) to us.
Q13. Can we change our team members after successful registration?
NO, change of team members is normally NOT allowed after successful registration. We hope to nurture students’ persistence in research activities and patience in investigation, and we hope all team members, once committed, could start and complete the research project together. However if you encounter unforeseeable and difficult circumstances, you should first consult your supervising teacher. Then you could write to us stating your justification, and our Regional Director will consider your case on an exceptional basis.
Q14. Is the competition mainly about my language ability to write a long paper?
Not exactly. YHSA(Asia) is a research-based competition. It emphasises on innovation, originality, creativity and persistence in research activities. It encourages students and teachers to formulate issues with quantitative precision and scientific rationales. Scholarship and clarity of written report is ONLY one of the selection criteria.
Q15. Does winning an award guarantee university admission?
NO, YHSA(Asia) does not guarantee university admission. However, one of our goals is to establish YHSA(Asia) as a reference for university admission. From the experience of YHSA, over the years more than half of the awardees have been admitted to Tsinghua University, Peking University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, Princeton University, etc.
Q16. Can we choose a research topic outside your six subject categories?
NO. You have to choose ONE of the following subject categories for your research:
§ Mathematics (including mathematics and statistics)
§ Physics (including physics and engineering)
§ Biology (including biology and mathematical modeling of biological systems)
§ Chemistry (including chemistry and pharmaceutical science)
§ Computer Science
§ Economic and Financial Modeling
Q17. Is there any kind of financial subsidy for participants?
NO. Any expenses, e.g., expenses on experiment, travelling, accommodation, etc., incurred from the participation of YHSA(Asia) shall normally be borne by participants. However, YHSA(Asia) may provide limited airfare support to student(s) who reside(s) in Asian region other than Hong Kong, and have entered the third stage of assessment. The maximum level of support for different cities will be announced after the second stage of assessment. Student(s) should buy their economy air tickets first, then claim for reimbursement after the oral defense, subject to the maximum level of support announced.
Q18. If I am from outside Hong Kong and I have entered the oral defense, but I do not agree with the level of support provided by YHSA(Asia) for airfare, will YHSA(Asia) change the level of support of my city for me?
NO. Overseas students who decline the airfare support of YHSA(Asia) will have to pay for the full airfare at their own expenses for the third stage of assessment.
Q19. If I do not leave for/from Hong Kong directly from/to the city where I study, can I claim for the airfare all the way from/to my city?
NO. You can only claim for the airfare from the departing city to/from Hong Kong, subject to the maximum level of support announced by YHSA(Asia). Below are two examples for reference.
City where you study: Singapore
Your itinerary: Tokyo-HK-Singapore
Airfare you paid: HKD 2,800
YHSA(Asia) max. support: HKD 1,300 [lower]
Support you will receive from YHSA(Asia): HKD 1,300
City where you study: Dubai
Your itinerary: Dubai-HK-Taipei
Airfare you paid: HKD 2,800 [lower]
YHSA(Asia) max. support: HKD 3,000
Support you will receive from YHSA(Asia): HKD 2,800
Q20. Does the “two pages” limit for research outline include graphic, table, etc.?
YES. The research outline shall be limited to two A4 pages, regardless of the types of content.
Q21. Do we need to follow YHSA(Asia)'s format requirements when we submit our research outline/research report?
YES, you must do so. We may not process your submission if you fail to follow our format requirements. You could refer to our templates and samples when writing your research outline/report.
Q22. Can we choose to write our research paper according to some common standardised reference formats like MLA or APA?
You must first observe our format requirements. Then you could reference to the standardised reference formats when writing your research paper. Please consult your supervising teacher.
Q23. Can we write our research report in our own native language, which is not English?
NO. All teams shall write their research report either in English.
Q24. Do we need to run plagiarism check on our work?
NO. All research reports which have entered the third stage of assessment will be sent for plagiarism check by YHSA(Asia). And all submitted outlines/reports may be subjected to plagiarism check by YHSA(Asia) if deemed necessary by the Assessment Panels.
Q25. Can we also submit our research report to other competitions as well?
Research reports that have been submitted in the past or concurrently with other competitions, if declared as such in the research report, will be accepted by YHSA(Asia). Otherwise, the submission may be subject to disqualification.
Q26. If I cannot attend the oral defense in person, can I ask my teammates to present the research on my behalf?
NO, you cannot. All team members shall attend the oral defense in person. Any team member(s) who does/do not attend the oral defense in person will be disqualified from the competition.
Q27. What do we need to bring to the oral defense?
Essentially you MUST present your student card and identity card/passport for verification of your identity.
Q28. Will YHSA(Asia) provide interpretation service at the oral defense?
NO. All teams shall present their research and answer questions from the Assessment Panels by themselves in English. However, the Assessment Panel might offer limited help to the team during the oral defense if deemed necessary and possible by the Panel Chair.
Q29. Can we demonstrate the research process/procedure on-site to the Assessment Panel at the oral defense?
NO, you cannot. However you are welcomed to show your research output(s)/deliverable(s) to the Assessment Panel at the oral defense.
Q30. Do the selection criteria apply to all subject categories?
YES, all selection criteria apply to all six subject categories.
Q31. How do we know if we have passed any stage of assessment?
YHSA(Asia) will announce the assessment results on its website and notify the teams of their results by email. Therefore, it is important that you provide the correct email address(es) to us when you register for the competition.
Q32. Will YHSA(Asia) give out all the prizes of each subject category, no matter what?
NO. The Assessment Panel will make the corresponding recommendations after hearing all the oral defenses. The Panel may recommend FEWER prizes to be awarded if the Panel considers it appropriate.
Q33. What if I do not like the results of the competition?
The recommended list of awardees will be submitted by the Assessment Panels to the Regional Advisory Committee for final approval. And such approval shall be final. Participants must abide by the decisions of the Regional Advisory Committee.
Q34. Is the cash prize for the whole team or each of the individual team members?
Any award, including the cash prize, is for the whole team.
Q35. Can YHSA(Asia) teams participate in the YHSA Finale in Beijing?
YES, it is possible. Gold and Silver Prize winning teams of YHSA(Asia) will be recommended to compete with other regional semi-finalists at YHSA Finale in Beijing.
Q36. Are the prizes of YHSA(Asia) and YHSA Finale the same?
NO, they are not. The prizes of YHSA Finale can be found at http://www.yau-awards.science/?page_id=51&lang=en.
Q37. What do you mean by common standard of academic integrity?
The fundamental principle is academic honesty. YHSA(Asia) is fully committed to the principle of honesty, integrity and fair play in the conduct of the competition. And we expect all participants to uphold the same principle. Always undertake research honestly and credit others for their work.
Q38. What do you mean by YHSA(Asia) reserving first right of refusal on the work of awardees?
It means that YHSA(Asia) has the right to enter a transaction with the awardees (owners of the research work), before the awardees can enter any transaction with others. Therefore, if your team, after awarded, has a chance to publish or derive benefit from your work, you MUST first approach YHSA(Asia) before engaging in any transaction with a third party.
Q39. Where can I find the composition of the Assessment Panel of my subject category?
The composition of the Assessment Panels will NOT be announced to the public until the end of the competition.
Phone: (852) 3690 2704 / (852) 3907 0659