To Inspire. To Be Inspired. – 30 Stories on HKUST Faculty, Alumni and Students

Theoretical sciences can feel like a realm best left to a stratum of specialists, but Prof. Wang Yi believes we all have the right to be curious about and excited by scientific discovery. As children we are constantly curious about the world. That child-like wonder about asking “Why?” is unfortunately something many of us lose as adults. Prof. Wang Yi from the HKUST Department of Physics and a member of the Particle Theory and Cosmology group, believes we should never let curiosity dwindle — and he has a widely popular Douyin (what TikTok is known as in the Mainland) account to prove it. As a child, Prof. Wang didn’t just ask 100,000 questions — he read them, too. One Hundred Thousand Whys was a favorite book in the Wang family home. Yi’s father had the third edition, published in 1971, and Yi was gifted a later edition in the early 1990s, 97 when he was in primary school. He devoured the text. While there were many questions he understood, there were also many he did not. His favorite pages detailed complex quandaries from physics and mathematics, and, though he never quite grasped the book’s explanation of the theory of relativity, he was inspired. Today, Prof. Wang is an expert in theoretical high-energy physics and cosmology — the connection between the tiniest grains of the universe and the most enormous objects humankind has ever discovered. His area of expertise is in black holes, and his recent breakthroughs in predictions of telescopic imagery have shed light on how black holes evolve, as well as, ultimately, trying to answer the question of where we all came from. He continues to ponder questions such as “What happened right after the Big Bang?” and “What is the fate of the universe?” Listening to him lecture or speak about cosmic inflation — his current research interest — is a