# Honorary University Fellows

Professor Siu Man Keung received his BSc degree (double major in mathematics and physics) from HKU and a PhD in mathematics from Columbia University. After teaching for three years in the United States, he then returned to his alma mater in 1975, was promoted to Reader in 1992, and continued to teach and conduct research until his retirement in 2005.

Professor Siu has published research papers in mathematics and computer science, in history of mathematics and mathematics education, and several books in popularizing mathematics. In particular, he is most interested in integrating history of mathematics with the learning and teaching of mathematics, and has actively participated in an international community of History and Pedagogy of Mathematics since the mid-1980s.

In more recent years, he has extended his study to the role of mathematics in other areas of human endeavour. In particular, from 2006 to 2011 he collaborated with HKU colleagues in physics to conduct a workshop each year for school pupils, titled *Harmonies in Nature: A Dialogue Between Mathematics and Physics*. From 2000 to 2009 he devoted much of his time to teaching a course for undergraduates from all Faculties, titled *Mathematics: A Cultural Heritage*, in the tradition of liberal studies.

Citation delivered by Professor Sun KWOK, Dean of Science

Professor Siu Man Keung received his BSc degree (double major in mathematics and physics) from HKU and a PhD in mathematics from Columbia University.

Although many will know that he has spent a lifetime as both a student and teacher of mathematics at HKU, it is perhaps less well known that he has an interest in literature and languages as well.

And in today’s context, it is perhaps appropriate to reveal that Professor Siu feels that his life’s work can be best described in a quotation from the 14th century English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer.

For he says that, like the Oxford cleric in Chaucer’s *The Canterbury Tales*: “gladly would he learn, and gladly teach”.

*The Canterbury Tales* is essentially a story about a journey, and Professor Siu’s journey begins in 1963 as an undergraduate in the HKU Faculty of Science.

After graduating from HKU, Professor Siu taught for three years in the United States, and then returned to his *alma mater* in 1975.

He was promoted to Reader in 1992, and continued to teach and conduct research until his retirement in 2005.

Professor Siu has published research papers in mathematics and computer science, in history of mathematics and mathematics education, and several books in popularizing mathematics.

In particular, he is most interested in integrating history of mathematics with the learning and teaching of mathematics, and has actively participated in an international community of History and Pedagogy of Mathematics since the mid-1980s.

In more recent years, he has extended his study to the role of mathematics in other areas of human endeavour.

In particular, from 2006 to 2011 he collaborated with HKU colleagues in physics to conduct a workshop each year for school pupils, titled *Harmonies in Nature: A Dialogue Between Mathematics and Physics*.

From 2000 to 2009 he devoted much of his time to teaching a course for undergraduates from all Faculties, titled Mathematics: A Cultural Heritage, in the tradition of liberal studies.

Finally, perhaps it is not completely surprising that Professor Siu should turn to the arts for a way to describe his life’s work. In giving advice to undergrads fresh to the study of Mathematics at a university level, he has said (and I quote):

“Mathematics is where wild imagination and meticulous rigour can go hand in hand.” *1

The University and the discipline has certainly benefitted from Professor Siu’s lifetime of inspiring intellect and impressive imagination.

It gives me great pleasure, Mr Pro-Chancellor, to present Professor Siu Man Keung for the Honorary University Fellowship, in recognition of his contributions to Hong Kong and academia.

Notes

*1. ‘Some Advice to an Undergraduate on the Study of Mathematics’ (August 30, 2004) http://hkumath.hku.hk/~mks/some_advice_04.pdf (downloaded September 2011)