Meet Prof. Dr. Henry N. C. Wong

Why did you decide to become a scientist?

I began to love chemistry by doing my own chemical experiments at home when I was in secondary school.

What is your favourite chemical substance/reaction/equation/phenomenon…. why?

My favourite chemical substances are those molecules synthesized by myself, and my students. I like rearrangement reactions because they would usually lead to very unexpected chemical skeletons.

Which scientist influenced you the most?
My three mentors – Dr Edmund P. Woo, Professor Franz Sondheimer and Professor Robert B. Woodward.

Do you still remember your first (scientific) experiment and its result?
My first reaction was the preparation of hydrogen sulfide……

What in your view is the most significant scientific advancement (of the last ~100 years), why?
They have to be (1) the principle of general relativity, and (2) discovery of the double helical structure of DNA.

What is the most exciting part of your current research?
Telling my students when to stop…..

What is your favourite volume in Topics in Current Chemistry?
Volume 291 – Asymmetric Organocatalysis edited by Ben List.

What do you prefer: electronic or print publications?
I am an old-fashioned chemist. I like hard copies.

How can Topics in Current Chemistry best serve the scientific community?
It provides timely chapters in specific areas. As such, these volumes are very good reference materials.


© Henry WongHenry N. C. Wong, an organic chemist and Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS) and Member of the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, is currently Professor of Chemistry, Head of New Asia College, and Dean of Science of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. After receiving his Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from University College London in 1976, he worked successively as Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University (1976−1978), Ramsay Memorial Fellow at University College London (1978−1980), Associate Research Fellow at Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry (1980−1982) and Lecturer at Hong Kong Polytechnic (1982−1983). In 1983, he joined The Chinese University of Hong Kong as Lecturer (1983−1988), Senior Lecturer (1988−1992), Reader (1992−1996), Professor of Chemistry (since 1996), Head of New Asia College (2002-2010, 2013-) and Pro-Vice-Chancellor/Vice-President (2009-2013). [Publications] He has authored and co-authored more than 230 papers and book chapters. [Awards] National Natural Science Prize (1997, 2nd Class) and Croucher Senior Research Fellowship (1999). [Professional Activities] International Advisory Board members of Chem. Asian J., Topics in Current Chemistry, etc. [Research interests] Syntheses and studies of non-natural molecules and naturally occurring molecules.