This past weekend two grade 12 students were invited to attend the prestigious U8 World Innovation Summit. Founded this year, the U8 World Innovation Summit was started by students from 8 top universities worldwide, including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Tsinghua and PKU. The U8 hosted 11 keynote speakers, among them were 6 Nobel Prize winners, the President of the World Economic Forum and the Former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, alongside many more distinguished speakers.

The summit aims to establish a global platform to bring together leading scientists, entrepreneurs, and investors with passionate young students through a series of intellectually intensive events, including keynote speeches, panel discussions, and interactive seminars. It was an opportunity of a lifetime for two top CISB students to attend. Hear what they had to say about it;

From Wanda Gao, Grade 12
Attending the U8 World Innovation Summit was an unforgettable experience. The Summit established a trans-national and multi-disciplinary platform consisting of scientists, humanists, entrepreneurs and professionals across the world. Each speaker provided insight and generated fascinating ideas about topics such as environmental sustainability, vaccines for Covid-19, and biodiversity in ecosystems.

Personally, my favourite speaker was Dr. Jean-Marie Lehn, Professor at the University of Strasbourg and the 1987 Chemistry Nobel Prize winner. Amongst the many questions, he answered, he explained how chemistry bridges the gap between physics and biology, acting as the “glue” between sciences. He described how in physics, the big overarching problem is the origin of the universe and the laws that govern it. In biology, this big problem shifts to the origin of life. However, when it comes to chemistry, many people do not think there is a big problem. They have the conception that chemists simply study molecules and build materials. This was when Dr. Lehn explained that chemistry builds the bridge between the general laws of physics and biology by asking the big question, “How can life emerge from these general laws?” In other words, “In such a vast universe, how are human beings existing on earth during such a specific time?” Discussions like this was why it was an honourable experience to join students from around the world and listen to these speakers share their knowledge.

From Albert Huang, Grade 12
The U8 Summit spanning from Saturday to Sunday was an amazing experience. Nobel prize winners, athletes, United Nations Representatives, and many others presented findings and research to discuss how humanity could continue its progress towards innovation. Fascinating themes such as equality, technological advancements, adaptation to Covid-19, and intellectual freedom and innovation permeated every panel suggesting the infinite possibilities of the future.

The most intriguing subject mentioned was self-healing materials, which was introduced by Chemistry Nobel Prize winner Dr. Jean Lehn. He discussed applying the field of Biology to Chemistry, specifically Supramolecular Chemistry, to develop self-healing materials, which could revolutionize modern medicine, sustainability, etc. In addition, his in-depth discussion of applying chemistry to an average person’s life was extremely inspiring and captivating.

Holistically, speakers of this Summit focused on how young adults could harness inspiration, innovation, and passion to better the world. This could be applied to the issue of sustainability, equality, scientific improvement, and technological improvement, which was the most enjoyable part.