On October 21st, 2020, invited by the College of Engineering, Peking University (COE, PKU), Professor Sir Jim McDonald of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK gives an online lecture to nearly 200 students of COE. The lecture was hosted by Prof. Jie Song, associate dean for international exchange and professional education of the College of Engineering.
Prof. Jie Song hosts the lecture
The lecture serves as a lesson of the course “Introduction to Modern Engineering”, a compulsory course for all engineering freshmen, which is designed to invite outstanding academics and experts from outside the university to help broaden the students’ vision.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald is currently the Principal of University of Strathclyde, and President and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK. He is responsible for the day-to-day management of the University and is also responsible to the University Court for the finances of the University. In January 2020, Sir Jim was received by Chinese PM LI Keqiang recommended by MOST and promote and strengthen the collaboration in Engineering and Technology between China and the UK.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the lecture was organized both online and onsite. Prof. McDonald, with himself in Scotland, gives the lecture online, while over 150 freshmen, master and Ph.D. students, faculty members and post-docs attend the lecture onsite in the classroom. There are also many online audiences such as scholars from other universities, foreign students of the College of Engineering who are not able to come back to campus, professional engineering students, and students who are having international exchanges in other countries at the moment.
Prior to the lecture, Prof. Hongwei Xia, Director of Office of International Relations, Peking University warmly welcomed Sir McDonald and the onsite and online student audience. Xia said, “the event is a good encouragement to the students to learn about the research in the UK.”
Prof. Hongwei Xia welcomes Sir McDonald and the audience
In his lecture entitled “Energy Systems for the 21st Century - The 3Ds: decentralisation; decarbonisation; digitalisation”, Professor Sir Jim McDonald pointed out that the need to safeguard energy supplies while addressing urgent environmental demands is one of the biggest global challenges today.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald gives the lecture
He firstly analyzed the major environmental, safety, and economic challenges in the current energy system, and then introduced the 3Ds solution- decentralization, decarbonization, and digitalization. After giving a vision of future power system supported by oil and gas, wind, solar, and nuclear power, he emphasized the need for international & national leadership, vision and innovation. “It is the engineers who will build a new decarbonized future energy system” said McDonald.
McDonald’s talk aroused great interests among the audience. In the Q&A session, both students onsite and scholars online raised insightful questions, such as “how to build a new layout based on the current city?”, “what is the future of controlled nuclear fusion” and “Will floating devices on the sea seriously harm the natural wave, tide and marine system, and be a disturbance to ships?” for which McDonald answered happily.
“I am very happy to talk with so many scholars and students,” said McDonald, “Because of the impact of the pandemic, I haven’t seen so many students sitting in the classroom for quite a long time.”
“This kind of event is very beneficial for both sides,” said Prof. Song of the College of Engineering, “we look forward to deeper cooperation and international exchange in the future.”