Nobel laureate Robert B Laughlin inspires university students

  • Honeywell initiative provides interactions with Nobel laureates, Honeywell technologists
  • Honeywell collaborates with local technical universities on various programmes


Nobel laureate Robert B Laughlin inspires university students


ROBERT B. Laughlin, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in physics, spoke to more than 2,000 students and professors at Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) on Jan 18 as part of the Honeywell Initiative for Science & Engineering (HISE). It is the first time Honeywell’s global programme was presented at UTP. 

Sponsored by Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company’s corporate citizenship initiative, HISE aims to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) through multiple interactions with Nobel laureates and Honeywell technologists.

The initiative, which includes a series of laureate lectures and career discussions with Honeywell engineers, has benefitted thousands of students and teachers at top universities in China, the Czech Republic, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Romania and the United States for more than a decade.

Laughlin, who received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of a new form of quantum fluid with fractionally charged excitations, is among 27 Nobel laureates sponsored by Honeywell at universities worldwide since 2006. His discovery opened a new chapter in condensed matter physics.

Laughlin is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass professor of physics and applied physics at Stanford University. He earned a B.A. in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served as the president of South Korea public research university KAIST. His many awards include the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Physics and the Onsager Award.

During his lecture, Laughlin encouraged students to pursue their dreams, regardless of the challenges they may have to overcome. “Great people come from all walks of life. Stay true to yourself, stay focused, and you will succeed,” he said.

“At UTP, we are committed to ensuring we are a centre for creating and sharing new knowledge that promotes a lifelong desire among our students to learn, discover and innovate,” said UTP acting vice chancellor and chief executive officer Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Honeywell and welcome Nobel laureate Robert Laughlin to our campus. Our hope is that today’s HISE event helps students see their career possibilities.”

“The complexities of today’s world require young people to be equipped with a new set of knowledge and skills to solve difficult problems. By offering UTP students the opportunity to learn from a Nobel laureate and interact with Honeywell engineers, we hope to prepare students for a workforce where success comes not just from their knowledge of STEM subjects, but what they are able to do with that knowledge,” said Honeywell ASEAN president Briand Greer.

Honeywell closely cooperates with Malaysia’s technical universities on programmes such as engineering lectures, collaborative projects, student events, academic thesis opportunities and internships.

The HISE event marks the second time the programme has been presented at a university in Malaysia. In 2010, the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur hosted the HISE event.

Honeywell Hometown Solutions (HHS) supports STEM education in Malaysia through multiple programs. For example, 24 Malaysian lower secondary school science and maths teachers have attended the Honeywell Educators at Space Academy at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC) in the United States since the program began in 2004.

HHS has also sponsored 10 Malaysian upper secondary school students at the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy at the USSRC. Additionally, last year HHS launched the Honeywell’s Safe Kids at Home programme in Malaysia, educating 6,000 children on how to avoid fire, burns and scalds in the home.


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