It takes passion, patience and hard work to produce a Nobel laureate but the rewards are immense.
A SENIOR leader at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia hopes that the institution can produce a Nobel Prize winner.
“The university is the guardian of the national language and a custodian of excellence.
“It must perform above the others,” said UKM board of directors chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad at the launch of UKM’s 45th anniversary celebration, themed Guardian of the Nation: Inspiring Futures, Nurturing Possibilities.
UKM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali acknowledged that it is a huge challenge.
“But UKM is on track to hopefully achieve the Nobel Prize goal as it already has several researchers known for their work and programmes to nurture potential talents.
“Two Nobel Laureates, Sir Richard Roberts and Prof Muhammad Yunus, are part of our Laureate-in-Residence initiative, which sees them visiting our campus to share their expertise and help us develop research projects,” he said.
Prof Noor Azlan said the Nobelist Mindset Programme held together with the New York Academy of Science, offers selected students and teachers the training and exposure to become a Nobel Laureate.
To be a great university, he said UKM has to be relevant, referred to and respected.
Forty-five books by UKM Press were also launched at the event, featuring topics in the fields of Islamic studies, science and technology, and social science.
Prof Noor Azlan said that UKM has started working with Airbus to improve the group’s delivery process.
“Airbus is working with our Institute of Ethnic Studies to strengthen their operations across the globe.
“As a multinational operation, they know that understanding local communities is very important so they are tapping into our expertise on social issues,” he said.
The institute, he added, has a lab called Anthropotech that carries out research on social science and technology.
Prof Noor Azlan said one of the highlights for its 45th anniversary celebration is the 450km Charity Ride.
The ride, which he said symbolises UKM being with the people, saw a team cycle from UKM’s main campus in Bangi to its Perak campus in Teluk Intan and raising funds for two organisations.
Down memory lane
UKM registrar Asmahan Musa was in the group of pioneer students when the university moved from Kuala Lumpur to Bangi in 1977.
“Because it was so new then, the facilities were either very basic or incomplete. Some of the residential halls weren’t fully completed and we had to put up with water disruptions,” she said.
Asmahan who completed her sociology degree in 1981, said her department shoulders heavy responsibilities as it oversees the administration and welfare of students, lecturers and staff of the university and medical centre.
“We provide the necessary support, without which the university can’t function,” she said.
UKM deputy vice-chancellor (Academic and International Affairs) Prof Datuk Dr Riza Atiq Abdullah O K Rahmat, who completed his doctorate at UKM in 2001, is proud that his research on intelligent transport system is already in use in Bangi and Petaling Jaya.
“But I miss teaching greatly. I miss interacting with students and the opportunity to develop their personalities and soft skills,” he said.
UKM lecturer and low vision specialist Assoc Prof Datuk Dr Rokiah Omar said she took up teaching after four years in private practice.
“UKM was the first university to offer a Bachelor in Optometry degree. I had no idea what optometry was about as it was a new field then, but I was keen to explore what the profession could offer.
“It’s an honour to return to UKM as a lecturer and help develop the field,” she said.
Dr Rokiah carries out research on vision impairment with a focus on early detection and prevention among young children, consultancy and community work.