(Updated as of 20 February 2023)
Important notes:

1. Attendees are welcome to join the conference in-person or via Zoom, please indicate your preference on the event registration link.
2. The Zoom ID with password for online sessions will be sent to accepted participants by email in due course.
3. Unauthorized recording of any session is prohibited. Please obtain the consent from the speaker concerned for any adaptation/sharing of his/her presentation materials.
Should you have further enquiries, please feel free to contact the secretariat by email at
Needham’s Dialogical Vision: Understanding Science as a Multi-Civilizational Outcome
23 March 2023 (Thu)
Venue: HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study
08:30 - 09:00 Registration and Refreshments
09:00 - 09:15 Welcoming & Introductory Remarks
Dr. Peter L. LEE (Chairman, JNFSC & Chair, Needham Conference Organizing Committee)
Professor Nancy Yuk-Yu IP (President, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST))
Professor Martin JONES, Chairman, Needham Research Institute
09:15 - 09:45 Opening Keynote Address
Professor LEE Chack-fan (Director of the HKU – Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole)
09:45 - 10:00 Tea Break
Panel 1: Historical Sociology in Dialogue
Chair: Arun Bala
10:00 - 11:00 The Oceanic Paradigm of Historical Flows
Prasenjit DUARA (Duke University)
Revisiting the Needham Question: Beyond Transmissionism in Critiquing Eurocentricism
Raymond W.K. LAU (Hong Kong Metropolitan University)
Extending Needham’s Vision of Science: A Decolonial Perspective
Tung-yi KHO (Lingnan University)
11:00 - 11:30 Questions and Answers
11:30 - 13:30 Group Photo & Lunch
Panel 2: Cosmologies in Dialogue
Chair: Roger Hart
13:30 - 14:30 Persian Astronomy in China
Bill M. MAK (Needham Research Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom / The ISF Academy)
Needham’s Question: Did Needham Need to Pose It? Is it Misposed?
Keekok LEE (University of Manchester)
Sufera-no nuigaki (Selection on the Sphere): A Newly Discovered Japanese Cosmology Textbook to the Jesuits during Japan’s “Christian Century”
Ryuji HIRAOKA (Kyoto University)
14:30 - 15:00 Questions and Answers
15:00 - 15:20 Tea Break
Panel 3: Cosmologies in Dialogue
Chair: Imre Galambos
15:20 - 16:20 Needham’s Question from Perspective of Islamic Science
George SALIBA (American University of Beirut)
The Circulation of Babylonian Astral Science with some comments on ‘Questions’ in the History of Science
John STEELE (Brown University)
Scientific Exchanges with Qing China and the Formation of Local Science in Eighteenth-Century Korea
Jongtae LIM (Seoul National University)
16:20 - 16:50 Questions & Answers
16:50 - 17:10 Tea Break
Panel 4: Natural Sciences in Dialogue
Chair: Raymond W.K. Lau
17:10 - 18:10 Understanding Science as a Multi-Civilizational Outcome: The Early History of Linear Algebra
Roger HART (Texas Southern University)
Liberating Mathematics from Civilizations
George Gheverghese JOSEPH (University of Manchester)
The Physiology and Psychology of Vision in Ibn al-Haytham’s Optics
Nader EL-BIZRI (University of Sharjah)
18:10 - 18:30 Questions & Answers
19:00 - 21:30 Conference Dinner


24 March 2023 (Fri)
Venue: HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study
08:30 - 08:50 Registration
Panel 5: Natural Sciences in Dialogue
Chair: Gordon McOUAT
08:50 - 09:50 Practical and “Precise” Geographic Knowledge of the World Developed in the Premodern Chinese and Islamic Worlds through Multi-Civilizational Connections and Contacts
Hyunhee PARK (City University of New York)
Certain Joseph Needham’s Views and Achievements in the History of Science and Technology in China
Joseph Cheng-Yih CHEN (University of California San Diego)
Connected Cartographies: A Jesuit 17th Century Manuscript Map of East Asia and its East Asian Sources
Marco CABOARA (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)
09:50 - 10:20 Questions and Answers
10:20 - 10:40 Tea Break
Panel 6: Medical Traditions in Dialogue
Chair: Keekok Lee
10:40 - 12:00 Dialogues Among Healers: Herbal Medicine in the Dutch East Indies during the 19th Century
Hans POLS (University of Sydney)
Rethinking Mutual Medical Influence Between China and the West
Bridie ANDREWS (Bentley University)
In Search for the Right Point: Refashioning Acupuncture with Experiments and Standards
Wen-Hua KUO (National Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University)
The Survival of Old Book Forms on the Peripheries
Imre GALAMBOS (University of Cambridge)
12:00 - 12:40 Questions and Answers
12:40 - 14:00 Lunch
Panel 7: Modes of Inquiry in Dialogue
Chair: Bill M. Mak
14:00 - 15:20 Dialogue and Comparison Compared
H. Floris COHEN (Utrecht University)
Explaining the Rise of Modern Science: A Dialogical Perspective
Arun BALA (Independent Scholar)
Mathematics in India: Some Conceptual Themes
Sundar SARUKKAI (Formerly, National Institute of Advanced Studies)
From Unilinear Lineages to Indira Nets: How an East/West Encounter Offered a New Model of Knowledge Encounter and Exchange
Gordon MCOUAT (University of King’s College / Dalhousie University)
15:20 - 16:00 Questions and Answers
16:00 - 16:30 Tea Break
16:30 - 18:00 Wrap-Up & Roundtable Wrap-Up with Young Needham Scholars
18:00 - 18:30 Break
19:00 - 21:30 End of Conference Informal Buffet Dinner


The 13th Joseph Needham Memorial Lecture Series
25 March 2023 (Sat)
Venue: Hong Kong Palace Museum, West Kowloon Cultural District, 8 Museum Drive Kowloon, Hong Kong
09:00 - 09:30 Opening Remarks: Tributes to Dr. Joseph Needham
Dr. Peter L. LEE (Chairman, JNFSC)
Professor Martin K. JONES (Chairman, NRI)
Dr. Louis NG, (Director, Hong Kong Palace Museum)
09:30 - 11:00 The Process of Learning and Surpassing in the Advancement of Science and Civilizations
Professor LEE Chack Fan (Director of the HKU – Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole)
Technologies of the Book in Dunhuang during the 9th and 10th Centuries
Professor Imre GALAMBOS (East Asian Studies, University of Cambridge)
Babylonian and Chinese Astronomy: Comparison, Circulation, and Dialogue
Professor John STEELE (Brown University)
11:00 - 11:15 Tea & Coffee Break
11:15 - 12:45 Public Forum with Invited Speakers
Professor LEE Chack Fan (Director of the HKU – Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole)
Professor MEI Jianjun (Director, Needham Research Institute)
Dr. Bill MAK (Research Associate, Needham Research Institute / Director of Chinese Research Center, The ISF Academy)
Dr. Arun BALA (Conference Chair)
12:45 - 13:00 Concluding Remarks and Closing Ceremony