Distinguished Science Alumni Awards 2004
KIANG Ai Kim
Emeritus Professor Kiang Ai Kim is well-known as the most senior Professor of Chemistry in Singapore and this region. Born in Singapore on 8 November 1915, Professor Kiang graduated from Raffles College with a First Class Diploma in Science in 1938. He then became the first Singaporean scientist to join the Department of Chemistry of Raffles College, and played a crucial role in re-establishing the Department immediately after the Second World War.
He obtained from the University of London the external degrees of BSc in 1939 and BSc Special in Chemistry in 1948. In 1949, he was awarded the Queen's Fellowship for postgraduate study at Cambridge University. After obtaining his PhD in 1952, he was appointed a lecturer in the University of Malaya, Singapore. In 1960, he became the first Singaporean to be the Professor and Head of the Department of Chemistry. Professor Kiang was very much an integral part of the University throughout his years of service. With great enthusiasm and drive, he threw himself whole-heartedly into building up the Department into one of the best not only in the University, but also in the region.
The 10-storey Science Tower built at the Bukit Timah campus to accommodate the Department of Chemistry stands as a constant reminder of Professor Kiang's devotion to the cause of scientific education in Singapore.
From 1968 to 1971, Professor Kiang served as Dean of the Faculty of Science in the University of Singapore. His able leadership of the Faculty ensured its smooth and steady development. He also served as the Master of Raffles Hall from 1959 to 1960 and is fondly remembered by the former resident students as their mentor and friend. In recognition of his distinguished scholarship and outstanding service to the University for more than 30 years, he was conferred the title of Emeritus Professor when he retired in 1971.
In 1975, Professor Kiang was invited to head the Department of Chemistry at Nanyang University. He gave much support and encouragement to the staff and students and helped bring about a smooth merger of the two Departments of Chemistry when the National University of Singapore was formed in 1980. He finally retired from academic life in 1980 at the age of 65.
By dint of hard work and determination, and endowed with a brilliant mind, Emeritus Professor Kiang Ai Kim has made his mark in Singapore and in the scientific world. He has given unreservedly of himself in 33 years of devoted service to Raffles College and later to the University. It is appropriate that the Distinguished Science Alumni Award be bestowed on Emeritus Professor Kiang Ai Kim. His very person and extensive contributions will continue to be a source of inspiration to many generations of future scholars and leaders of Singapore.
"The basic laws of nature's forces are instant, but the changes in the lives and environments of man are inevitable. Happy is the man who can adapt to the changes."