Cover Feature
Sparkling at 88
He is 88 and sparkles at the thought of coming out with new discoveries. He is the force behind the technology that led to the development of solar cells and batteries. To boot, he is a Nobel laureate. A rare opportunity to sit at Prof Rudolph Marcus' feet and pick his brain is here
• Aaron Chiang (inaugural participant of the Istana Internship Programme)
• Sunku Sai Swaroop (child prodigy who graduated at 18)
• Kyla Tan (Miss Singapore International 2010)

Get physical, build Chemistry...You are curious about the way the earth spins, and want to discover the reason for the existence of universal quantities such as the charge of an electron or the speed of light. You wonder how the heavens are formed and aspire to find out what the vast cosmos has in store for mankind. Away from the heavens, you are fascinated by rock formations and mountains carved out by millennia of water and tectonic plate movements. It's no surprise that geography was one of your favourite subjects in school.

Whenever you discover the reasons or logic behind physical and mathematical phenomena, you craft succinct equations to express them, in the tradition of Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

Do your best work at the School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences, where you can explore subjects like quantum physics, tectonics and green and medicinal chemistry. Here, you'll put into practice the age-old belief that great inventions usually begin with a simple but complete formula, very much like how Sir Isaac Newton described the law of gravity. With the school's Division of Earth Sciences part of NTU's Earth Observatory of Singapore, you'll also get to rub shoulders with earth scientists who are considered among the world's very best.

This is also where you can learn how to bend light to create invisible cloaks, develop sensors that detect the smallest of bacteria, and analyse how climate change is affecting our planet. You can also be involved in the design of drugs to help fight cancer.

Graduates of the school have gained admission to top graduate schools around the world, including Harvard University, London School of Economics, UC Berkeley and University College London. Many are also recruited by marquee employers such as Bloomberg, BP, Citibank, GlaxoSmithKline and Singapore Airlines.

Rudolph A Marcus:

Sleepless and Loving It

This humble visiting professor is actually the man behind the famous theory of electron transfer, which has influenced the development of technology such as solar cells and batteries.

Today, far from seeking retirement at the age of 88, Prof Rudolph A Marcus is still putting his brain to work every single day tackling mathematical problems. In fact, the 1992 Nobel laureate in Chemistry says there isn't a minute that goes by without him working on his "hobby" of solving problems. His ideas are awake at bedtime and even in his dreams.

As a Nanyang Visiting Professor at the School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences, he makes it a point to share his experiences with undergraduates. He wants to inspire them to improve society.

In fact, he often tells them that the scientific discoveries of the last century are not enough. We are now facing new, challenging problems like global climate change and environmental pollution. These will have to be tackled by the next generation of bright sparks.