The Needham Conference 2023 turns away from the traditional Needham’s so-called Grand Comparative Question “Why modern science developed in Europe but not in China?” which has been the subject of lively discussion and debate in many international forums over decades. Instead, it sets out to address his second, much under-explored, Grand Dialogical Question “Why and how did exchanges across multiple Eurasian civilisations lead to the birth and growth of modern science?”

The conference will be held at The HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) from 23 – 24 March 2023. With the theme “Needham’s Dialogical Vision: Understanding Science as a Multi-Civilizational Outcome”the two-day conference will bring together more than twenty leading scholars from across the world to address Needham’s dialogical question of how and why such exchanges across cultures came to enrich modern science today.

Program: CLICK here

Registration for in-person or online Zoom participation (23–24 March, 2023): CLICK here


  • Historical Sociology in Dialogue (Panel 1)
  • Cosmologies in Dialogue (Panels (Panels 2 & 3)
  • Natural Sciences in Dialogue (Panels 4 & 5)
  • Medical Traditions in Dialogue (Panel 6)
  • Modes of Inquiry in Dialogue (Panel 7)

Three public lectures at the Hong Kong Palace Museum (25 March, 2023, 9:00 am)

1. 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)

2. Technologies of the Book in Dunhuang during the 9th and 10th Centuries Professor

Imre GALAMBOS (East Asian Studies, University of Cambridge)

3. Babylonian and Chinese Astronomy: Comparison, Circulation, and Dialogue

Professor John STEELE (Brown University)

If you would like to join the three lectures in person on 25 March, please register here or write to the Secretariat: /