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Love for homeland:Deng Hexiang, a Wuhan scholar, pursuing academic life in his hometown
Author:Human Resources Department  Date:2017-11-14  Clicks:

Professor Deng Hexiang working in lab

Passion and patriotism

Deng Hexiang, a Wuhan native, once visited Wuhan University(WHU) in his boyhood. This experience deeply impressed him with the beautiful campus, profound history, and the sound academic atmosphere of WHU. The glamour of WHU as a comprehensive university and his love for the hometown lead Deng Hexiang’s career to Wuhan University.

Deng used to study and work at Fudan University and UC Berkeley. When it comes to the similarity between WHU and these two institutions, he mentions their shared long history, which is embodied not only in the architectures or scenery but also the temperament of teachers and students passed down.

Also, Deng speaks highly of the great progress in globalization made by Wuhan, and WHU in particular. WHU has stepped up its efforts on united academic training and opening up over recent years by providing many academic opportunities for both students and faculty members, such as the recently established laboratory jointly sponsored by WHU andUC Berkeley, annual meeting on chemistry and chemical engineering held among the Thousand Talents Plan winners, innumerable academic conferences, and regular academic lectures given by world-famous professors, to name just a few.

Meanwhile, WHU’s achievements are highly relevant to the environment and resources provided by Wuhan. Deng predicts that Wuhan, the hub connecting the central and western China, will become more international and a magnet with more opportunities for talents, as the city is far from the state of saturation.

Self-disciplinary scholar and caring instructor

Deng compares doing research to surfing for an appropriate timing. From his point of view, experiment is the soul of chemistry. Therefore, he chose to do experiment in his freshman year when his fellow schoolmates were pursuing a higher GPA. This decision helped him understand the meaning of scientific research at an early stage.

Deng thinks that an ideal research field for a researcher is the one that meets the demand of the country. Therefore, green energy storage becomes his study field. The new materials by his team can improve the storage of natural gas and capture carbon dioxide in the air, help to lower its concentration before the transformation process. On the one hand, energy, environment, and health are the three most promising areas attracting much attention in current China and many scientists hope to make a difference in these fields. On the other hand, China has done a great job in energy-related areas, including natural gas-powered taxi and the development of shale gas and combustible ice. All of these prove the prospect of sustainable energy development in China very broad. Hence, doing research which reflects the general trend can both serve better the nation and realize researchers’ values.

From an individual level, Deng defines a qualified scholar as the one with rigorous scholarship, concise presenting competence and research creativity.

Rigorous scholarship is the basic requirement from his supervisor Omar Yaghi and to his students. He asks students to provide theoretical foundation for every single academic statement. Therefore, readers can find rich supporting materials as many as 80 more pages from every piece of their papers, much more than those of other papers. For him and his students, the more detail-oriented, the better their researches will be.

It is of equal importance to acquire the ability of expressing core information concisely and precisely in an era of fast reading. Every image in Deng’s thesis is carefully processed since a straightforward picture is much clearer than tens of thousands of words. Throughout the essay-writing process, Deng requires an entire participation of all his students, helping them strengthen their practical abilities. Writing, another way of recreation, is able to constantly update students’ understanding towards scientific research and their competence to hit the needle from piles of information. Deng also suggests that his students and he tend to present their findings as throughout as possible in a single paper instead of two or even more separate ones.

Last but also the hardest one is creativity, one of the makings that world-class scientists have. The previous two requirements can be met through hardworking, but creativity is not something that is guaranteed by time costing. Therefore, Deng believes the significance of studying statistics and diving into different problems. It is very time-consuming to gain the ability of in-depth understanding, which, however, proves worthwhile.

He expresses his worries on the common behaviors among students as pursuing short-term research findings of plain values. From his view point, talents cultivation is more important than a project, and quality is more crucial than quantity. He returned home with initial aspiration to serve his country, so he has paid special attention to training student to be country-oriented talents instead of those bounded by research results.

Marching towards the future with down-to-earth endeavor

Deng always gets himself well prepared and he believes that a right direction will not be disturbed by how fast one goes ahead.  Besides, he can catch the stroke of luck in his life——the admission to Fudan University through discipline competition and the opportunity as a student of professor Yaghi in UC Berkeley. These experiences bring him significant changes that he doesn’t even know. Deng never thought that he could make so far in his academic journey, but what he knows is the necessity on lasting accumulation and hard work.

Deng Hexiang is a typical industrious and intelligent scholar, but also a fan of surfing. This sport inspires him indeed. Deng says, if people cannot surf at the best time, they may ride to the opposite direction of the wave or even encounter life-threatening accidents. As a matter of fact, it can also apply to research study which requires researchers to act in line with the general trend and know the time to forge ahead and the moment of stepping back.

Learn more about Deng Hexiao, please refer to http://en.whu.edu.cn/info/1073/3389.htm

Rewritten by Lixin, edited by Shen Yuxi, Hu Sijia

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