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New academicians’ words for new academics
Author:Xiao Shan  Date:2017-12-07  Clicks:

Wuhan University has embraced two new academicians on her 124th birthday.  Xu Hongxing, Dean of School of Physics and Technology, and President Dou Xiankang were elected the academicians of Chinese Academy of Sciences. On 1st December, the two new CASs met with young faculty and students in the Old Library of Yingding, the highest academic hall of Wuhan University, sharing their academic discoveries, ideas and experiences.

Xu Hongxing and Dou Xiankang on the stage

A young teacher points out that academics nowadays tend to take an rather impatient and fickle attitude towards scientific research because papers published on authoritative journals are generally considered “high-qualified”, which therefore could be widely accepted. When responding to s puzzle on paper publishing, Professor Dou considers that there is no point in writing papers for a paper-writing purpose. For him, it is research results and contributions to all the human beings that matters rather than personal honor, which coincides with the trend of academicians selection this year. He believes that the development of technology and broadening scientific horizons in China will give birth to more promising Chinese scientists and scientific staff with higher academic tastes and academic appreciation that not simply concern about the current public response but the profound echoes of science. Professor Xu added that Chinese academic evaluation system will definitely improve in the future. It is unreasonable to judge an academic achievement solely by the authority of the publication for some vitally influential findings were not initially presented in the top journals. Of course, it does not mean that the accreditation of these authoritative academic journals is not important. Academics must strike a balance in between and stick to their initial aspirations, not just chase after the so-called authority.

A young teacher asking question

When it comes to the relation between applied researches and basic theory studies, Dou emphasized that there is no so-called purely applied or theoretical research because a solid theoretical knowledge is the precondition of applied research. Why are theory and application inseparable? Dou gives the case of the Internet. The original inventors of the Internet at first were to invent a tool for communication based on theory, and they would have never expected the extensive application of the Internet today. Hence, there is no need dwelling on the issue of “applied” or “theoretical”. Xu deems that the significance of these two aspects may vary among different disciplines as some studies are basic-oriented while others are applied-oriented, which renders basic theory studies and the applied research more crucial for their field respectively, so there is no definite conclusion

Dou Xiankang making a speech

Two academicians also share their experience about how to overcome obstacles in undergraduate study and during the research. Xu shares that two points matter the most--dare to think and dare to do. A good integration of these two can lead one nearer to his/her dream. Dou thinks that a sound basic knowledge during undergraduate period is crucial, or it will be difficult to deliver decent original findings. He plans that from the next semester, both academician Xu and he will try their best to provide physics courses for the undergraduates.

Xu Hongxing making a speech

For choosing a research field, is it more appropriate to get to the point at the beginning or make the decision after long-term previous exploration? How to find a research direction that one can diligently devote for decades? As for these questions, Xu says frankly that when he first grabbed on his research direction, he did not know what his findings would be, nor did he know whether it would be the direction he could stick to for decades. Generally, a specific problem is the trigger point, leading to a research direction. Dou mentions that when he came back to China, he almost threw away all that he learned because his work was then relatively uncorrelated with his expertise. However, he was then enlightened by his supervisor’s words -- “ groundbreaking researches are those innovative ones; one must break through his/her own way”. Since then he have been thinking about how to make a difference. “Despite the difficult start, a correct direction and the solid follow-up efforts will eventually lead to the results far beyond your expectations. In this process, innovation can set one out”, Dou says.

Their exchanges inspired all the academics present. The new academicians, and numerous teachers like them are the guides who deliver the scientific knowledge in an interesting, colorful and charming way. They make scientific researches no more a boring process. This is the strength of education.

(Rewritten by Jing Huichao, Edited by Shen Yuxi, Hu Sijia )


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