Returning Chinese Scientists Back 'Home'

June 13, 2018  Editor: Wang Yue
Returning Chinese Scientists Back 'Home'
Yu Jihong, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who has been working at Jilin University for more than 20 years, conducts a scientific research at a lab in Jilin. [China Daily]

 

With technology rapidly advancing all over the world, scientists and researchers have a wide variety of choice in where to establish their careers. For many, that choice is clear: Jilin province in northeast China.

The path was blazed many years ago by Huang Danian, a late geophysicist who returned to China after studying and working in Great Britain for nearly two decades, setting an example for a new generation of Chinese scientists. It's a patriotic decision, as well as a practical one for him.

Huang devoted his whole life to education and the development of the country's geoexploration technology, both as a professor at Jilin University and a geophysicist in the sector. Inspired by Huang's life, Chang Yi, a senior computer expert, quit his high-paying job in the United States last year and came back to China.

Chang used to be a director at Yahoo Research and a technical vice-president of Huawei Research America.

"Though the previous jobs were lucrative, I wanted to go back to the place where my country needs me most to realize greater social value," Chang said. Now, he is ready to be the first head of the upcoming institute of artificial intelligence of Jilin University. "In the United States, I specialized in information retrieval, but it is a subset in the AI field and I will apply my knowledge to AI research in the coming work," Chang said.

Chang's new career goal is to make the institute the best in China and to simultaneously boost Jilin's economy through cooperation between the university and local enterprises.

Another scientist, Yu Jihong, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who has been working at Jilin University for more than 20 years, is committed to researching function-oriented design and synthesis of inorganic crystalline materials, which is a challenge in the field of synthetic chemistry.

Science needs to face failure more than success every day, she said, "but as long as you truly love it, stick to it, and believe in it, you will achieve success." In 2016, Yu and her team discovered the hydroxyl radicals accelerated zeolite crystallization mechanism for the first time, shedding a new light for the further studies of zeolites in the chemical industry.

For her work, Yu was honored as the Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry in 2017.

The same hard-working spirit has also motivated Leng Chunsheng, a renowned expert in the human insulin recombinant gene, who has made genetically modified human insulin a world brand with Chinese proprietary intellectual property.

"More than 92 million adults in China have diabetes, and it is increasing by 10 percent per year," Leng said, adding that China is now capable of innovating the technology to help restructure human insulin.

Wang Zuobin, a seasoned optical scientist, came back to Jilin in 2009 after 17 years of work and study in Great Britain.

He set up a nanometer measurement and manufacturing technology center at the Changchun University of Science and Technology.

"Having lived in Britain for so many years, I like the natural environment there very much, but compared with China, it lacks a cultural environment and a sense of belonging," Wang said.

Jiang Huilin, a 73-year-old professor at Changchun University of Science and Technology, has been devoting his work to optical research.

In 2015, Jiang was listed as a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. As for the work, Jiang said, "We're never too old to work and learn."

Agriculture is another focus for scientists' work.

Liang Zhengwei, for instance, has studied on infertile land management for more than 10 years. In 2003, he set up the Daan alkaline land ecological experimental station in Baicheng, Jilin province, focusing on improving land quality. "It was totally a barren land when I came here," Liang said, but now, the land has become an oasis for planting grain.

(Source: China Daily)

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