The First Material Youth Forum—Interview Three Professors
In the afternoon of January 10th 2017, the opening ceremony of the first session of Material Youth Forum and the Big Hands Holding Small Hands was held in the lecture hall 101 of science museum under the support of School of Materials Science and Engineering (XJTU-MSE) of Xi’an Jiaotong University. Prof. Evan Ma at the Johns Hopkins university, Prof. Ju Li, at the MIT, and Prof. Zhiwei Shan, the dean of XJTU-MSE, were invited to talk about life, work and scientific research face to face with the hundreds of students of MSE. The alumnus of XJTU included Jian Li, Hongbin Ke and Changqing Wei, Weibin Zhao, the secretary general of school education foundation, Xide Pan, the CPC committee of MSE, also attended this interview.
When asked the experience of study, work and research, it was the historical background that the professors all referred to. As the saying goes: ‘A hero is nothing but a product of his time’. So for scientific research personnel, people in different time would face different opportunities. They indicated that students in the new epoch would confronted with more opportunities to choose, so we youth should have stronger motivation to pursue our own life. But in the meanwhile, we should remember to oppose the eagerness for quick success and instant benefit, and we also should be guard against arrogance. Prof. E. Ma said that success is equal to happiness added to work.
As we all know, the standard to evaluate the scientific researchers’ work is the number of papers what they have published. So almost every graduate student dream to publish papers in some good journals, like Acta Materialia, Advanced Materials, and even Nature or Science. When asked how to balance the work and life, three professors had the same answer : Scientific research is not a piled up by the time but the ideas count. So in our daily life, we should keep a calm mind and a healthy body. ‘It doesn’t need to focus too much on article numbers for graduate students, but to consolidate the foundation of knowledge. And we should regard the relationship between supervisor and students as a fellow relationship and communicate with the supervisor when we have any troubles. Sometimes it may make us enlightened suddenly just due to the teacher's simple word’, Prof. Zhiwei Shan said.
In the new era, under the support of the state and school, more and more students have the opportunities to study abroad. Prof. J. Li and Prof. E. Ma thought that it was a good opportunity to augment experiences abroad and feel the different culture, system and history. ‘It’s very important to go out for a bit of overseas experience, and it will be great help for people’s work and life. Secondly, going abroad could make people clear and brave. They wouldn’t be affected by some medias or be afraid of something that limits their thoughts and behaviors, so people could promote their inner strength.’