Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Yang Zhenning spoke at UCAS on 10 June concerning “My Experience of Study and Research”.
Professor Yang recalled his life from being a primary school student to a university professor. Prof. Yang read ‘Cosmos’ during high school, acquainting him with physics and arousing his interest in science. When war broke out, his family moved to Kunming where he studied a physics textbook for one month and was subsequently admitted to the National Southwest Associated University.
Almost all of his research concerned two of his university instructors, Professor Wu Daqiu and Professor Wang Zuxi. The lively debate and discussion he had with his classmates and friends, Professor Huang Kun and Professor Zhang Shoulian, also greatly helped Prof. Yang’s study of physics.
After the war, Prof. Yang went to the United States via India, entering the University of Chicago, where he met two scholars who had a lifelong impact on him, Professor Enrico Fermi and Professor Edward Teller. While physics education in China emphasizes deduction, in the United States induction is emphasized, Prof. Yang noted, adding that both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. The 20 months of laboratory research was by no means a success, but did serve as a key turning point in his life, as it was at that time that Prof. Yang became aware that he should focus on theoretical physics instead of laboratory physics. After graduating from the University of Chicago, Prof. Yang entered the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) where he remained for 17 years and had a large number of research results.
At the end of the lecture, Prof. Yang urged the students to put more time into learning the ways of expression in English, and spend more time reading English books, either fiction or poetry.