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Former SJTU President Fan Xuji Guests the Master Forum

May 17, 2012      Author: Dong Wenqi, Wang Yixia

On the afternoon of May 16, the Lecture Hall 100 of Chen Ruiqiu Building was fully packed with over 500 SJTU students who came to share the research and education experience of Prof. Fan xuji, former SJTU President, in the Master Forum. SJTU President Zhang Jie attended and addressed the forum.

In his speech, President Zhang Jie mentioned that the Master Forum aims to open up a brand-new thinking model for postgraduates and undergraduates. The most important distinction between postgraduate study and undergraduate study is thinking, which is essential besides knowledge acquiring. Zhang Jie hoped that every postgraduate could attend the Forum at least 20 to 30 times since it provides valuable thinking and intellectual treasure.

Prof. Fan graduated from California Institute of Technology in 1940. He has been long engaged in the applied research of mechanics and once conducted and directed the 3 m low-speed wind tunnel of Zhejiang University. He has made great contributions to China's aeronautical science and industry with great achievements. When he served as the 36th President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, he proposed the training system of top professors and simultaneous development of research and teaching, which had a profound impact on China's education reform.

Fan Xuji talked about his legendary life experience: he traveled across oceans to study in California Institute of Technology (USA) and returned to China for research despite the hardships; with full commitment to career, he changed research directions to meet the request of the times. Now at the venerable age of 98, he is still active and directs researches and postgraduates and PhD candidates. His wealth of experience has left SJTU students awestruck.

Fan Xuji told about his research experience from five aspects of "linking theory to practice, the spirit of collaboration, the spirit of innovation, dialectical thinking and research ethics". The mentioning of his PhD supervisor Prof. Theodore Von Karman, the requirements for research fellow, the suggestions for postgraduates and PhD candidates and his stand against the academic fraud all exemplified his views. The inculcation from Fan Xuji drew applauses from SJTU students.

Fan Xuji and Qian Xuesen were good friends and disciples of the same tutor. Fan shared his opinions on Qian Xuesen's Question - Why do our schools always fail to nurture outstanding talents? While there is room for improvement in China's education system, the flexible teaching system and heuristic teaching form abroad can to some extent inspire students' research interest and encourage teacher-student communication, which is quite significant to the nurturing of outstanding talents. Fan Xuji hoped that SJTU students could learn from Qian Xuesen with concrete actions to become innovative and top-notch talents and contribute to the scientific progress of China.

At the end of the Forum, Fan Xuji sent verbal message to SJTU students: to quench undesirable desires and keep a pure heart with concentration on a career you are passionate about; to closely link your career with the fate of China with contributions to the development and social progress in China. Students present benefited a lot and would remember the words of Prof. Fan and do their parts in China's development.


Translated by Tian Cong