(Shanghai, March 29, 2023) The first on site T-Workshop of the “Next Generation Scientists” Training Program themed: When Teenagers Meet Spring took place this spring on March 24 in the ShanghaiTech University. Tutors and their students finally met each others in person after several online sessions. More than one hundred students and guests participated in the workshop personally. DONG Jiajia, Distinguished Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; JIANG Xuefeng, Professor, East China Normal University; HAN Fei, Associate Director of Admissions Office, ShanghaiTech University; SHI Yu, Professor, Fudan University, XIANG Suncheng, Associate Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and YU Wenxia, Post-doc, Kornberg Center for Structural Biology(KCSB) Gene Engineering made inspiring keynote speeches and carried out heated discussions with the students.
In the tutors’ speeches, all of them mentioned the original motivations for pursuing scientific career. What impressed the students most was that of professor JIANG who had been getting up early at 4 a.m. everyday for doing research, quoting “you will never get boring if its is your intrinsic interest”. His opinion was agreed by professor DONG, who asserted that nothing could sap your passion for science if it was indeed genuine passion. He further shared his never so smooth research experience with all the students. During the almost four fruitless years in the US, professor DONG had once felt depressed and doomed. However, with his incessant endeavour, his research project made significant progress “unexpectedly”. At first glance it was largely attributed to sheer luck. Scratch under the surface, however, and you will see that it was his great efforts regardless of hampers and dampers that led to his success. “Deep down in the heart of depression, it was challenge”, professor JIANG encouraged students to surmount numerous difficulties on the scientific path, which echoed one of the goals of “Next Generation Scientists” Training Program--developing the ability of keeping researching despite failures.
When recalling their memories of teenager life, the tutors raved about the abundant opportunities and resources students nowadays possessed. There were days when the computer was the rare, so that they practiced typewriting on makeshift paper keyboards; but today almost everybody have one in their pocket--the smart phone. With the ever-emerging new technologies in the information explosion era, such as the hotspot in recent days--ChatGPT and automatic AI translation, the ability to always be critical and raising questions of high quality presented its importance. How to lay a solid foundation for scientific research? Read more and practice often. “If you begin questioning after reading, whether it is valid or not, it is a big step forward and precious experience”, commented by professor JIANG. While professor DONG’s advice was “questioning the first assumption” and that was where innovation lied.
“Health comes first, you need a healthy body to enjoy the beauty of science.” Professor JIANG’s suggestion spoke the minds of all the tutors. Like the 2002 Nobel Prize laureate Kurt WÜTHRICH, he had been keen in doing sports, even on a daily basis. While professor XIANG also pointed out sports as the way of relieving stress to achieve a balanced life. Students deserved a rich life according to professor HAN, they should be bestowed with free time to plan for themselves and to do their hobbies which was summarized by Post-doc YU as “free-range education”. Sports and hobbies add colour to the dull routine of daily life while refill the passion and energy tank for science.
The T-Workshop drew to an end in an active atmosphere, with students and their tutors carrying out lively Q & A discussions. The next science camp is on its way where students will be guided by their tutors on a field trip to the research institutions and receive guidance for their research projects.
The “Next Generation Scientists” Training Program is co-hosted by World Laureates Association Shanghai Center and Shanghai Municipal Education Commission.
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