U.S. Training of Chinese Scientists and Its Impact
In the 19th century, the agrarian Chinese society and the Manchu government could not defend China against the invasion of the industrialized Western powers. After a series of humiliating defeats, the Chinese leaders realized the need to learn Western industry and military technology.
The government thereafter selected top students for training abroad. Many of the scholars, such as Hu Shi and Zhu Kenzhen who came to the U.S. in 1910, made a major impact in China, not only in science and education but also in cultural movement and societal change. This lecture will highlight the stories of Professor Shih-I Pai and his contemporaries, who came from China to the U.S. to study in the 1930s and 1940s, and their contributions to both China and the U.S. This group of scientists included the gifted inventor Yao-Tzu Li, the famous rocket scientist
Qian Hsusen and the Nobel laureates Zheng-Ning Yang and Tsung-Dao. After the normalization of diplomatic relationships between the U.S. and China in the mid-1970s, there has been tremendous scientific interactions, and many U.S.-trained Chinese scientists have actively contributed to the advancement of science and technology. I will highlight some activities in the biomedical field that I witnessed. In conclusion, U.S-trained Chinese scientists contributed greatly to the scientific development in both the U.S. and China and to societal change in China. They continue to benefit not only the U.S. and China, but the entire world.