Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Chinese Students

When I went to East Tennessee State, I found that there were not as many Chinese students as at the University of Kentucky, since it does not offer a PhD degree in Chemistry. But there were always some Chinese students at the MS degree level. In 1980, one of my students finished his MS degree. He was from Taiwan and a good student. His name was Jack. To celebrate, Janice had a cook-out for him. Below are two pictures of Jack, Wendy, and Victor with our family. Margaret was away somewhere that weekend. Over the years, we had quite a number of Chinese students, especially after I started to visit China in 1980 when we had a dramatic increase. The final list was compiled and is posted below the pictures!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Most Important Invitation Letter

On April 9th, 1980, I received the most important Invitation letter from the Chair of the Chemistry Department of Beijing Normal University, which is reprinted below. The other letters posted in my last blog were just formal letters to show that the important decision had been made by the Department of Chemistry to invite me to be the main speaker for the UN sponsored program to provide appropriate specialty experts for the development of modern science in China. Hu Tze-bing (胡志斌), who was the Department Chair at the time, and the head of the Physical Chemistry Section (邓希贤)and a few others made the selection and asked me to visit the Department as a visiting scholar. It was a very important event for them. And I am sure that it was a very difficult and time-consuming process for them to make that selection. Clearly it was an important decision for me as well. While my Father did not want me to make this trip, as he was still leery about the communist world and felt that they could not be trusted,  I was determined to accept the invitation. This turned out to be a crucial decision, which had consequences, not only for me, but also for my family. It changed my life in many ways, as it not only affected my career, but also caused me to re-examine my identification as a Chinese person.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Invitation from China

I had put my resume on file with the United Nations about possible technical support which I might be able to provide if there was a need somewhere in the developing world. In early April of 1980, I was informed that China was very interested in my visit regarding to my specialty, Physical Chemistry laboratory education. First I heard from a UN Representative from China, then I received a formal invitation from the President of Beijing Normal University. Both letters are posted below. They were sent to me in April, 1980. After that, everything moved very quickly. By the middle of May, I had made my plans to visit China at the end of July. In the meantime, I was trying to convince my father that I knew what I was doing and that there was no danger to me concerning my visit to China, a communist regime. He was very much against my going there to teach! I am sorry that both letters below are in Chinese. Clearly one of the reasons I was given the assignment was my fluency in the Chinese language!