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Liu Zhongfan: Interest, Chance and Choice

MAY . 04 2016
Peking University, April 28, 2016: In the afternoon of April 28, academician Liu Zhongfan, professor at the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering and director of Center for Nanochemistry at Peking University, attended the 49th “Professor Salon”.
During the relaxing teatime, Liu had a free chat with students and discussed the topic of “interest, chance and choice” together. Liu made suggestions on how to make life choices based on personal interests and chances for development. Besides, Liu elaborated the meaning of culture in scientific research and teamwork, and he shared his experience and feeling upon his personal academic life.
 Liu sharing life experience with others
At first, Liu talked about the reason why he chose the topic. He shared with the students an article he wrote recently, and he held that interest was the motivation while chance was what one may encounter but may not ask for, and all kinds of chances fulfilled life through choice. Of course, “one could have many interests, but the choice related to one’s life direction is usually one and only, and not all interests can become life choices. Therefore, you need to judge and weigh so as to choose the one which is right for you.” Particularly when it comes to the choice of life career, “do not be troubled by others’ advice but listen to your own heart. Do not do things that you will feel regretful about. You need to be brave to undertake the responsibility of your choice as you need to be brave to make a choice.”
Since some students were puzzled about which research group they should choose to join in, Liu emphasized the importance of culture construction based on his personal learning experience. A long research experience and a background of studying abroad have made him realize that “if you want to do something different from what others do, you need to change your concept at first and gain improvement on culture. And the culture of a team and a research group is especially important.” When some students were hesitant and confused about various life choices, Liu pointed out that “facing the competition in your career, you need to have your own trump card. It is no big deal that you know many things when they are all superficial, but possessing a stunt is of the greatest importance.”
Some students were not sure of their interests and hesitated to change, so Liu suggested kindly, “If you have not found a better goal to work for, do not change easily and blindly. But if you have, choose to change decidedly.”

When students asked whether doing academic research for a long time would be boring, Liu laughed heartily and answered, “You need to carry enthusiasm to do scientific research and it is really important to do things with interest, passion and inspiration. When you feel like working, you can contribute all to it and then have a thorough relaxation. You cannot regard scientific research as a vocation, doing experiments and writing articles from a utilitarian perspective.” He also said, “Scientific research is full of uncertainty and nobody knows which path will lead to success. Entering from one entrance and exiting from another is also the interesting part of scientific research.”
At last, Liu posed for a group photo with the students to mark the occasion and offered a final piece of advice: Life should be less corrupted by materialism. It should be much purer.
Written by: Zhong Yaoqiong
Edited by: Xu Liangdi