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Insight: "May 4th" Sharing Meeting - “Know Yourself, Understand the World”

JUN . 05 2017
Peking UniversityMay 25, 2017: May 4, 2017 was the 119th birthday of Peking University. On this special day, more than 60 teachers and students got on stage in Peking University Hall. They shared their stories by videos and speeches. From academics to education, campus construction to sense of belonging, they showed the panorama of school development.
 
The meeting

Wei Kunlin
Professor from School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences

Today I want to talk about my personal experience in teaching and learning at Peking University. Let me start with a picture of a brain:
This encephalic region is called the "social brain", that is, the parts of our brains that deal with people. You will find that they account for a large part of the cerebral cortex (including the subcortical structure). Why do our brains spend so much energy on the handling of information about "people"?
 
Because we all live within a community. Similarly, our learning and education are completed through communication with other people.
 
Indeed, most of human knowledge is transmitted through books, videos and audio materials, which in psychology are called explicit knowledge. It can be expressed clearly by language.
 
However, more knowledge is transmitted through the environment in which people live, including face-to-face communication.
 
This is why centers of human innovation, the academic centers, merely congregate in a couple of areas in the world.
 
Because even if books convey knowledge thoroughly and systematically, they cannot replace face-to-face communication between you and the author who wrote the books, especially their style of learning and thinking cannot be found in a textbook. This kind of knowledge is implicit knowledge.
 
I guess that's why we need a substantial part of brain area to handle social information.
 
Peking University is the best place to learn implicit knowledge. On campus, we can learn and communicate with people from different backgrounds and cultures. We are able to listen to and learn from renowned scholars, to achieve the perfect combination of science and art, to have a broader vision.
 
Such an academic environment provides us with the best learning environment. Starting from the first semester of a degree, students can choose a variety of professional courses, directly ask questions and speak to top scholars in each subject, and apply for entry into a laboratory in the forefront of scientific exploration.
 
Similarly, in this environment, some of your classmates and your teachers will lead a wave of innovation in the technology industry. Some join social campaigns to promote institutional change, and others dig further into the field of scientific research to leave footprints in scientific development. This peer pressure will push you to strive for success. This is the spur that Peking University grants everyone, namely, the implicit knowledge.
 
These are not what textbooks and online courses can provide. Although online courses gather video courseware of world's most capable teachers, they still cannot be compared with the educational experience in the top universities.
 
Great universities will never be defeated in the competition as long as the excellent. Motivated students and scholars spare no efforts to learn, to teach, and to explore.
 
 

Wei Kunlin
 
 Xiao Yineng, Doctor of Law School

Thanks for Professor Wei's sharing. We are growing up in this best field. I am glad to share my growth experience (and our story of Peking University) with you. Hello everyone! I am law school doctoral student Xiao Yineng. I spent eight years to find my passion here.
 
Eight years ago, I entered the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering after winning a gold medal in the International Olympiad. Because of the sound basic knowledge I obtained during the competition, I soon got into a research group to do research. "They who know nothing fear nothing." I was often immersed in the laboratory all night to do experimental samples, looking forward to good results, but the reality was always very cruel. I was really depressed. Solitude and frustration quickly crushed my research dream. In fact, I didn’t fully surrender, because I came to this school carrying a dream for the Nobel Prize. I didn't expect that my dream was this fragile.

So, since then, I had an idea: to do science education that can change the next generation. I hope to stimulate the science dreams in children's hearts, so that their curiosity and desire for exploration will grow, to the extent that can help them fight against loneliness and frustration on their scientific quest. I knew that my enthusiasm alone was not enough, as my scope of knowledge was too narrow. I was single minded and could not look at an issue from other perspectives. I chose to come to law school to study intellectual property rights, but then changed to study technological innovation.

In order to learn about children's science education, I also attended the school's start-up class. I am quite grateful for Professor Zhang Haixia of School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science, who gave me endless encouragement and support. She said: “This campus always supports an entrepreneur who loves science, understands the law, and wants to work in education.” During the period when I studied for my doctoral degree, I also met a group of entrepreneurs from other departments, so I was no longer as single minded as I was in the past. In my eight years at Peking University, I spent the first four years to find my own love, and spent the last four years to love my own love. This is my story at Peking University.
 
Xiao Yineng
 
Li Yuhan, an undergraduate of Yuanpei College

Hello everyone, I am Li Yuhan, a senior student from Yuanpei College. I major in politics, economics and philosophy, commonly known as PPE.
 
I am particularly fond of animals. I have been determined to be an animal breeder since I was a child. This dream was partly realized before entering PKU when I was a volunteer at a zoo for a year.

Later, I entered Peking University, came to Yuanpei College, and was free to choose any course on campus. In addition to PPE, I also chose a lot of courses in the School of Life Sciences and College of Urban and Environmental Sciences. At the same time, I also started new research. I did not know where the next part of my life would take me. But I knew one thing for sure: animals. I joined the Peking University Stray Cats Care Association, helping stray cats to find a home. In two years, we sent a total of 42 cats to new homes. As demanding as this work seemed, we were beyond happy. Later I was selected by the school to go to the Paris Institute of Political Studies as an exchange student. While there, I also participated in the United Nations Climate Conference, telling stories about how Chinese youth protected birds. There, I found that my voice could be heard by the world.
 
In my senior year, I took a magical class- "Protection of Biology" and met Professor Lv Zhi. I found out that a love for animals was not just a hobby, it could be a cause. And my professional background of politics, economics and philosophy could help me to solve the problems in animal protection.
 
Professor Lv asked me: "Yuhan, why do you want to do this?" I said: "Because I like animals." This is my one and only answer, but I know this is not enough, for I still do not have sufficient personal understanding in the area. This year, I received offers from Columbia University and Oxford University, but I decided not to go. I want to go to the source of the Yangtze River, Yellow River and Lancang River in Qinghai province to experience the protection work in the front line. A friend asked me, "Have you ever thought that the conditions there would be tough?" I said, "Yes, but I will try to get used to it.”
 
In my four years at Peking University, I defined my own PPE. PPE stands for Philosophy, Politics and Economics, but from my point of view, it also stands for People, Planet and Environment. Thank you Peking University, you let me find my own love and my future.
 
Li Yuhan

Written by
: Yang Yingxue
Edited by: Wang YuqingGan Zhonghao