The Yangtze River Scholars is a group of elites entitled by the Ministry of Education who follows the national strategy of ¡°develop the country through science and education¡± to attract and train some scholars who can help the important disciplines of China list in the 1st class in the international world. DUAN Wenyang, an professor in HEU, was the only expert on ship engineering who are award as the name of Yangtze River Scholar in 2013. This award is a prize from China ship and sea engineering field for his 20 years¡¯ devotion, is a prize from our nation for his great and long-term contributions to ship and sea engineering industry and it is also an achievement of HEU¡¯s hard work to train talents on ship and sea engineering area.
During this interview, Pro. Duan talked his theory incessantly. He also shared some memories about his experience, studying life and teaching life. From his stories, we are impressive to his dream of developing the sea power of China, his perfectionism to his theory and his deep love to our motherland.
China¡¯s Voice on the IMO Ocean Environment Protection Conference
As a scholar, Duan got the opportunity to speak of China which is the most pleased and delighted experience to him. In 2009, an international negotiation about IMO marine greenhouse gases emission decrease was held in London. In the meeting, Japanese experts proposed a design plan based on their rules to test ship energy efficiency. If the proposal got approval, it would have a big impact on China shipbuilding industry.
China¡¯s power supports its voice. Duan said, ¡°if we didn¡¯t make primary researches and didn¡¯t have theory to support our views, we would have no idea to other¡¯s proposal but only to follow them. ¡± After the Japanese expert finished his speech, Duan represented China to fire back to Japan. He found powerful evidences through his knowledge of the current researches in Europe to argue that Japan¡¯s proposal is one-sided and impractical. Then he introduced China¡¯s method to calculate Wave Added Resistance based on 2.5D Theory. His speech not only aroused international attention to the method but also helped him be praised by China Diplomacy Ministry.
The specification of international ship energy efficiency is still the focus in negotiations. Scientific researches about it are more and more competitive. Our national leaders made promises on the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (NCCPC) that China will improve the capability on ocean resources development, stimulate ocean economy, protect ocean ecology environment and national interests then finally build a country with strong sea power. Duan said he will meet the national needs and spare no effort to keep researching in this field and even make the whole world accept China standards.
Duan said, ¡°we are very close to the success.¡± He and his team found TEBEM that can increase the accuracy of navigation dynamic calculation. His method was advocated by the famous hydromechanics professor Odd Magnus Faltinsen who is also a foreign academician hired by the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE). In order to protect national interests, Duan will keep his researches on the shipbuilding energy efficiency standards making.
A Open Minded Man in Academy Group
In academy group, your voice only will be heard if you are the most advanced one. Duan¡¯s research subjects have never failed in applications of Natural Science Foundation of China, because all of his subjects are at the top of academic group. He said the his successful secret lies in academic communication.
Duan said, ¡°I like talking with people, exchanging my ideas with others. By this way, I can know what are they thinking and what are they doing. During talking, I can open my mind and get inspiration from it.¡± When Duan had the interview, he just came back from two important international meetings held in Korean and Japan respectively. He is a frequent visitor of the two meetings that one is the International Towing Tank Conference and the other is the International Workshop on Water Waves and Floating Bodies which are the most authoritative meetings in the world.
Every field has its academic groups who represent the world advanced level. Academic groups¡¯ approvals is important to a scholar¡¯s career. By communicating with those 1st class masters, a scholar can learn from them, show himself and seek cooperation. Duan takes the two meetings as such academic groups. He said, ¡°the two meetings require us writing what we don¡¯t know but cannot writing what we have already known. ¡± The latest information is gathered in there which helps Duan find his own inspirations.
How can we have a pleasant and effective communication with foreign professors? Duan said, he usually makes his homework before he meets foreign professors. When he talks to them, his knowledge of their academic subjects and achievements can help him be close to foreign professor in a very short time. Duan remembered when he was young, his favorite place in the school was the foreign journals reading room at school¡¯s old library where visitors were seldom. He learned knowledge from those journals like a sponge takes in water.
By attending international famous academic meeting, Duan also helped HEU get the reputation in hydrodynamics research field. He invited famous experts to our school, including NAE member Weber Stern, domestic expert WU Guoxiong and MA Qingwei, which made great contributions to HEU¡¯s talents plan.
Duan said, ¡°we won¡¯t stop at the level of foreign research work. We will surpass them.¡± Due to international communications, Duan becomes more and more sensitive to subjects that can lead in international world. So he is the 1st one to research on numerical tank at home. He and his team aim at the most advanced level and started the top-layer research on the virtual test environment, which exactly meet the need of our nation to develop sea power. He successfully stands on the top of academic field with his achievement and become an important member of some related organizations.
Big Academic Ideas in Small Notebooks
CHEN Jikang, a PhD. Student of Duan, said, Pro. Duan has a notebook with him to make logs of formula derivation and research progress. Duan said, DAI Yishan, Duan¡¯s professor who was a master of domestic hydrodynamics, also had such a notebook. When he learned from Dai, he also learned the habit.
Dai¡¯s serious academic spirit and brilliant calculating capability sets a good modal for Duan. Dai¡¯s strong memory is the most impressive thing to Duan. He recalled that Pro. Dai knows every formula¡¯s position in a English mathematical formula dictionary. He once asked Pro. Dai that how can he do that. Dai answered, ¡°I remember clearly because I often look up into the dictionary.¡± Duan keeps all his notebooks and the memory with his professor. He said, ¡°These staff are my history. They are the development of my academic ideas as well as the inheritance of my teacher¡¯s ideas. ¡±
Most of Duan¡¯s new ideas are written on his notebooks, ¡°Don¡¯t smile too much when you just get an idea. You have to spend time in proving them. Causality cannot be allowed in research. My teacher Pro. Dai said that we must be serious to academic research. New ideas must be tested again and again, even you can stop a while before a new test. ¡±
"We should start from the origin of a theory. If not, we will be doing something trivial even with huge investment.¡± Duan always keeps the original basic research. He said that we can take time to do it. No matter with 5 years or 10 years, keep going means making progress.
Duan has his philosophy of academic research, ¡°your choice decides the way you proceed. If you choose a high aim, you will be tried and slow liking walking on a slope. But you will find you are walking to the top with time passing. If you choose a flat road, you will be fast but your height will be zero.¡±
When we mention holiday, we means sunshine, beaches, sea-side scenery and delicious food. However in Duan¡¯s holiday he usually writes the applications of research subjects, uses computers to calculate and derivates formulas. As a holiday killer, Duan thinks there is no holiday in scientific research. He said, ¡°we have 3 days off for tomb sweeping. I will use the time to write a report of the results about numerical tank. Then I will try to apply for the National 973 Subject. ¡± When we talked about TEBEM, he said, ¡°I will use the labor festival holiday to finish the programming task and check results one more time.¡± He takes holidays as a prize for him to do researches.
With his hard working, Duan finally reached the 3rd academic level. The 3 levels are classified by himself. The 1st level is getting a overall knowledge of related area academic achievements. The 2nd level is analyzing advantages and disadvantages of these views and methods. The 3rd level, the most important one, is creating new thinking and methods that can surpass former one and push the development of science.
With 20-year thinking and researching, the idea that using Taylor Expansion to increase the calculation accuracy of ship hydrodynamic born in his notebook.
This theory is the most accurate calculation method in the world. It was an unsolved question in Potential Flow Theory of Ship Motions in Waves that was jointly written by DAI Yingsan and Duan in 2008. Duan was proud to say, ¡°if my teacher were alive, he would be very pleased to see it.¡±
A Leader in a Academic Team
"He is our leader in academic research,¡± some of his PhD. Students said.
It is very important for a scientific researcher to understand what is he doing and how can he do that. Duan is very clear to the answer. Theses with small changes and over packing is meaningless for Duan. But theses about the most advanced researches will be extremely meaningful treasure for Duan.
Duan said, ¡°choosing a right research subject is important to young researchers. It will be a disaster if students simulate teachers.¡± He thinks young researchers should choose a subject which he is interested in at first. Then he will develop the subject with his studying. He should aim at the top of his subject and keep researching.
"A team likes a tree which relies a lot on its body.¡± Duan helped young teachers and students design their academic subjects with his open mind and sharp eyes. He helped them make communications with foreign professors and catch the tendency of research development. His 1st PhD. Student ZHENG Xing assisted Pro. WU Guoxiong and Pro. MA Qingwei to develop the 4th generation meshless method applied in hydromechanics. MA Shan and ZHAO Binbin, two young members in Duan¡¯s team also made some academic achievements in their subjects. Both of them have 2 National Nature Science Foundation of China subjects. Duan said, ¡°I hope that if we keep on doing this, HEU will lead in the world within a decade.¡± And it is also the ¡°Sea Power Country¡± dream of Duan.
Everyone knows the hardship of scientific researching. ¡°Someone has to do it. Someone has to push the history keeping forward.¡± Money is not what Duan¡¯s team want. Reputations and approvals are also not their preferences. They are keen on primary subjects which can solve the hot difficulty in national economy development.
Primary researches are meaningless in others¡¯ eyes but it is significant in Duan¡¯s opinion. His most concerned problem, besides protecting national interests, is solving the supply difficulty of China ocean ships. He hopes Chinese sailors can work in a better environment, eat fresh vegetables and drink plenty water. He also know the poor condition in new established Sansha City. He will find the best way to build seawalls that can resist wind and waves. How can the sea platform resist waves? How to increase the security of sea workers? How to design a ship with high energy efficiency? How to reduce the pollution? And how to protect sea environment? All of them are Duan¡¯s subjects.
Duan said, ¡°our time is limited. We cannot do everything. We should choose things that are helpful to national science and technology improvement to do. As a scientific researcher, what kind of title I can get is not my concern. What I concern is what I can do will be significant to the development of national economy. This is also the final aim of our work.¡± Taking the national needs as his mission, keeping peace with industry development and being serious and perfect to his research subjects are Duan¡¯s principles. Actually he did it and his team and students are also trying to follow him.