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【Interview】Cao Chuanbao: Prof. Cao and His “Iron Brother” in the Lab

release date :2014-03-24 03:25:45  |   [ close window ]ViewCount:
Compiler: News Center of BIT  Zhao Lin

    Above and under the desk, in the cabinet, beside the chair, around the corner…this 20-square narrow office is filled and jammed with books and academic journals. The most daunting thing is that books not only occupies the cabinet beside the wall, but also stands on the cabinet, nearly 0.5 meter. All together, it is as tall as two persons. Here, is professor Cao’s office, a reverential place.
    Professor Cao, came to teach in BIT in 1994, which has been 20 years. 20 years sounds very long, but once devoting it to the research, it feels so short. Professor Cao, has written hundreds of international high level papers, applied for over 30 patents, led more than 50 excellent postgraduates and Ph.D students. In addition, he was named the excellent talent in the new century. The honor is great enough, but there is a laurel for professor Cao: the tutor who led the most overseas Ph.D students.
Modest as usual and talents surpass
    Professor Cao left a modest and low-key impression on us. Although he has achieved a lot, they have rarely been reported. His students were excellent, but he treats them as usual. Up to now, three terms of overseas students has been graduated from professor Cao. There are 7 active overseas students in professor Cao’s lab, consisting of 4 terms of Ph.D students who comes from Pakistan. In fact, more than 10 overseas students apply for enrollments to follow professor Cao to finish Ph.D degree, but because of  numerus clausus, only a few superior students can get the opportunities. When it comes to the special relationship between the overseas students and professor Cao, we can start from the first overseas student that professor Cao led.
    Vahed, the first student that professor Cao led, is a Pakistani. He started his Ph.D in 2007 and he has graduated for 3 years. When he first came to BIT to finish his Ph.D degree, he wrote a scientific research plan about organic optoelectronics. However, having learned for a period of time and visited the labs and read many tutors’s papers, Vehed cleared his learning major and research field: he would learned professor Cao’s material science.
    Interest helped him take the first step of deciding field, but in order to achieve the dreaming goal, he had a long way to go. The key obstruction is language. With the patient communication and careful direction of professor’s Cao, Vehed soon got accustomed to the environment of the lab, decided his interest field, and devoted himself to the research field of material science, with his knowledge level improved quickly. During the time he studied his Ph.D degree, he issued over 10 papers in international periodicals. During his stay in China, he not only learned a lot of knowledge, but also acquired the precious friendship with professor Cao. After coming back to Pakistan, Vehed contributed what he learned in China to Pakistan’s scientific research. When Pakistan held the international academic conference, professor was invited as the special guest to present an academic report. Now, Vehed often missed his professor in China and they often communicate their academic results through emails.
    Talents are often seen, but those who can find talents are rare. When Vehed started to follow professor Cao, he often recommended professor Cao to others. Many students from Pakistan envied him very much, so many students apply for enrollments to follow professor Cao every year. Professor Cao have to recommend many overseas students to his colleagues.
    As to overseas students, professor Cao is very strict. Now BIT Ph.D education lasts 4 years. Course learning is for the first semester, and then students will do researches in the labs. Meanwhile, conclusion communication meetings are held by taking lab as a unit to report progress and solve problems every week. Such is the standard of Chinese students ,overseas students as well. Because overseas students have difficulty in listening to the courses in the first semester, professor Cao recommends textbooks to them and gives them special guides, making sure that they pass every subject. “ You can’t came here just for a degree or regard language as an excuse for your poor results. Choose a field and be patient, and you’ll gain a good result.” professor Cao often uses these sentences to educate and encourage hie overseas students.
    With the high standard requirements and patient guides of professor Cao, the quality and quantity of their publicly published papers are higher than those of the requirements of BIT for overseas students.
Teach students with patience, enjoy life with relaxation  

    In order to make the students capitalize upon their abilities, strictness is not enough. Professor Cao is good at directing students with patience and methods. The first thing before a potential Ph.D is to choose a topic. A good or bad and broad or narrow topic will directly decide the extent of the last result. Usually, professor Cao will choose an appropriate topic for the student after he knows a student well. Facing some students who have strong positions, professor Cao won’t oppose them. He will teach students in accordance of their aptitude and interests, encourage them to make attempts actively, and help them realize that their thoughts should be insisted or adjusted in the shortest time, which will save a lot of time and help students choose the right field. “ Never easily order students to do something ,but to direct them to do actively” that’s the principle of professor Cao of being a teacher.

 In the work, professor Cao is very strict, but in life, he is very kind. Students are often concentrated on the research in the labs and the atmosphere is usually boring. Therefore, professor Cao often plays badminton with students in his spare time to make friendly contacts and relax. “ It’s hard to express the pleasure when we play badminton with professor Cao.” Overseas students see professor Cao’s openness in the sport. They will play badminton almost every week, so their skills gradually improve. Their team has got 2 champions in School of Material Science and Engineering. To both professor Cao and the overseas students, these are beautiful memories.
    In addition, professor Cao organizes dinner party, touring, climbing the mountains and other different activities every year. “ In these activities, he is like a friend with whom you can open your heart to talk, rather than high above and inapproachable.” that’s the remark of overseas students. Blending in the activities of the labs, overseas students often take their families to take part in these activities. Different racial colors can’t prevent deep friendship, and different accents can’t separate the emotion between the professor and students.
Hearts of teacher and students get together, friendship between two countries last forever

    Professor Cao and chinese students’ help in daily life makes overseas students warm. Most of these overseas students could only speak “ hello” in Chinese when they came to BIT. They need Chinese students’ help when they buy material and chemicals which are needed in doing research or when they don’t feel well and go to see the doctor. It is a big challenge for them to leave home for a foreign country to study for long, but professor Cao and students’ considerate help make them feel the warm of home.
    Fahamu, a Dr. Grade four student, coming to BIT with Chinese government scholarship, still remember the scene when he first saw professor Cao. Then he and professor Cao met in the teaching building. He talked to professor Cao about his scientific thoughts which were immature in today’s view, but professor Cao didn’t interrupted his scientific interest. Compared with other labs’ students who came here with him, Fahamu issued the most high level papers. Usually professor Cao’s office is open, so students can go there to talk with him whenever they have problems. When their papers are rejected, professor Cao will patiently help them revise once and once again. Overseas students are deeply moved by his care and patience to them. Because of these, overseas students feel less unfamiliar in foreign country and more respectful to professor Cao.
    “Communicating with professor Cao is interesting and helpful, it will be a good memory in my whole life”. Ali, a Ph.D grade 4 student remarked. It is professor Cao, who make them learn and gain something in other countries and acquire friendship beyond the border of countries and strength of future work. Whether two countries can build firm friendship doesn’t only depend on national interest, but also the friendship between people in two countries. Overseas students from Pakistan, like the angels of civilization of two countries, coming to China and going back in a row, have seen the everlasting friendship between the two countries.  

Profile of Cao Chuanbao: 
    Cao Chuanbao, male, was born in Huaining, Anhui province. He graduated from chemistry major in Nanjing University and acquired master’s degree and doctor’s degree of material science and engineering from University of Science and Technology of China in 1989 and 1992 respectively.In 1994, he finished his post doctor of electronic engineering in Fudan University. He was promoted as professor in 1998 and employed as doctoral tutor in 2000. He was appointed as director of material science research center in BIT in 2000 and deputy dean of School of Material Science and Engineering from 2000 to 2012. In 2004,he was named as talent in new century. He conducted and took part in many national projects, including national natural science fund project, national major fundamental research program(973), national high technology research program(863), 863 major program, major programs of Beijing municipal science and technology commission, university doctoral fund, assembly rehearsal fund and so on. He issued over 220 papers which were collected by SCI on Advanced Materials, JACS, Advanced Functional Materials, Biomaterials, Chemistry of Materials, Chem. Comm and other international periodicals, quoted by others for more than 2200 times. More than 60 papers’ impact factor are over 3. He has been invited to give special reports for 9 times at international conference. He applied for 37 patents and 26 has been approved. He was given Beijing municipal science and technology award. He was the first director of Chinese microns nano learn, senior member of China electronic society and Semiconductor and integrated branch committee, senior member of Chinese mechanical engineering society, member of senior biological manufacturing branch committee , member of international magazine editorial boards of “The Open Materials Science Journal”, “The Open Surface Science Journal”, “The Open Macromolecule Journal”,“Global Journal of Physical Chemistry”, editor of magazines of “Material Review”, “Functional Material”, and “ Academic Journal of BIT”. He published 3 textbooks and was appointed as review of Nature Comm., JACS, Angew.Chem., Adv. Mater., Energy & Environ. Sci.and other 80 international famous magazines. He led 2 outbound doctors, 25 graduated doctors(5 overseas students), 40 postgraduates, 1 postgraduate and helped doctor Fu Qiang be nominated in national excellent doctoral dissertation in 2003. In the graduated students, 7 has been promoted as professor,including 1 who was named 1000 youths and 3 who were aided by “Excellent Youth”.
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