Determined to be first-class, and "indomitably" compose the glorious chapter of the times

—— Documentary on the Construction and Development of Materials Science and Engineering Discipline of Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT)

Contributed by Liu Xiaoqiao, School of Materials and CPC Propaganda Department  

Photographed by: School of Materials

[Editor's note] The year 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which is also the first year of implementing the 14th Five-Year Plan and embarking on a new journey to build a modern socialist country in an all-round way. While the whole party is carrying out the study and education of party history, the BIT CPC Propaganda Department launched a special report on "Always follow the Party and forge ahead on a new journey", which fully shows the achievements made by the School in strengthening the Party's leadership and party building, vividly tells the story of the struggle of the BIT people, and extensively coheres the majestic strength of the School's cause development, thus welcoming the CPC centennial birthday with outstanding achievements.

"Enter the ranks of' world-class disciplines'!" In Sept. 2017, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission issued the Notice on Announcing the List of World-Class Universities and First-Class Discipline Construction Universities and Disciplines, on which BIT’s Materials Science and Engineering Discipline (hereinafter referred to as Materials Discipline) was listed. Entering the first batch of "world-class disciplines" in China reflects the outstanding results of the high-quality development of the materials discipline in recent years, and also marks the discipline's entry into a new stage of development.

Recollecting the construction and development process over the past 70 years, the material discipline of BIT has always been forging ahead in high spirit, which not only sticks to serving the national major needs but also is committed itself to gaining a forefront in the world’s materials science and technology, thus writing a first-class era.

Materials Science, BIT was established in 1952 and started to train graduate students since 1955. It is the first batch of BIT disciplines to obtain doctoral degree authorization points and set up postdoctoral mobile stations, also a key construction discipline of national "211 Project" and "985 Project" and etc. in successive batches. This discipline was awarded Class A discipline in the 4th round of national discipline assessment in 2016, and was selected in national "world-class disciplines" construction in 2017.

For many years, with the goal of "distinctive features, outstanding advantages, first-class domestic and internationally renowned", BIT’s materials discipline has broken through a series of key core technologies, produced a large number of research achievements, trained a large number of leading talents in the field of materials science, and embarked on an indomitable road of discipline development.

Be an indomitable pioneer in technological innovation

"Make China's own explosive and the best explosive in the world", which is the wish and mission of Pang Siping, professor of materials and dean of School of Materials Science and Engineering. Over the years, Pang Siping led the team to make continued efforts, breaking through technical barriers, innovating production technology, and promoting the upgrading of industrial products based on the research of the older generation of BIT people. Relevant research achievements won the second prize of national technological invention in 2016. "Those who care about the greatness of the country always regard serving the country as their highest pursuit. This is not only the unchanging research feelings of our team, but also the responsibility of the BIT materials people who are determined to strengthen China. " Pang Siping said.

Since its establishment, taking serving the national major strategic needs as its own responsibility, the discipline of materials has always carried out key research around the national strategy and major projects, and comprehensively served the key material needs in the fields of sea, land, air, sky and electricity, which has strongly supported the compound development of industrial mechanization, informationization and intelligence. In the past five years, the discipline has won one first prize (participation) and one second prize of the National Natural Science; took the lead in two second prizes of National Technical Invention, and two National S&T Progress Award, participated in one first prize of National S&T Progress Award, one Ho Leung Ho Lee S&T Progress Award, and more than 10 provincial and ministerial awards and academic awards. Its scientific research strength is in the leading position in China, and some of its technologies have reached the international advanced level. The materials discipline has continuously promoted the technological update of the material industry, and filled in many domestic technological gaps, and now it ranks the first echelon in the world in terms of independent innovation achievements and academic influence.

"He, with the great ideal of serving the country through science and technology, supports strongly green energy for national development; he, adheres to the pursuit of innovative ideas assiduously, and write up a moving chapter for the progress of the times. ..... "In April 2021, Wu Feng, academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering and professor of materials, won the" 2021 Outstanding Contribution Award for Energy Storage ". The affectionate award speech is a true portrayal of his love for scientific research and serving the motherland.

As a leading expert in materials discipline of BIT, Wu Feng is one of the earliest advocates and organizers of lithium ion battery research in China, also an expert in electric vehicle development planning of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Over the years, he led the team to invent high-performance electrode materials, high-strength ceramic composite separators, and functional electrolytes with flame retardancy and electrochemical compatibility, improving the energy density, power density, safety and temperature adaptability of lithium-ion batteries. He took the lead in proposing the concept of battery system safety threshold boundary, and has developed safety identification and control technology, thus exploring a development route of China's green energy technology industrialization, which provides technical support for China's lithium-ion batteries to seize the international high-end product market.

While digging deep into the national key fields, the materials discipline also actively plans new ways of scientific research and development, expands the civil field, and builds six national scientific research platforms such as the Key Laboratory of Impact Environmental Materials Technology, and seven provincial and ministerial platforms such as the Engineering Research Center of the Ministry of Fire Safety Materials and Technology, thus solidly propelling the research on new materials in the fields of new energy, environmental engineering and green development, and continuously promoting industrial upgrading.

In recent years, materials science has also actively cultivated new interdisciplinary growth points, and has planned and laid out three interdisciplinary directions, namely biomedical materials, material informatics, intelligent materials and structures, relying on the existing characteristic discipline directions, with a view to explore new discipline frontiers, new technology fields and new innovation forms.

"500 tons of materials are produced every day, and 1 ton of materials can meet the production and use of 250,000 masks." In 2020, the Covid-19 raged, and the market demand for high-quality protective masks and medical flame retardant protective materials exploded. The materials discipline responded quickly and set up a research team jointly with the alumni enterprise " KINGFA SCI.&TECH ". In just 10 days, the production specifications and rapid inspection standards of flame retardant polypropylene special materials for mask meltblown cloth were formulated, and a complete production line was established. At the critical moment of epidemic prevention and control, with deep scientific research accumulation, the discipline provided technological support for winning the battle of epidemic prevention and control.

The production of high-quality protective mask materials is only an epitome of advancing the achievement transformation of materials science. In recent years, the discipline has established a "a coordinated process " achievement transformation mechanism with China Institute of Atomic Energy, Xiamen Tungsten Industry Co., Ltd. and other industrial enterprises, with dynamic rolling iteration of product innovation and development and mature technology application. The developed tungsten single crystal materials and quantum dot display materials have achieved achievements transformation and application, and won the China Industry-University-Research Cooperation Innovation Achievement Award and China Industry-University-Research Cooperation Promotion Award.

Party building leads the way, and talent training has yielded fruitful results

"Material people are born with the spiritual code of " being committed to serving the country and brave in taking responsibility ".Over the years, we have continuously enriched the connotation of party building, taking the social practice and innovation and entrepreneurship practice of college students as the  important measures, and constantly cultivated students' patriotism." Introduced by Jin Haibo, Party Secretary of Materials College. In recent years, materials science has given full play to the leading role of party building and the function of educating people through practice, guiding students to attend social hot spots and serve grassroots construction, and write papers on the motherland.

"We took the lead in solving the problems of low efficiency and easy moisture absorption of traditional flame retardants in the world, filling the market gap. Achievement is not achieved overnight. Synthesis, processing, testing, these simple processes may be repeated thousands of times. Sometimes, to ensure the research progress, we simply take turns to stay at the laboratory 24 hours a day." The creation of innovative results is never easy. As a new teacher recruited in 2018, Pan Yatang said emotionally. Under the influence of the strong innovation atmosphere in the discipline, he made innovations based on solid accumulation. In Nov. 2020, the team guided by him won the gold medal in the 6th China International "internet plus" Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition for College Students.

First-class disciplines requiring training first-class talents. Focuses on the fundamental task of cultivating people by virtue, the material discipline guides students to combine theory with practice to stimulate their innovative thinking and exercise innovative ability, driven by big projects and big team. Since 2016, it has won 31 national competition awards and nearly 40 provincial and ministerial competition awards. It is worth mentioning that in 2020, in China's "internet plus" Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, it won three gold medals and one bronze medal, achieving a double breakthrough in award level and quantity.

"Essential oils extracted from traditional Chinese medicine Pogostemon cablin and natural plant Camellia oleifera have antibacterial effect!" General hemostatic products in the market do not have antibacterial properties, while high-end hemostatic products are monopolized by foreign giants. With the discovery of the extract of agastache rugosa, the answer to this question that has been lingering in the minds of the members of the college student social practice group "Quick heal by agastache rugosa" has finally been found. Since its establishment in 2014, more than 100 students of the practice group went to Guangdong Province and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and other places, with a journey of more than 10,000 kilometer. They visited 30 plus medical materials research and application enterprises, developed three series of new antibacterial and hemostatic products, applied for 5 national invention patents, and published 11 high-level academic papers, which really serve the people with knowledge. In 2019, the "Quick heal by agastache rugosa" practice group won the Silver Award in the National "internet plus" College Students Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition.

"Two double-creative practice bases, 22 off-campus practice bases and more than 80 teachers and double-creative instructors". To build an all-round and three-dimensional innovation and entrepreneurship education system with discipline characteristics, the materials discipline has created an intensive open and shared platform for integrating science and education, opening the resources to college students' experimental courses and innovation and entrepreneurship. A special working committee was set up which incorporated the double innovation work into the performance assessment of college teachers, formulated incentive policies for graduate enrollment indicators, and set up special scholarships for rewarding nearly 100 double innovation talents every year, thus vigorously promoting the high-quality development of innovation and entrepreneurship. Students’ participation in social practice have achieved full coverage, forming a number of work brands and excellent teams, and they have won the "Excellent Team of Social Practice of Capital University Students" for many times.

"After the establishment of the functional party branch, we can often carry out ideological and political education, study and exchange, special training, etc. outside the school. The content and form of these activities are very lively and grounded." Wang Weizhe said, member of Pioneer Functional Party Branch. In Dec., 2020, 11 student party members who have been undertaking scientific research and experimental tasks for a long time in Baiyin City, Gansu Province set up the "Pioneer Functional Party Branch".

In recent years, the materials discipline has innovated the setting mode of grass-roots party organizations, establishing functional party branches in student communities, community organizations and scientific research management teams, which realized the "co-frequency resonance " between party building and research work. The party groups building and students' innovation and entrepreneurship practice promoted each other, constantly enhancing the organizational strength, cohesion and combat effectiveness of grass-roots party organizations, and creating a "first-line" battle fortress for innovation and entrepreneurship. At present, new grass-roots party organizations, such as the temporary party branch of the "internet plus" Double Creation Team and the functional polymer innovative league branch, have been established.

"Three guidance, three integration and three promotion" has become an innovative model of party building work in materials discipline. By leading the discipline direction, development planning and cultural construction, the party building work has been integrated into discipline talent training, team building and resource allocation, and the project of improving party members' quality, awareness and organizational ability has been implemented, enriching the connotation of party building work and consolidating the ideological foundation of improving quality and efficiency in college career development. In the past five years, the student groups of materials science have been awarded the titles of Beijing Excellent League Branch and Advanced Class Collective for seven times; more than 80 students have won the honors of ideological and political education at provincial and ministerial levels such as Beijing Top Ten League Member;  the teachers' group have won the "Beijing Excellent Communist Party Member", and the teachers' party branch have won the "Beijing Advanced Party Organization".

Open and diversified, international exchanges blossom competitively

In Dec. 2017, the international authoritative journal of nanomaterials science and technology "Nature·Nanotechnology" published the research results of "photo-induced magnetism of nonmagnetic doped nanocrystals" online; In 2020, Chem, the flagship magazine of Cell, published the research progress of preparing semiconductor nanocrystals/quantum dots doped with double heterovalent ions ... All the series of achievements came from Zhang Jiatao, a professor of materials science, and his international partners.

From the in-depth exchange of one international conference, to the multinational cooperation for many years, and to the production of a series of achievements, the materials discipline has made frequent achievements in the internationalization construction, which has become a typical example of the internationalization construction and promotion of the first-class disciplines in the Institute.

In recent years, facing the world’s forefront of science and technology in the world, the materials discipline has carried out a series of distinctive international exchange activities based on the advantages of new energy materials, optoelectronic semiconductor materials and other fields.  Adhering to "going out", the discipline has established contacts with more than 30 world-famous universities and institutes in more than 10 countries including the US, Germany and Israel, and encouraged students to actively participate in international academic conferences and international visiting programs, with a coverage rate of 30%.  Adhering to "bringing in", in the past five years, more than 20 overseas talents have been introduced into the discipline; nine English courses have been offered; joint laboratories have been established with Auckland University, Turin University of Technology and Queensland University of Australia.

In 2020, Professor Zhong Haizheng, a material discipline, was invited to serve as a member of the organizing committee of the MEET Branch of Japan IDW Display Conference, and Professor Wang Bo and Professor Chen Qi were invited to attend the forum of the world's top scientists and give lectures ... In recent years, materials people and materials disciplines have strode to the international academic stage and led the international academic discourse. Since 2016, the materials discipline has held 10 plus global academic conferences, signed cooperation agreements with many universities with top-ranked global materials science and engineering majors, such as Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and National University of Singapore, and carried out a number of international cooperative scientific research projects and joint talent training projects.

"Language problem, in fact, has little influence on the achievement of scientific research. For international students, if you choose the right direction, be patient, and work hard, you can definitely produce results. " Cao Chuanbao, who is a professor of materials, also the supervisor with the largest number of foreign doctoral students in the university, adhering to the combination of high standards and requirements and meticulous and patient guidance, has always been teaching students patiently based on their aptitudes. Over the years, he has trained more than 40 international students who have published over 100 SCI papers in international journals. Among them, Faheem Khurshied Butt, a Ph.D. graduate in 2014, won the Pakistan Physics Prize, and Muhammad Tahir, a Ph.D. graduate in 2015, won the Pakistan Abdul Salam Award.

Adhering to diversity, structure optimization, standardized management, erudition and fraternity, and high-quality cultivate, the materials discipline has always fully tapped the potential of international students, and met their growth needs, training a group of talented people who are familiar with and friendly to China and meet the needs of modern international society, and exploring and forming a distinctive way to cultivate international students. More than 10 foreign students from Pakistan and South Korea are trained annually, among which doctoral students each publish 2 SCI papers during their studies. In recent years, with the continuous advancement of the national "the belt and road initiative" strategy, the materials discipline is gradually expanding the number of trained high-quality talents from "the belt and road initiative" countries. Since 2018, more than 30 international students have been trained.

Diversified exchanges and interactions, and sharing of achievements are crucial driving forces for scientific development. The materials discipline has attended the connotation development, quality improvement and brand building of international exchanges and cooperation, and strengthened substantive cooperation with world-class universities and academic institutions, thus constantly enhancing its international popularity.

For the long 70 years with the progression of every season, looking back to the past, generations of material people have diligently strived for and forging ahead, always cared about the greatness of the country, been brave in taking responsibility and good at make a difference, thus writing the glory of the times. Looking forward to the future, the material people will, with a more high-spirited attitude, advance the forefront of science and technology, and march forward bravely towards the goal of world-class disciplines!