Archive for August 8th, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Obituary: Qian Weichang (1912 – 2010)

Qian Weichang (钱伟长)*), a Chinese physicist and applied mathematician, died in Shanghai on July 30, 2010, aged 98. Qian was born in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, on October 9, 1912 , according to the International Who is Who, 2004 edition. In a public notice of today, Shanghai University (上海大学), whose president Qian had been till the end, writes that all its staff would turn grief into strength (化悲痛为力量), continue to put Qian’s educational thought into practise, and make Shanghai University a first-class joint-research university in China. Among other functions, Qian was the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference sixth, seventh, eighth and nineth national committee’s deputy chairman, a member of the China Democratic League (中国民主同盟), and a close friend of the Chinese Communist Party (中国共产党的亲密朋友). Xinhua quotes Rao Zihe, president of Tianjin’s Nankai University, as saying that “Qian put forward the advanced concept of open education in China last century, which has not yet been fully realized in universities nowadays”.

Enorth (Tianjin) ranks Qian Weichang as one of China’s three top scientists (三强), along with Qian Xuesen (钱学森) who died last year, also aged 98, and Qian Sanqiang (钱三强, 1913 – 1992), a nuclear physicist, and highlights all three of them as paragons of patriotism. Enorth draws a link from the question [once] asked by Qian Xuesen“Why don’t our schools ever bring up outstanding talents?” (为什么我们的学校总是培养不出杰出人才?) – to discussions after his death in 2009 from the top levels to the media and learners, to the Outline of China’s National Plan for Medium and Long-Term Education Reform and Development for the 2010-2020 period which was released late last month. Enorth describes the National Plan as an adequate way to live up to the three Qians’ legacy.


Qian Weichang is the common pinyin spelling. Qian was also known as Chien Wei-zang.


Wen Jiabao visits Elderly Scientists, Global Times, August 8, 2010
“Turn Grief into Strength”, Shanghai People’s Publishing House, 1976

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