On May 31st, Dr. WEI Yen, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Advanced Polymer Research at Tsinghua University, as well as a distinguished expert in the National Thousand Talents Program of China, visited Jiangnan University (JNU) and presented two featured lectures at School of Mechanical Engineering (Room C302) and Zhishan Honors School, for graduate and undergraduate students respectively.
During the morning session hosted by Prof. ZHANG Jie from JUN Mechanical Engineering, Professor Wei initiated the talk by generalizing his own journey of academics and research as student during which he obtained Bachelor and Master’s Degrees at Peking University, PhD at the City University of New York (CUNY) and Postdoc at MIT. After years of teaching and research at Drexel University, Dr. Wei came back to China in 2009, working as one of the most prominent professors at Tsinghua University. Prof. Wei presented “Soft Robots and Self-healing Dynamic Hydrogel” in multiple fields such as elastic and flexible robot/actuator, molecular targeted cancer therapy, 3D printing for central nervous system and vascular system repairing, etc. This holistic talk provided audiences with inspirations on the multidisciplinary research and development for mechanical engineering and beyond.
In the afternoon session hosted by Prof. YU Jianfeng, the Vice Dean of JNU Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Wei reported “The Dream of a Material Chemist: Energy, Food, Fresh Water and Health”, addressing the potential challenges for future human living/survival posed by issues in these four areas and how they inspired him to explore possible solutions through materials research and innovation. Some accomplished solution, such as the research on sea water desalination by solar-thermal energy, thermal-electrical power generation, the innovation of new diagnostic system using nanoscale polymeric materials as bio-markers and the enzyme technique to transform biomass to glucose/ethanol for cleaner fuel technologies.
Dr. Wei is a world-renowned material science researcher and chemist. Born in Linchuan, Jiangxi Province, Dr. Wei received undergraduate and master's degree from Beijing University (1977-81), Ph.D from CUNY. (1981-86), MIT Postdoctoral (1986-87). He had years of teaching/research experience at Drexel University as Assistant Professor (1987), DuPont Associate Professor (1991) tenured Full Professor (1995) and Wagner Chemical Professor (2004). He was among the first group of Chinese scientists to have obtained the professor title in the United States since the Chinese Economic Reform in 1990’s. He was granted the National Jieqing (aka. most pronounced youth researcher) Fund (2003) and Changjiang Scholar Title by Chinese Education Department (2005). He has published 998 academic papers (SCI cited more than 34,000 times, H index 91). As a leading member in the selected group of Thousand Talents program in China, Professor Wei joined Tsinghua full-time by 2009 and his research focuses on nano-polymer materials and its applications in biomedical, energy, water treatment and multi-dimensional printing technology. In 2011-2015, he was employed as the chief scientist of the 973 nm bionic energy project of the Ministry of Science and Technology. During 2014-2018, he was consistently ranked by Elsevier and Thomson Reuters as one of the world's most cited scientists. In 2018, he was selected as the chief scientist of the "Molecular Aggregation Luminescence" project of the National Science Foundation's Basic Science Center.
Professor Wei’s visit to the School of Mechanical Engineering at JNU and interaction with undergraduates and graduate students, are of great significance. He broadened students’ horizons, promoted multidisciplinary researches, and encouraged student apply science to solve issues affecting human living and survival.