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szdaily -> Campus -> 
Doctoral students from Tsinghua University make lab work fun
    2017-09-20  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

高新中学清华博士“学长”走进校园与初一学生“玩”实验

Can we “see” sound? What does water look like in a vacuum? Is it possible for two snowflakes to be identical? These questions and more will be unraveled by doctoral students from Tsinghua University and students of Gaoxin Middle School next year.

Starting this academic year, eight doctoral degree candidates from Tsinghua University will become mentors in a collaborative course called “Research With Doctoral Students” for seventh graders of nine classes.

Each week, there will be one lesson for each class. The class time has been formally scheduled into the students’ curriculum.

Shi Yigong, one of the eight doctoral student mentors, noted, “A scholar should always be curious, never seek quick success and instant benefits and never be eager to translate research results into market benefits.”

Wu Zhenjie, a doctor of materials and the main lecturer of the course, said: “At this school, we are the teachers, but we are able to get close to students by guiding them through the experiments.”

Li Pengcheng, a doctor of optics who grew up in Shenzhen, designed seven entry-level physics experiments tailored to students’ interests, including “Making a Snowflake,” “Observing Sound” and “Observing Polarized Light.” According to Li, these experiments aim to stimulate students’ interests in a specific aspect of each experiment and then dig further until they’re able to propose their own small projects.

Wang Guiqiang, another doctor of optics, added that to simply acquire knowledge is not what this course aims for; instead, students should be able to develop divergent thinking habits after learning the basics of thermology, mechanics and optics. According to Wang, the purpose of this course is to familiarize the students with the process and fundamental methods of scientific research. By the end of the course, students should know how to write brief scientific essays, thereby gaining an attitude of empirical research and improving their scientific literacy.

Wang Xiang, a doctor of condensed matter physics who is mainly based in Beijing, instructs students in remote courses.

After two introductory lessons on the basics of physics and experiments, the middle school students will conduct experiments in laboratory environments through the instruction of doctoral student mentors. The students will also have opportunities to visit the labs of Tsinghua University to experience the force of a real research environment.

According to Lu Jun, headmaster of Gaoxin Middle School, the course for seventh graders is aimed at cultivating students’ ability to innovate and encouraging the development of innovative courses by drawing from all kinds of resources. (Yang Mei)

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