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Building Passion for Science Liang Yan, YSFRI

My research career started 15 years ago from the time I worked towards my master and PhD degree if it counted. I wouldn’t say how much I liked doing research. Be honest, to some extent, it’s just a job to make a living. However, my view is totally updated in the past one year that I spent in the lab of Professor Gijs in the Netherlands. As a visiting scholar from China, I felt refreshed by everything around me. Especially, I was curious why European colleagues can work less hours but with high efficiency (Hardly see anybody work on weekends). I also wondered why European colleagues can enjoy vacations but with good quality publications. I wouldn’t complain against Chinese education, and I never mean European people are smarter than us. Undoubtedly, there are great differences in the history, cultures and educations between Eastern and Western countries, which might explain the diversity in theirs and ours way of thinking and work.

At the end, I realized that it is good organization, wide cooperation, and free communication that lie behinds their great tale of success. I would say I never felt such passion and active atmosphere for research as in there. I was motivated by their positive energy too. In other words, I have learned that research would never be boring and stressful if it is driven by interest.

In order to achieve our dreams and destinies, we accumulate our knowledge and learn from every lesson in life. I would like to share a mindset that can be learned and practiced with those new post graduates. That is: Follow your heart, identify your passion, and enjoy what you are doing.

That might help lead us on a path to personal and professional prosperity.


Professor Jie Huang and professor Gijs Wuite met in the AFM lab of VU University of Amsterdam


My colleagues in the VU University of Amsterdam