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[Professors' Tea Hour] Wu Xuebing: The Brightest Star in the Sky

Peking University, Apr. 11, 2015: On April 3, Prof. Wu Xuebing in School of Physics had a discussion with students on the topic "The Brightest Star in the Sky" in Student Center at PKU. Wu talked about his latest discovery and shared his experience in astronomy research with students.

During the session

On February 26, an article titled “An ultra-luminous quasar with a 12 billion solar-mass-black-hole at redshift 6.3” was published in Nature, a prominent interdisciplinary scientific journal. In this article, Wu’s research team announced their latest discovery of a quasar which was called “a giant in the young universe” by Prof. Bram Venemans of Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in his commentary in Nature. The discovery was later reported by news media all over the world.

"We first found this quasar in December, 2013. But it took us ten months to verify it,” he said, “Each step in human discovery takes efforts, especially when the equipment is not sophisticated enough.” Wu considered astronomy as a discipline calling for collaboration, “because astronomers share the same research subject”. He also pointed out that astronomy was not in the least abstract or metaphysical, but related closely to our life. It could easily arouse children’s interests in science as well as disseminating scientific knowledge to the curious public.

Wu suggested students to actively think, discuss and try. He said it was important to examine the theory through the practice, to kindle new ideas through discussions, and to dispel mystery and suspense through repeated, determined attempts. “Research is of no set pattern, and it never bores us”, Wu added.

In addition, Wu advised students to set aside their anxiety when facing numerous alternatives and proceed steadily forward in humble minds. He disagreed that students should be preoccupied by the aspiration to eminence or the requirement of a certain job. “Even though the public is generally job-oriented, students in Peking University are not supposed to dismiss their dream,” he said, “Idealism has been deeply rooted in PKU students since PKU was founded.”
Background Information:
"Professors' Tea Hour", held by the Office of Student Affairs, takes the form of a chatting session where professors meet students and share their life experiences and ideas of science or humanities. Students are free to get the information and register for the lecture through Wechat platform pkyyyxz.

Written by: Wu Zhangxinan
Edited by: Yan Shengnan
Source: PKU News (Chinese)