East meets West

Share This

17 November 2014

On November 4, AIP had the privilege of hosting a meeting with a delegation from the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) in Beijing. Senior members of the CAST staff, including the executive secretary, and individuals from personnel and organization, research and publicity, finance and planning, and international affairs were in attendance. 

According to Chunfa Wang, CAST executive secretary, the main purpose of their visit was to learn more about AIP programs and resources. In particular, they expressed interest in our media services to learn about how the institute disseminates science news, and our history programs to understand how their American counterparts conduct historical research and archiving. 

To provide our guests with the scope of AIP and its various outreach programs, I presented an overview of AIP and was joined by Jason Bardi, director of Media Services, and Greg Good, director of the Center for History of Physics, who covered their division’s efforts. They were intrigued by the work of AIP’s Statistical Research Center (SRC), and were able to connect with SRC director Roman Czujko over lunch. Sun Yue of CAST and Zhengzheng Zhang of AIP provided excellent translation for the group. 

The visit transpired on the same day as the AIP Governing Board meeting, but leaders from AIP and APS, namely, AIP Governing Board chair Lou Lanzerotti, AIP CEO Fred Dylla, and APS executive officer Kate Kirby, were able to briefly meet and share information with the CAST representatives nevertheless. AIP officers first met with CAST officials in 2010, coinciding with the opening of the AIP office in Beijing. (The office is now under AIP Publishing.) 

The delegation was able to tour Niels Bohr Library and Archives under the guidance of director Joe Anderson. They were impressed by the volume and quality of the archive activities. Wang remarked, “It is amazing that such an outstanding and precious collection of prominent scientists’ manuscripts and historical photographs are still so well preserved.” CAST leaders hope to learn and borrow AIP’s advanced research methodology and resource management skills to better serve the Chinese science community through historical research and archiving. 

The International Catalog of Sources (ICOS) also provoked ideas among the CAST delegation about establishing a cooperative resource-sharing mechanism with AIP. One of their thoughts was to annotate the materials in their collection on Chinese scientists and scholars and include them in the ICOS database so that these materials can be listed with worldwide science historians and scholars. So far, the ICOS database has only four entries of Chinese historical research sources, but CAST has hundreds of oral histories and other resources in its collection. Wang himself has conducted many oral histories of Chinese scientists. 

According to Wang, Chinese scientific research has been rising in recent decades due to a more stable scientific environment and funding increases. As the most influential and largest national federation of scientists and engineers in China, CAST devotes itself to boosting Chinese scientific innovation, serving the country for its economic and social development, and training and educating Chinese talents. Wang noted that the visit to AIP provided CAST with many ideas for improving service to the science community and general public in China. 

This visit was useful in that it furthered mutual understanding and opened the door to help us explore international collaboration in our efforts to better serve the global science community. We hope that the relationship will grow into a fruitful collaboration in history and other programs.