China today

'Steel academic' has long career of service

2017-09-12 15:51:00 (Beijing Time)         Chinadaily.com.cn

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Cui Kun, 92 years old, one of China's leading steel researcher, is now embarking on adding a new development in the steel field with a book that he finished when he was 87.

"I'm working on compiling the latest achievements in the steel field into my book, and I expect to see the book republished two years later," Cui, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said.

The book, The Composition, Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Steel, has been the country's first encyclopedia to comprehensively introduce special types of steel.

Cui, a professor at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Hubei province, started compiling the book in the second half of 2006 when he was 81 years old, and finished it in six years. The book has 2 million characters and 1,754 pages.

"We wanted to arrange an assistant to help Cui then, but he refused. He went with self-learning on a computer, sorting out materials and making graphs all by himself," said Zheng Enyan, former Party chief of the university's School of Materials Science and Engineering.

Niu Yufeng, an editor of the book, said that the country's steel industry has seen rapid development in recent years, but China still lags behind other developed countries in some high-end special steels, and the industry needed the book.

Cui has contributed much to the nation's steel industry in his 70 years of teaching. As a Party member 60 years, he acted with an intellectual's responsibility and with love for the country, said Lu Gang, the university's Party chief.

Cui was one of the country's first batch of doctoral supervisors in 1981. He only taught 24 doctoral students and 23 master's students, all because he was so strict with his students.

"I do not want to train defective and wasteful students. My students might have a high or low education background, but they must want to do and be able to do something. I do not welcome students who only want to get diploma," Cui said.

According to students and teachers at the university, Cui could wear the same shirt for 30 years, but he was generous to the students from families in poverty.

In 2013, Cui and his wife, Zhu Huinan, donated all their savings - 4.2 million yuan ($641,800) - to set up a scholarship to fund 45 diligent and hard-working students every year, each receiving 8,000 yuan.

"Cui has vividly interpreted the core values of Chinese socialism and has set a good example for others," said Li Dequn, one of Cui's colleagues. "He himself is thoroughly forged of special steel."