Mechanical and Energy Engineering Department Assistant Professor Shaolin Xu: Cautiousness, Exploration and Innovation Are Essential In Research
Assistant professor Shaolin Xu, who is the youngest professor in MEE department, has studied with professor Tsunemoto Kuriyagawa who is a famous Japanese scholar in precision machining. Professor Xu has worked as the JSPS special research professor and assistant professor and he has achieved many innovative research results in the area of ultrasonic vibration assisted machining and laser assisted machining. Early in 2017, professor Xu returned to China and worked in the MEE department at SUSTech. His first impression of SUSTech was students' enthusiasm: "The students at SUSTech are energetic and they are keen on research." As a professor, he supposed that the most important task was education.
[New prospective on mechanical engineering]
During the interview, professor Xu mentioned his thoughts on mechanical engineering. He said: "The future development of mechanical engineering will not be limited in developing conventional machine tools. Its research area focuses on small scale, high precision, more intellectual and functional directions. People need to reconsider mechanical engineering." professor Xu was excited while speaking of his research area. He used the screen protector of a cell phone as an example to introduce two precision machining methods. One of them was laser assisted machining used in producing surface structure on materials and the other one was physical-chemistry production method used in surface structure production on glass. Biomimetic application was also involved, such as shark skin which was anti-bacteria and fingerprint proof.
[Expectation on MEE students]
For those who were willing to research in mechanical engineering area, professor Xu supposed that students should initiatively participate in research activities and enhance their self-learning ability. Meanwhile, teamwork and practice were also important. He said: "Devotion is from love." Professor Xu told us that the requirement of modern mechanical engineering was not only about the conventional mechanical engineering knowledge but also the interdisciplinary knowledge background. Thus, students were required to have the strong will of learning and the ability of self-studying. Moreover, they should also possess practical skills, for example, independent design and assembly of some equipments. Teamwork was necessary in completing research assignment.
Professor Xu was also impressed by the gymnasiums at SUSTech. He was good at playing badminton, tennis and swimming. However, he was busy working as he just arrived at SUSTech. Students' proposal on doing sports together raised his interests. (Students who were interested in MEE department don't miss the chance !)
Professor Xu shared his planning of career life when he was a student. He always hoped to be an entrepreneur who could contribute to the society and motherland. Since the ability of management is necessary for a good entrepreneur, he kept learning management and psychology in his first and second year at university. "I usually went to the library to read relevant books in my spare time." He also suggested us to broaden our horizon. It seemed that reading the books which are irrelevant to your profession was not helpful. However, the philosophy in those books would influence you unconsciously and they would have effects on your life such as characteristics and mode of thinking.
Professor Xu studied inorganic materials in undergraduate period and he studied geological engineering in graduate period. He officially entered his current research area in mechanical engineering when he was a Ph.D. student. Such special experience granted him a unique prospective on interdisciplinary study and he reminded the students who lacked confidence in changing direction not to do so. However, interdisciplinary development is playing an important role in research. He proposed that the combination of a distinct profession with proper interdisciplinary knowledge would be a good choice for the majority.
From the words of professor Xu, we could feel his deep love to the country. His will to be an entrepreneur and his courage to change his research area to mechanical engineering and studied abroad have moved us, even though his did not mention a word of his love to motherland.
Translator: Pengfei Ji、Xiaochuan Xiao