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Fortune 100 company brings Nobel laureate to Xi'an

By Lu Hongyan and Ma Lie in Xi'an ( Updated: 2014-11-13 17:01

Honeywell, a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing company, brought Nobel Laureate Professor Wolfgang Ketterle to lecture at the Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province, aiming to nurture the nest generation of scientists and engineers in China.

The professor's visit on Wednesday, organized by Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company's corporate social responsibility initiative, marks the first time Honeywell has brought a Nobel laureate to the university through its Honeywell Initiative for Science & Engineering, an award-winning program that has benefited university students in Eastern Europe, Latin America, India, China and other emerging countries. The visit also marks the 10th time Honeywell has brought a Nobel laureate to Chinese universities.

Ketterle, a German physicist, received the Nobel Prize for physics in 2001 for the achievement of Bose–Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates.

During his visit, Ketterle delivered a lecture on "New Forms of Matter Near Absolute Zero Temperature", in which he discussed why physicists freeze matter to extremely low temperatures.

"When atoms are cooled to nanokelvin temperatures (the lowest recorded temperatures), they can easily be confined, analyzed and manipulated with laser beams," Ketterle said. "In this way we can study their properties and continue to discover new forms of matter and make scientific advances in molecular physics."

He also toured the university's laboratory and met informally with students and faculty members.

The Northwestern Polytechnical University is the most recent of China's leading universities to take part in the Honeywell initiative. Other universities include Beihang University in Beijing and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

"As one of China's leading research-oriented universities, Northwestern Polytechnical University has always made fostering talent our top priority," said Wang Jinsong, president of the university. "We are delighted to cooperate with Honeywell to bring the world's greatest scientists to our campus. I believe Professor Ketterle's lecture today and his time with us has inspired our students to pursue research in science and engineering. This visit has given our students a once-in-a-lifetime chance to talk with a Nobel Prize winner, encouraging them to be innovative. It's a meaningful, inspiring event to bridge the world of scientists and young students."

"As a world-leading high-tech manufacturing company, Honeywell is committed to cultivating science and engineering talents," said Stephen Shang, President and CEO of Honeywell China. "Bringing a Nobel Prize winner to a university is an important way to achieve this goal. NPU is famous in Xi'an for its outstanding engineering and scientific research. I believe our cooperation will drive innovation and talent development while underscoring our commitment to developing the central and western areas of China." Honeywell is committed to the nurturing of science and engineering talents to meet China's growing demands to build a powerful nation that is strong in science and technology. In addition to the HISE, Honeywell also invites teachers to attend the Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy in the United States, and the company's Online Remote Education Program supported the rebuilding of two primary schools after the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008.

In recent years, Honeywell has been actively expanding in central and western China, and the company has a long development history in Xi'an. In 1994, Honeywell established System Sensor Inc, a joint-venture in the Xi'an High-tech Industries Development Zone, which became a model for establishing cooperation between foreign companies and Xi'an organizations. In 2005, Honeywell signed an research and development cooperation agreement with Northwestern Polytechnical University and Xi'an Jiaotong University to conduct 10 research projects on basic material science. In 2012, Honeywell Aerospace, AVIC Xi'an Flight Automatic Control Research Institute, and Xi'an High-tech Industries Development Zone signed an investment memorandum. That resulted in a joint venture between Honeywell and the AVIC Xi'an Flight Automatic Control Research Institute to develop and manufacture the flight control system for C919 project.

Ketterle is currently an associate director of the Research Laboratory of Electronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and director of its affiliated Center for Ultracold Atoms.

Fortune 100 company brings Nobel laureate to Xi'an Fortune 100 company brings Nobel laureate to Xi'an
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