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Cultivating talent is laureate's 'greatest source of joy'

By LI PEIXUAN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-25 09:59
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A science laureate has emphasized the importance of nurturing talent, reflecting on his own long career as an educator alongside his achievements as a researcher.

Li Deren, who won China's highest science honor, the State Preeminent Science and Technology Award, on Monday, said being a teacher brought him the most pride.

An academician, former university president and scientist, Li said, "Despite my various roles, my greatest source of joy comes from being a teacher."

Li, who spent four decades teaching students, underscored the critical role of talent in the global technological competition. His efforts have yielded results, with several of his former students becoming leading figures, including two academicians in the fields of geomatics and remote sensing.

To cultivate interest in the subjects, Li and other academicians launched a program called the "Academician's Class" that aims to enlighten undergraduates on the importance of geomatics and remote sensing for China.

The program highlights how the two fields contribute to national goals, such as President Xi Jinping's vision for self-sufficiency in food supply. For example, integrating Beidou satellites with remote sensing technology and drones can enable real-time monitoring of crops, a development that reduces manual labor for farmers.

The Academician's Class has attracted students and scholars for over 20 years, with each academician delivering regular lectures. The program, endorsed by the Ministry of Education, embodies the national focus on education, science and talent development.

Li's dedication to China was exemplified by his decision to return from Germany after earning a doctorate from the University of Stuttgart in 1985.

His doctoral research achieved a breakthrough in error processing theory, earning him the prestigious Hansa Luftbild Prize, but he turned down lucrative offers from prestigious European universities to contribute to the development of geomatics and remote sensing in China.

Li advocated the development of a high-resolution Earth observation system using mainly domestically developed technology, a proposal that was eventually approved. China's remote sensing technology has since evolved significantly, thanks in part to the talent nurtured by Li and his colleagues.

China now ranks second globally in the number of remote sensing satellites, with their performance reaching an internationally advanced level.

Li's focus on talent development has positioned him as a leading scientist and educator dedicated to China's technological advancement.

The State Preeminent Science and Technology Award, established in 1999, reflects the top leadership's commitment to scientific and technological innovation.

Xi has attended all the award ceremonies since the 18th Communist Party of China National Congress in 2012, underscoring the nation's recognition and support for scientific and technological advances.

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