Introduction to Department of Physics

Traced back to the physics course offered by Advanced Normal School, the Imperial University of Peking (Jing Shi Da Xue Tang) in 1904, the foundation and development of physics has been an intrinsic part of the century-long history of Beijing Normal University, where Department of Mathematics and Physics was founded in 1911, followed by the official establishment of Department of Physics in 1923. In 1952 when u Jen Catholic University was integrated into Department of Physics, Beijing Normal University with a constellation of renowned physicists and education experts, among whom were Wu Youxun, Zhang Yihui, Zhang Zongsui, Zhao Zhongyao, He Zehui, Xia Yuanli, Chu Shenglin, Zheng Huachi, Yu Ruihuang, He Yujie, Zhang Weizheng, Li Yiran, Lv Lieyang, Zhang Fuquan, Lin Zhenjin, Huang Zuqia, Ling Yongshun, Ka Xinglin, Liu Liao, Ma Benkun, Liang Shaorong, Fang Fukang, Yan Jinduo, Liang Canbin, etc., who in return educated numerous fellows of the Chinese Academy of Sciences including Wang Dezhao, Qiao Dengjiang, Wang Chengwei, Ling Yongshun and Liu Shanghe, among others, as well as a great number of backbones of China's education. This integration also contributed to the naissance of Department of Astronomy (1960), Institute of Low Energy Nuclear Physics (1979), Department of Radio Electronics (1980), Analytical and Testing Center (early 1980), School of Systems Science (2002), etc., a key contribution to our discipline construction and development. Department of Physics, Beijing Normal University, is one of the first education institutions qualified to confer doctorate degree of condensed matter physics and theoretical physics.

The end of the Great Cultural Revolution saw hundreds of abandoned causes waiting to be resumed. It was during this period that Beijing Normal University sent a group of outstanding physicists in the prime of their years for further education in Europe and US. Returning to Beijing Normal University in the early 1980s, these young scholars became the backbones of physics teaching and research in the university. In 1980, Prof. Huang Zuqia, fellow of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, started to teach in Beijing Normal University. Under his leadership and with the concerted efforts of a number of outstanding young scholars at the time, including Ma Benkun, Liu Liao, Fang Fukang, Liang Canbin, Yang Zhanru, Qi Anshen, Hu Gang, Zhao Zheng, Ding Ejiang, etc., a physics teaching and research team featuring strongly competitiveness came into being in the discipline of physics, Beijing Normal University. These scholars gave a strong push to the development of the discipline while acquiring internationally influential research findings in various fields of physics, hence laying the foundation of academic prominence of Beijing Normal University, both domestically and internationally, in statistical physics, non-linear sciences, condensed matter physics, systems science, theory of relativity and astrophysics, nuclear physics, etc. They also instructed numerous Master and PhD degree candidates, who, after years of painstaking efforts, have become excellent scholars and academic backbones of their fields highly renowned in China and overseas.

Currently, the Department of Physics is qualified to confer Level I discipline doctoral degree and has established a postdoctoral research station, with 4 Level II discipline doctoral programs, namely theoretical physics, condensed matter physics, optics and nuclear physics, as well as a Level II discipline doctoral program in education, namely physics education. Among the Level II programs, theoretical physics program where positions of visiting professor were offered to Yangtze River Scholars was rated among the first national key programs of theoretical physics in 2002 and passed the mid-term assessment in 2007. Condensed matter physics was rated as key program of Beijing in 2002. The Department of Physics also owns two key laboratories, namely ˇ°Key Laboratory of Beam Technology and Material Modification of Ministry of Educationˇ± and ˇ°Key Laboratory of Applied Optics of Beijingˇ±. The physics discipline of Beijing Normal University became National Base for Basic Scientific Research in Natural Sciences and Teaching Talent Training in 1996. The Physics Experiment Center won the title of Demo Experiment Center of Beijing with excellent ratings in 2007. Physics Education was among the first to be rated as National Type II Leading Specialty in 2007. During the 10th and 11th 5-Year-Plan periods, the physics discipline was listed among the 211 and 985 Projects.

Currently, the physics discipline of Beijing Normal University employs 2 CAS fellows (1 of whom is dual employed) and 1 CAE fellow (dual employed) and has a faculty of 79 persons, including both teachers and engineers. Among the teachers are 29 professors (of whom are 23 supervisors for doctorate candidates), 28 associate professors and 1 lecturers; while among the laboratory engineers are 1 senior engineer at professor level, 7 senior engineers, 6 intermediate engineers. Besides, teachers also include one member of Disciplinary Appraisal Panels under the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council, 3 Middle-aged and Young Experts with Outstanding Contributions, 3 gainers of National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars and 1 winner of China Youth Science & Technology Award, 8 teachers who were selected into the Ministry of Education New Century Excellent Talent Training Plan, 1 gainer of Ministry of Education Young Teacher Award and 4 authors of National Hundred Excellent Doctorate Theses. In recent years, the age structure and education background of teachers have been rationalized, with all (except one) teachers and researchers under the age of 55 holding PhD degrees. Since 2000, the physics discipline has completed over 100 state level scientific research projects, including those of National Key Basic Research Plan, 973 Project, 863 Project, National Natural Science Foundation key projects, Outstanding Youth Foundation projects, general projects, Ministry of Education Doctoral Program Foundation as well as numerous specialized scientific research projects. Recent years have witnessed heartening accomplishments achieved by the physics research team. Since 1990s, over 30 papers have been published on Physical Review Letters, top physics publication in US and over 200 SCI papers published on Physical Review Series have been have been cited by others for over 4,000 times, proving the strengthened academic competitiveness of the discipline team and the expanded academic influence among peers both in China and overseas. Research findings have been awarded 1 National Natural Science Third Prize, 1 Ministry of Education Science and Technology Advancement First Prize and numerous Second Prize. In 2006, theoretical physics Level II discipline of Beijing Normal University was rated as A++ by China Postgraduate Evaluation published by Research Institute of Sciences, China Academy of Management Science, which was the highest ranking.

A team of outstanding PhDs in their prime years are playing a key role in scientific research and teaching while gradually becoming a new generation of leading scholars. These young leading scholars, who are in charge of most scientific research projects, have become the backbone of the discipline team in terms of major scientific breakthroughs and publication of research achievements in top periodicals. Meanwhile, senior CAS fellows and scholars continue to play a key role in discipline construction as well as the training and development of young scholars, hence forming a healthy ecosystem with well-structured combination of senior, middle-aged and young scholars as well as emergence and development of young leading scholars. With Level II discipline construction as the masterstroke and with a group of middle-aged and young leading scholars at the center, a university-level innovation group on condensed matter physics was created in 2002 and the construction of statistical physics and non-linear science innovation group started in 2007. In recent years, Department of Physics has attributed much importance to the construction of experimental disciplines, having constructed 1 Beijing Municipal Key Laboratory, i.e. Laboratory of Applied Optics, 3 university-level key laboratories, namely Laboratory of Computational and Simulated Physics, Laboratory of Condensed Matter Physics and Laboratory of Functional Nano-Material Thin Film and Device Physics and Physics Experiment Demonstration Center of Beijing.

Department of Physics, Beijing Normal University has produced over 10,000 well-trained graduates of various specialties, who prove to be highly competitive in the job market with their extensive and solid academic base, prudent and rigorous attitude, down-to-earth approach, flexibility and vast potentials. Undergraduate education of Department of Physics has trained numerous professionals in the field of physics for the past decade. 5 of our graduates (4 of whom graduated from our undergraduate program) won National Excellent Doctoral Thesis Award. Department of Physics attaches great importance to teaching reforms and pedagogical research with visible achievements. In 2005, Department of Physics won 1 First Prize and 1 Second Prize of National Award of Education, with one course accredited as state-level quality course. In the same year, we were also winner of 2 First Prize and 3 Second Prize of Beijing Municipal Award of Education.

Based on the physics discipline of the university renowned for its complete portfolio of disciplines and comprehensive discipline construction and development, Department of Physics, Beijing Normal University is proud to announce our ambition to train talents with excellent background in science and culture, high moral standards, solid and extensive theoretical basis of physics, strong capability in practical experiments and innovation as well as rigorous and prudent academic attitude. In line with the education guidelines of the Party and the strategy of rejuvenating the country through science and education, we shall continue with our efforts in education and innovation so as to build Department of Physics into a training base for outstanding talents in physics and relevant scientific research and high-quality research-oriented teachers.