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Role Model for Overseas Returnees
Renowned geophysicist remembered for patriotism and professional dedication
By Ma Xiaowen | Web Exclusive

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on July 23 decided to posthumously honor late geophysicist Huang Danian as an "outstanding CPC member."

Huang, known for his expertise in deep earth exploration technology, is a latest role model that Party members and people look up to for inspiration. Huang returned to China in 2009 after studying and working in Britain for 18 years. He contributed greatly to deep earth exploration technology until he passed away in January.

Chinese President and General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping praised Huang in an instruction letter on May 25 and called on all to learn from Huang's patriotism, professional dedication, and his faithful fulfillment of duties.

Huang Danian (center) was with his students in Jilin University, China(XINHUA) 

A patriotic scholar 

In 1993, he went to study at Britain's Leeds University. Though having to encounter language and living difficulties, Huang quickly earned respect from his British professors and colleagues thanks to his profound academic knowledge and hard work. Four years later, he earned his doctor's degree in geophysics as the top of his class.

His supervisor, Dr Roger Clark, senior lecturer at Leeds University's School of Earth & Environment, told Xinhua that Huang was a "dedicated student" and he had the skill and energy to do well in whatever he wanted to do.

After he obtained his doctor's degree, Huang started working in a geophysical service company in Cambridge as an advanced researcher on techniques mainly used in oil, gas and mineral resources exploration both at sea and on land.

Huang's team was deemed by fellow researchers as one of the leading research teams in the industry of mobile detection technology.

Mark Davies, president and CEO of AustinBridgeporth, was a colleague of Huang for many years. "I think Huang was an extremely talented geophysicist who pioneered many projects over the years for large independent oil companies," Davies told China Daily.

"Danian loved science and technology," Davies said. "He never said why he wanted to go back, but it was very obvious to me. China was funding high quality science projects, and he wanted to be part of it."

During his time in Britain, Huang remained committed to China. He always flew to China to attend academic meetings or seminars in his field.

Huang's return to China was not a "random choice" or a "sudden impulse," said Sun Wei, a close friend of Huang. 

Huang Danian was working in his office (XINHUA) 

A dedicated geophysicist 

With China's rapid growth in economy and technology, Chinese scientists and researchers are returning home from abroad to aid in their country's development. Huang returned to China seven years ago from Britain and contributed greatly to deep earth exploration technology.

In 2008, China launched the "Thousand Talents" program, a national recruitment plan inviting overseas Chinese and foreign professionals to come to work in China, as part of efforts to become an innovation-driven economy.

Huang became one of the first to participate in the program in 2009. He gave up his position in Britain and sold his house and property to work at Jilin University in Changchun.

As soon as he returned to China, Huang was invited to be the chief scientist in a branch of China's biggest deep earth exploration program. The program aims to install high-tech cameras on aircraft, ships and satellites that enable scientists to see through the earth's crust without digging into it.

To advance the program, Huang worked day and night in his office with only two to three hours of sleep a day, earning him the title of "workaholic." Overtime working wrecked his health, and he died of bile duct cancer on January 8.

Four months after Huang's passing, his daughter Huang Xiao told Xinhua that her family was still sunken in grief. She said her father was like most loving fathers, and he hoped she could be a person useful to society.

"My father always wanted to serve his motherland and wanted to be a person who could help others," she added.

Huang Xiao is proud to know that her father's work has been recognized by his motherland, and he was honored as a "sincere patriot and role model" for overseas returnees.

Copyedited by Chris Surtees 

Comments to maxiaowen@bjreview.com  

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