On November 24, 2016, Wang Jianxiang, a professor at the Department of Mechanics & Engineering Science, College of Engineering (COE), Peking University (PKU) and Deputy Dean of COE, was invited to the 93rd session of SUSTech Lecture to give an impressive lecture entitled Simplicity is Beauty-Dimensional Analysis in Scientific Research. In the lecture, he introduced the convenience of dimensional analysis in physical research. Huang Kefu, Vice Provost of SUSTech, presided over the lecture.
Wang has long researched on mechanics of composite materials, micro/nano mechanics and generalized transport property theory. He won the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars in 2005 and was engaged as a distinguished professor under the Chang Jiang Scholars Program by the Ministry of Education in 2008. He currently holds posts such as Member of IUTAM Symposium Committee, Special Council Member of the Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, and Deputy Chief Editor of Acta Mechanica Solida Sinica. In many years of researches, he deeply felt solving complex problems with simple formulas is what scientific researches have in common, and the method of solving problems according to key factors is the art of science. This time, he shared the perception with SUSTech’s students.
“Apart from problem solving, we are supposed to pay attention to the ways to solve problems,” said Wang from the beginning. In scientific research, a simple and direct way to solve a problem is practical and efficient. From the story of Professor Taylor in the 1940s, he introduced the function of dimensional analysis in diverse fields with impressive stories and easy-to-understood examples.
In the Q&A session, students asked about the applicable fields of dimensional analysis and whether it can be applied to non-fundamental physical quantities. Wang gave detailed answers. Following the lecture, some students exchanged their concerns with Wang about mechanical discoveries and researches.