Zheng Huiyuan | A Chinese folk music flutist who loves theoretical physics
Chris Edwards | 07/27/2019

As the Chinese Folk Orchestra of Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) finishes the classic piece “Reunification (Jiu Zhou Tong)” at the commencement ceremony, they stand and bow to the audience. The performers are graduating students, and the one holding a bamboo flute is Zheng Huiyuan, one of our top ten graduates.

Zheng Huiyuan has broken through many ceilings in his time at SUSTech, both academic and personal. Many students and faculty members have expressed their admiration for him, given his many accomplishments in his four years at SUSTech. He has maintained a 3.9 GPA but remained focused on his achievements in physics.

He also encouraged study groups among his classmates, as it has helped him to learn more in class. On learning about this style of learning, SUSTech encouraged these small classes with students taking notes and providing feedback, ultimately getting credit for their efforts.

Zheng Huiyuan found his love for physics from a young age, wanting to understand the fundamental rules of the world. With a desire to study physics, Zheng Huiyuan chose SUSTech in the hope of finding a direction in physics that would suit him. Like many students before him, he struggled to find the direction that suited him – theoretical or applied physics. Choosing just the major was a tough decision, so Zheng Huiyuan opted to experiment with both over the two years of SUSTech’s general education model. After two years of spending time in laboratories, he found that he preferred theoretical physics, working with formulas than physical equipment.

As he found a path in theoretical physics, his tutor Professor Lu Haizhou helped him through the substantial amount of literature on the field, communicating with him regularly via WeChat and other electronic means. With the guidance from Professor Lu, he then embarked on the journey of research on theoretical physics.

However, theoretical physics is a challenging field, particularly areas like condensed matter physics. Such an obscure field presented doubts to Zheng Huiyuan, who was left questioning if he had made the right decision. On the advice of his roommate, he applied for a summer program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

“I was shocked to be accepted into such a top program, but I grabbed the opportunity.” This interdisciplinary summer program required Zheng Huiyuan to work on a medical physics project with professors who had developed a new set of magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) scan sequences. He needed to understand the physical principles behind the scan sequences, and this was unfamiliar to him. After receiving help from one of his fellow student researchers, he spent a weekend improving simulation methods and dramatically improving them from weeks to minutes. Once he earned his confidence in the project, he would absorb himself in it, working alone on specific aspects that would benefit future generations of society.

Zheng Huiyuan found that working on this project was the application of his knowledge of theoretical physics, in that he was applying his knowledge instantly. By seeing the practical application of his theoretical knowledge, he found his motivation for research, as his research would have a direct impact on the world. His earnest attitude found him with a top score from the summer program, and a deep desire to continue his research path in theoretical physics. He believed that his desire to create new knowledge in this area is more important to himself.

The Zhiren College Folk Orchestra has been a big part of his personal development at SUSTech. Zheng Huiyuan believes that his life would be very different without the influence of the folk orchestra. As the former head of the Zhiren College Folk Orchestra, his excitement is clear when discussing the orchestra and his role in interweaving different instruments into a unique orchestral piece. The Zhiren College Orchestra has played at numerous events around campus, from small concerts all the way up to commencements and convocations.

The Zhiren College Folk Orchestra has been a big part of his personal development at SUSTech. Zheng Huiyuan believes that his life would be very different without the influence of the folk orchestra. As the former head of the Zhiren College Folk Orchestra, his excitement is clear when discussing the orchestra and his role in interweaving different instruments into a unique orchestral piece. The Zhiren College Orchestra has played at numerous events around campus, from small concerts all the way up to commencements and convocations.

He believes that the role he played in adapting different types of music to folk instruments has seen a new breath in the Zhiren College Folk Orchestra, after a period of difficulty some years ago. By experimenting with other genres of music, including more modern forms, the Zhiren College Folk Orchestra is expected to go from strength to strength, finding beauty from different areas.

“I feel that my dream and love for folk music will never die.” Just as he found pleasure in folk music for the first time as a freshman, Zheng Huiyuan still has many future new ideas for it. He hopes that the orchestra will have access for technology in the future, to become a better student folk orchestra.

Looking forward to the future, he will work harder for his academic career, living each day with enthusiasm.

2019, 07-27
By Chris Edwards

From the Series

Graduate Stories

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Translated and Adapted By SUSTech Newshub

Proofread ByXia Yingying

Photo BySupplied, Qiu Yan

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