Mu Guoguang, former President of Nankai University

Mu Guoguang’s office is located in Nankai University’s Institute of Modern Optics. As former President of Nankai University, when he sat on his chair, he immediately started to talk about his main concern: many students casually choose their majors.
Born in Jinxi, Liaoning, in January 1931, Mu Guoguang was admitted to the Department of Physics of Nankai University in 1949. Talking about the moment he entered the university, when he was 18 years old, Mu Guoguang said that he had troubles in choosing an adequate major, just like today’s students. He even thought about changing his major because he was convinced that Physics was not very popular.
Even if he was not interested in Physics, Mu Guoguang graduated from Nankai University’s Department of Physics. After the graduation, he remained in the department working as professor. In 1954, the university decided to reallocate him to the Teaching and Research Section of the major in Optics, which was established that year. For this reason, Mu Guoguang, 23-year-old, started to study Optics after a four-year major in Physics.
After teaching for four years at Nankai University, in 1956 Mu Guoguang furthered his study in Applied Optics at Changchun’s Institute of Optical Precision Machinery Instruments of Chinese Academy of Sciences. The 25-year-old Mu Guoguang combined theory and practice, and learned a lot, setting strong foundations for his future scientific researches.
Talking about his period in Changchun, Mu Guoguang mentioned several times Prof. Gong Zutong, Chinese pioneer of Optics. Prof. Gong’s directions had an important influence on Mu Guoguang’s life.
However, the experience acquired in Changchun did not help Prof. Mu to immediately obtain achievements in his work.
The case of the Japanese microscope marked a turning point in Mu’s career, giving him a big opportunity. To achieve the production of the national color TV in a short time, on January 16th, 1970, many ministries and departments of the Central Government decided to put together the technical knowledge to invest and produce the first Chinese color TV. The “battle for color TVs” began in that moment. At that time, due to the fact that the governmental policy demanded self-innovation without the use of foreign technologies, the experts met many technical difficulties on their path. The kinescope manufacture was proved one of the key technologies.
Participating in the “battle for color TVs”, which gathered all the top national scientists, was a dream for every scientist specialized in Optics. However, because of his family background, Mu Guoguang couldn’t take part in the research. Anyway, one of the experts of the team, Prof. Mu’s former classmate, found him. In that period, because of his family background, Prof. Mu couldn’t let his name appear on the papers, even though his contribution was extremely important. He became an unknown hero of the “battle for color TVs”.
By the end of the 70s, the international scientific community faced a major problem which needed an urgent solution: due to the inevitable natural color fade of the chemical fuel, the color of the images recorded using photographic film could not be preserved for a long time. In 1980, while working in the U.S. as Visiting Scholar, Prof. Mu took over the issue.
After solving the problem of film’s color fade, Prof. Mu went back to China in 1981. Using his former researches as starting point, he attempted to make further progress and gradually made the capture of color images using black and white film possible. In a period marked by the absence of digital cameras and by the rudimentary development of Computer Science, Prof. Mu solved all the technical difficulties connected to the preservation of color images. Thanks to his achievements, the results of Mu Guoguang’s researches successively won the 2nd and 3rd prizes of the National Invention Award, and the 3rd prize of the National Natural Science Award. Moreover, from 1991 to 1994, he was elected as Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and of the Third World Academy of Sciences, and became Vice President of the International Commission for Optics.

Source: Xinhua News
Translated by Shi Yuchen
Proofread by Letizia Vallini

Nankai University

No.38 Tongyan Road, Jinnan District, Tianjin , P.R. China 300350

No.94 Weijin Road,  Nankai District, Tianjin, P.R.China  300071