昨天晚上, 回了趟母校不列颠哥伦比亚大学材料系。听三位天才演讲, 感触很深。
笔者去晚了点, 主要是下雨, 和下班高峰期间, 有点堵车。
第一位Nathan Stubina准确地讲是McGill University和the University of Toronto的校友, 在Barrick Gold Corp工作, 绝对是个天才, 哲学家, 还有点滑头。他引用了大量爱因斯坦等人的名言警句, 印象很深。一个晚上都在讲哲学问题, 他给我们看两张驴唇不对马嘴的照片, 一个是马屁股和尾巴, 另一张是航天飞机, 问我们两张照片, 有什么联系? 联系就是英国铁轨宽度最早设计和马屁股一样, 而航天飞机的滑轮宽和英国铁轨一个尺寸。
这个问题一般人是答不上来的, 但下面有学生答出了。笔者认为, 如果不是事前, 碰巧读了有关资料, 就是台上台下同谋作弊。谁没事儿去背这些东西, 不过, 在材料系这个天才成堆的地方, 这种恶作剧也难讲。他的工作主要是讨论”如何解决现在还没有出现的问题”, “如何使用现在还没有的技术” 。看上去高深莫测, 其实都是些放之四海皆准的哲学问题, 工作量其实不大, 是些冷饭炒成的东东。话又说回来, 在材料系讲这些工程哲学问题, 还是合适的, 工科生缺的就是这方面的知识。感谢材料系。
第二位Jasna Jankovic是Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation,是UBC燃料电池博士, 现在是燃料电池Research Scientist专门研究催化剂, 。以前在University of Belgrade学石油的, 据她讲, 石油专业太脏了, 不适合她, 转行搞的燃料电池, 做起化学工程师的工作。让一个娇滴滴的大姑娘去搞脏兮兮的石油, 确实有点于心不忍。Jasna看上去比当学生的时候, 要漂亮很多, 身材高挑苗条, 楚楚动人, 英语也进步了。 只不过, 她们公司还在做Prototype 燃料电池汽车, 做了都10年了, 还在做概念, 看来燃料电池风险基金还是很充足的。风险基金本身就是”周喻打黄盖”, 愿打愿挨的事, 有人愿意出钱, 别人也无话好讲。
第三位Cliff Mui (Nexterra Systems Corp)是UBC材料系的老校友。姜是老的辣, 他不去啃燃料电池, 清洁能源等硬骨头, 做的都是Demonstration Facility和Gasifier等概念化的研究, 就是把各种有机物拿来烧, 产生的热能来推动engine。这种研究是旱涝保收, 不容易出丑闻, 也容易应付。材料系也意识到了, 给学生讲些生存法则是必要的。会后有个学生问笔者”你喜欢哪一个?”, 答曰” 三个都喜欢。”
Opinions on UBC Materials Engineering 5th Annual Industry Night
Gesheng Li, 1-25-2013
The 5th Annual Industry Night of the Materials Engineering of UBC took place last night. The three man/woman of genius gave us impressive lectures.
I was late, because of the rain and the rush hour, a traffic jam on 49th Ave.
Nathan Stubina is an alumni prodigy of McGill University and the University of Toronto, working for Barrick Gold Corp., a genius, philosophic and slippery fellow, he used a lot of well-known sayings and mottoes from Einstein, talking about the philosophy the whole night. He showed us two pictures that were totally unrelated for me, a horse tail and space shuttle, and asking us what was the connection of the two pictures, the connection is the British Railway’s width is the same as the horse but and the space shuttle uses the same width of British Railway.
Normally nobody could answer the questions like this, except the student prodigy in the materials department. I think that, if he had not happened to have read something related to it before, it could be another collude in cheating, it was common to play a practical joke there when I was a student in the materials engineering. Nathan’s lecture was about “how to solve the problem that has not existed.”, “how to use the technology that we do not have yet”… the theories looked like academic subtlety, but were universal philosophic viewpoints. The workload was not proportional to the amount of work done; he only repeated the philosophic underline without any new content. Anyhow it was suitable to give the lecture to the materials students who needed it. We should thank the materials department to give us a chance to attend the event.
Jasna Jankovic was a research scientist of Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, she was a UBC Ph.D student of fuel cell. Her expertise was catalyst. “She is an alumni of the University of Belgrade, Serbia and worked there as a process engineer in a petroleum refinery for five years. After moving to Canada in 2002 she has pursued a Masters degree in heavy oil and a PhD at UBC in fuel cell area.” Jasna looked much younger than before, a slender figure, delicate and attractive. Her English was very clear as well. Their company was still working on prototype fuel cell vehicle that was invented ten years ago. The fuel cell car has been an idea or a concept for over 10years. Their venture capital should be very strong. The punishment is skillfully given by one and gladly accepted by another. It’s all right.
Cliff Mui (Nexterra Systems Corp) is a senior alumni of UBC materials engineering. Old things die hard, he won’t crack the hard nuts such as the concepts of fuel cell, clean energy, and his expertise is demonstration Facility and Gasifier, burning all kinds of biomaterials, a stable and safe research. It is a good thing that the materials department teaches the students risk consciousness and risk management now.
A fellow asked me “which one do you like?”, ” I like them all.” I answered. Anyhow, I sincerely thanks the materials department gave us the chance to find a job. I am going to apply for a job via the companies’ website