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February 27, 2010

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Remembrances and gratitude

SAMUEL Chao Chung Ting was born in 1936 in the US state of Michigan, but his ancestry is rooted in China's Shandong Province. In 1976, Ting and Burton Richter shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of a meson nuclear particle. Ting was named an Honorary Professor by the University of Science and Technology of China, and he is also a member of the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Ting is the principal investigator for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer project, which is scheduled to be installed on the International Space Station in 2010.

The first time I was ever in Shanghai was in 1946. My impression was that it had many good restaurants. The second time I was in Shanghai was 1948. At that time the streets were filled with refugees and defeated soldiers. My impression was that the end of the world was near.

The third time I was in Shanghai was 1977. At that time my impression was that there were few cars and everyone wore the same style of clothing.

The fourth time I was in Shanghai was in 1983. The Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, under academician Yan Dongsheng, produced 12 tons of special crystals for my experiment studying the fundamental building blocks of nature. The quality and quantify of the crystals produced by the institute were world class.

Since 2002, my present experiment to search for antimatter and dark matter via the International Space Station has brought me to Shanghai many times. Shanghai now has many trees and parks, and the streets are very clean, although now filled with traffic. It is a dynamic and well managed city similar to the city where I reside, Geneva, Switzerland. Professor Yang Yupu of Shanghai Jiao Tong University has made extraordinary contributions to the software of my experiment to be conducted in space.

Over the years, Jiang Zemin, Zhu Rongji, Wu Bangguo, Han Zheng, Yan Junqi, Yang Dinghua and other Shanghai leaders have provided great encouragement and support for my research. However, since I am a physicist, I do not feel qualified to make recommendations on how to build and manage better cities.

The Shanghai government is very capable and efficient, and I am confident that the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai will be a great success.


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