Front-Runner of Chinese Physics


is the 78th birthday of Xie Xide, a Chinese physicist whose work has helped the field of physics survive and flourish in China.

After receiving her Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951, Xie returned to China to teach. She directed the solid state physics lab at Fudan University and in 1958 co-authored Physics of Semiconductors, the first book on the subject published in China. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Xie had to overcome public humiliation and imprisonment, while she also suffered from breast cancer. But she survived and emerged with a growing interest in surface physics after reading Western journals. She helped establish the Modern Physics Research Institute and eight new labs at Fudan.

In 1980, Xie was elected to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and in 1983 she became president of Fudan University. She published more than 60 research papers and co-authored four other volumes on solid state physics. She also played a pivotal role in organizing the 21st International Conference on Semiconductor Physics in Beijing in 1991.

[Source: Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Eds., Notable Women in the Physical Sciences: A Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood Press, 1997).]