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Professor ZHOU Ji

77th Congregation (2014)

Professor ZHOU Ji
Doctor of Science


Professor Zhou Ji is a man who travels the world seeking to benefit mankind through innovation and scientific development. He is responsible for popularising science education and founding a new education system in China. His commitment and dedication is truly an inspiration to the pursuit of the Chinese dream. Professor Zhou is a leader in China’s mechanical engineering development, as well as an advocate for the country’s science education. He was elected an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 1999, and since 2010 has served as the Academy’s President. In 2010, Professor Zhou was elected a Foreign Academician of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. In 2013, he was awarded Foreign Associate by the National Academy of Engineering, USA, for his remarkable contribution in the fields of numerical control (NC), computer-aided design (CAD) and optimal design. In the realms of science and technology, his name has become known across the globe. Professor Zhou was born in 1946 in Wuhan, Hubei Province of a family originated in Shanghai. He graduated from the Department of Precision Instruments and Mechanology of Tsinghua University in 1970, and acquired his master’s degree from Huazhong Institute of Technology (HIT) in 1980. After that, he went abroad and studied in the United States, receiving his Master of Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from University at Buffalo, The State University of New York in 1984. Upon graduation, Professor Zhou returned to China, taking a teaching role at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST). He was promoted as Dean of the School of Mechanical Science and Engineering, then Vice-President and President of HUST. During his tenure, HUST amalgamated with three other universities to become the new HUST, and instituted a new operational model that blended together education, research and industry, encouraging the institute to turn research and development achievements into productivity. Under his guidance, a number of industry-leading enterprises were formed, including Wuhan Huazhong Numerical Control Company Limited and Huagong Tech Co Ltd. Throughout all these, the industrious Professor Zhou became a role model for many teachers and professors, inspiring them to work together to establish HUST as a worldrenowned university. Professor Zhou’s political career was launched when he served as a Director of the Department of Science and Technology of Hubei Province in 2000. In 2001, he served as Deputy Secretary of CPC Municipal Committee of Wuhan, Hubei Province. He served as mayor of Wuhan the next year, becoming the second academician in the history of China to be appointed the mayoralty. During his tenure as Wuhan’s mayor, Professor Zhou advanced the strategy: ‘Grow trees, cultivate talent, and develop enterprises’. Under his reign, Wuhan transformed into the ‘Optics Valley of China’, the leading development base for the optics and electronics industry. Wuhan’s citizens have widely acclaimed his accomplishments as having a positive impact on the city’s economic and social development. The same year, Professor Zhou was appointed the country’s Vice-Minister of Education, then Minister of Education a year after. Believing that science education holds the key to China’s prosperity and advocating the popularisation of education, Professor Zhou spearheaded a drastic reform of China’s post-2000 education system, particularly in the areas of higher education and science education. He was a major driving force for the realisation of free compulsory education in the country’s cities and villages, the acceleration of vocational education, and the popularisation of higher education. These reforms bore fruit under his leadership and were set to make a far-reaching impact for China. He left the Ministry of Education in 2009 to join the Chinese Academy of Engineering CPC Leading Party Group as Deputy Secretary. He has been serving as the President of the Chinese Academy of Engineering since 2010. Professor Zhou has devoted significant effort to the research and application of optimal design, CAD, NC, and computer-integrated manufacturing system (CIMS) technologies. He advanced the algorithm of monotonic analysis for optimisation and the algorithm of direct interpolation for NC machining. This allowed manufacturers to obtain high-precision NC machining tools in a more economical way, which suited China’s situation at that time. For the contour control system, the algorithm of interpolation is key. As interpolation is a realtime process for machining tools, the interpolation algorithm speed is decisive for system control speed. Introducing the algorithm of direct interpolation for NC machining therefore provided a massive boost to the search for high-speed and high-accuracy interpolation algorithm solutions. Professor Zhou and his team also developed the Huazhong-I computer numerical control (CNC) system as well as a series of optimal design and mechanical CAD software that has been widely used in various industries, including machinery, aeronautics, astronautics and energy. This work has amassed four third-class State Scientific and Technological Progress Awards and 14 Provincial Scientific and Technological Progress Prizes. In addition, he has published 11 books and more than 200 papers. Under his leadership, the CIMS Centre of Huazhong University of Science and Technology won the Leadership and Excellence in the Application and Development of Integrated Manufacturing (LEAD) Award granted by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1999. Professor Zhou’s life of achievements clearly illustrates his guiding principle of ‘serving your country and devoting yourself to your people’. As clearly demonstrated by Professor Zhou’s life work, science education can benefit your country and your people! Following his motto, ‘stride unswervingly in the right direction, live an austere life, and facilitate scientific innovation’, he has worked relentlessly for decades on the research and development of technology. He has been a key figure in promoting science and technology education, upholding the idea of applying research and development products in society to better people’s livelihoods. It is a good deed to educate people. It is an even better deed to both educate them and make them prosperous. Mr Chairman, I have the great honour of presenting to you Professor Zhou Ji for the award of the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of technology in China, as well as his outstanding efforts and achievements in the political and education sectors.