Person: Qinglai, Xiong
Xiong Qinglai was a Chinese mathematician who served as a highly successful president of three major Chinese universities. His outstanding research as a function-theorist was claimed by a reviewer to be of the first rank even comparable with Émile Borel and Rolf Nevanlinna.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- As a hobby, Xiong Guodong was interested in calligraphy and painting.
- We have given Xiong Qinglai's date of birth according to the Georgian calendar as 20 October 1893 but it was 11 Ninth Month 1893, the year of the snake, in the Chinese lunar calendar.
- Xiong Qinglai was given a demerit by the school for participating in the anti-fascist and anti-Qing demonstrations to "take back the mining rights".
- The life people led and the struggle they had, made Xiong Qinglai realise that: To make the country prosperous and strong, it is necessary to master science, and science can strengthen the country and enrich the people.
- Jiang Juyuan was also sixteen years old; in fact she was born on 18 October 1893, two days before Xiong Qinglai.
- Xiong Qinglai immediately applied for the examinations.
- Xiong Qinglai decided to seek safety in France and he journeyed there going first to the Netherlands, then to the United Kingdom before finally reaching France.
- After graduating from the Lycée St Louis in 1915, Xiong Qinglai began his undergraduate studies later that year at the University of Grenoble.
- In the spring of 1921, Xiong Qing returned to Kunming in China where he taught at the Kunming Yunnan Industrial School and the Yunnan Road School.
- Kuo Ping-Wen invited Xiong Qinglai to become a professor of mathematics at the National Southeastern University, and to establish a Department of Mathematics there.
- Once, Xiong Qinglai even sold the leather robe he was wearing to send money to Liu Guang.
- In the autumn of 1925, Xiong Qinglai taught at Northwestern University for one semester, and after that he returned to Southeast University in the spring semester of the following year.
- The president of Tsinghua College, Cao Yunxiang, on the advice of the Dean of Science Ye Qisun, invited Xiong Qinglai to join the mathematics department which, at that time, was headed by Zheng Tongsun.
- Xiong Qinglai was given advanced courses to teach on calculus, differential equations, and analytical functions.
- In 1931 Xiong Qinglai read Hua Loo-Keng's paper in the Shanghai Journal of Science and saw at once that the article was clear, well-argued, and concise.
- He spent the two years 1936-38 at Cambridge, England, at the invitation of G H Hardy and, thanks to Xiong Qinglai, became a mathematician of high international standing.
- Xiong Qinglai attended the International Congress of Mathematicians in Zurich Switzerland in September 1932, then went to Paris to spend a year undertaking research and had two papers published in 1933, namely Sur les fonctions méromorphes dans le cercle-unite Ⓣ(On meromorphic functions in the unit circle), and Sur les fonctions méromorphes d'ordre infini Ⓣ(On meromorphic functions of infinite order).
- In 1934, Xiong Qinglai returned to Beijing and continued to serve as a professor and head of the Department of Mathematics at Tsinghua University.
- In July 1935, the Chinese Mathematical Society was established in Shanghai, with Xiong Qinglai as one of the founders and a member of the first board of directors.
- Xiong Qinglai was offered the role of president of Yunnan University in Kunming and he accepted.
- When Xiong Qinglai took up the role of President in 1937 the university only had a School of Arts with departments of liberal arts and education, a School of Science and Technology with a department of engineering and a department of science, and a Special training course in medicine.
- Under Xiong Qinglai rapid improvements took place, with the university becoming the National University of Yunnan in 1938.
- In 1948, as a result of the Chinese Civil War, Xiong Qinglai ceased to be president of Yunnan University.
- Xiong Qinglai struggled with the disease with amazing perseverance, practicing every day writing with his left hand.
- In 1957 Xiong Qinglai published a book, Sur les fonctions méromorphes et les fonctions algébroïdes, extensions d'un théorème de M R Nevanlinna Ⓣ(On meromorphic functions and algebraic functions, extensions of a theorem of M R Nevanlinna).
- While Xiong Qinglai was in Paris major changes took place in China.
- In 1956, while on a visit to France, he went to Xiong Qinglai's Paris residence and tried to persuade him to go to Taiwan as head of a university attached to the Taiwan Institute of Atomic Energy.
- Xiong Qinglai thanked him for the offer but categorically refused.
- Xiong Qinglai accepted and returned to Beijing in June 1957.
- The slogan at the meeting was to criticise 'Xiong Hua's black line'.
- Later, when they shouted 'bring Xiong Qinglai up', grandpa went up tremblingly, unable to stand still.
- There he found Xiong Qinglai's body among piles of corpses.
- Xiong Qinglai's name was among the first to be rehabilitated in 1978.
- The first of the four stamps in the series, with a value of 20 fen, was to honour Xiong Qinglai.
- The door opens to the north, with a screen in front of the door, and a plaque with the inscription "Xiong Qinglai's Former Residence" hangs on the door.
- The whole building is irregularly framed according to the terrain, just like the "infinite function" defined by Xiong Qinglai, which is fascinating.
- This is in the village of his birth, originally Xizai Village, renamed Qinglai Village with the approval of the County People's Government in 1998.
- There is a "Qinglai Middle School" named after him in Mile County, Yunnan Province.
Born 20 October 1893, Xizhai village, Mile County, Yunnan, China. Died 3 February 1969, Beijing, China.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive