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Bridging East and West through Physics

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Chapter Summary

William Band's story illustrates some previously overlooked aspects in the development of modern science in Republican China, highlighting transnational contributions by individual Western scientists and the special role played by mission colleges. Physics teaching at Yenching began no later than 1920 when its College of Natural Sciences was founded, and physics instruction was first carried out in collaboration with Peking Union Medical College. Band's initial appointment was as an "Instructor in Theoretical Physics", and his teaching indeed helped cultivate theoretical studies in physics. Both Vector Analysis and the Principle of Relativity were also brand-new courses at Yenching University. Indeed, there was "no let-up in academic standards" at Yenching University during these years of "militant nationalism", when the physics department was mostly under Band's leadership. William Band contributed much to the Chinese development in modern physics, especially the professionalization of Chinese studies in theoretical physics.

Keywords: militant nationalism; modern physics; modern science; Republican China; theoretical physics; William Band; Yenching University



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