• YEAR: Doctoral student
  • MAJOR: Physics
  • HOMETOWN: Huoqiu County, Anhui Province, China

Yunlong Zi

Growing up in China, Yunlong Zi read books about history, natural science and geography. His hometown was a vast area of plains and hills. Three years ago, he arrived in West Lafayette — a locale noteworthy to him for its many cornfields. Yunlong traveled far because he plans to go far. He came to Purdue for doctoral studies in nanoscience, a field he believes is the foundation for next-generation technologies.

A student of transformative research, Yunlong believes science drives social progress and promotion of human life, which he says gives meaning to his work. "In my research, elements/components in nature are transformed into useful materials and devices that can help people," he says.

The heart of the matter

"Nanoscience attracts me because I strongly believe it will be the fundament for varieties of next-generation technologies in different areas," Yunlong says. "My research is material growth and electronics in nano size, which is believed to be a great candidate for the next generation of transistors as components of CPU — the heart of computers."

What counts?

"I believe economics and applied science are the two most important fields in today's world," he says. But, he tempers that statement with his favorite life philosophy: "Nothing is absolute."

Traveling man

Yunlong has been in the United States for 3 1/2 years. In that time, he has been to Washington, D.C., and major cities in California, Illinois, New York and Florida. He took in the Guggenheim Museum in New York, has skied at Perfect North Slopes in Indiana and has visited national parks. The most fun? Death Valley National Park. "That is an amazing product of nature!" he exclaims.

Who is he?

In addition to having a happy outlook on life, Yunlong describes himself as "executive, fearless, life-work balanced. I want to be a person who can solve problems and improve lives." That happy outlook? "Go ahead and enjoy happiness," Yunlong says. "That's why I always laugh in my photos. Just be happy."