USTC Day 2017 at PQI

  • By Barbara Delraso
  • 28 September 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017, 9:30 AM. One dozen physics students, who are both undergraduate and graduate level, arrive at the PQI office for the kickoff of the second annual PQI & USTC Day, where they are greeted by PQI co-Excutive Director, Burcu Ozden.

The University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), which is located in Heifei, is one of China’s leading universities. USTC recently made international headlines due to the work of physics professor Jianwei Pan, the chief scientist on the project that culminated with China’s recent launch of the first quantum satellite.

University of Science and Technology of China, Heifei

Over the last several years, USTC and PQI have been establishing strong ties and collaborations. In recent years a number of USTC graduates have joined the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) physics departments to work in the groups and labs of PQI faculty. Some PQI faculty are themselves USTC alumni, and other PQI groups often welcome USTC undergraduate students for summer internships or research projects.

In fact, a summer research program was recently set up to bring USTC physics majors to Pittsburgh for a research experience at CMU and Pitt.

This summer program that started in 2014 is coordinated by PQI member and CMU physics professor Di Xiao. For the past four years, third-year USTC students have arrived in Pittsburgh in July and stayed for about two months, working in various labs until mid-September. This year, they have been working on projects ranging from calculating the effective mass of an effective Hamiltonian for pion and kaon fields with Monte Carlo methods, to exfoliating 2D materials such as graphite and boron nitride.

The success and impact of this program has been tremendous. Students have enjoyed their overall experience so much that several of them have applied, and have been accepted, to graduate programs in Pittsburgh following their summer internship.

The number of graduate students at Pitt or CMU whose alma mater is USTC is quite significant. Approximately a half dozen students from USTC are part of the Pitt graduate program in physics.

The purpose of the PQI & USTC Day is to bring together the undergraduate interns, the incoming graduate class, as well as other USTC alumni who have been in Pittsburgh for few years or more. The inaugural event included about 15 participants from the USTC community, including Dr. Yang Wang, USTC alumnus who works in the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center.


Yang Wang shared his experience with the undergraduate and incoming students in a very inspiring talk during the PQI & USTC Day. 


In addition to the alumni presentation, the day consisted of an informal meet and greet session, lunch and lab tours. The students enjoyed the opportunity to visit several labs at Pitt.

When asked about what they enjoyed about the USTC Day and Pittsburgh, the responses were varied:

" The nicest thing this day is to meet different professors and senior students in different laboratories, who are all very friendly and hospitable.. Really nice today is!" - Zehna Wang

" The bridges on the river." - Mingzhe Liu

"All the nice people" - Hao Chen

"Talking to Burcu Ozden. First [person] I knew from Turkey. She is a very nice person." - Zimo

With a few more weeks to go, the students still have some time to finish their projects and enjoy the city. PQi looks forward to USTC Day 2018!

Thanks to  Xinyi Wu, Azarin Zarassi, Olivia Lanes, Peng Ji, Kai Zhang, Shijing Tan and Mike McDonald who volunteered to give lab tours. 


Meet and greet, USTC Day 2017