In 1972, when Nobel Prize winner in physics Li Zhengdao came to China, Chinese Communist Premier Zhou Enlai wanted him to introduce some overseas experts to lecture in China to solve the problem of talent gap in China. Li Zhengdao said bluntly, “Many of my former teachers were as good as famous foreign scientists in terms of scientific attainment, only you did not use them, such as my teacher, Shuang Xingbei.”
How good was Shuang Xingbei?
In 1937, Bohr, a Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner in physics, was invited to visit Zhejiang University. After Bohr returned to China, Chinese teachers and students kept writing to him, asking for advice on how to learn physics and how to go abroad for further study. Bohr wrote back and said, “You have world-class physicists like Shuang Xingbei and Wang Jianchang, there is no need to come to Europe to study.
At the end of 1952, there was an important academic lecture in the auditorium of Shandong University, and the speaker was the famous thermodynamicist Wang Zhuxi. Wang Zhuxi was a student of the famous Chinese physicist Zhou Peiyuan and a student of the world famous physicist Fowler. Zhuxi Wang introduced the current status of thermodynamics in China, the latest international results and development prospects, as well as his personal understanding and achievements. As he talked, he casually wrote some formulas and important concepts on the blackboard.
After 50 minutes of lecture, the moderator asked if he wanted to take a break, but Wang Zhuxi said no. Just as he was about to continue, he asked if he wanted to take a break. Just as he was about to continue, a tall, lanky man in a blue robe approached the podium, propped his hands on the podium and said, “I need to interrupt because I think Mr. Wang’s report is full of errors and he does not understand the nature of thermodynamics.”
The robed gentleman picked up the chalk and spoke for about 40 minutes in one breath as he crossed over the formulas and concepts that Wang Zhuxi had almost written all over the blackboard, explaining what was wrong. This man is the famous Shuang Xingbei.
The student of Shuang Xingbei, academician Cheng Kaijia, the founder of China’s “Two Bombs and One Star”, said, “Shuang Xingbei’s talent for physics is unparalleled, and he has a great number of ideas or thoughts in his brain of extraordinary intelligence. And those ideas and thoughts, if grasped and pondered thoroughly, will most likely bear fruits that will be a world sensation.”
Studying in prestigious schools in the U.S. and Europe
In 1926, he studied at Baker University in Kansas, U.S.A. In 1927, he first studied at the University of California in San Francisco, U.S.A., and then traveled to Europe.
In October 1928, he entered the University of Edinburgh in England, where he studied fundamental physics and mathematics under the famous theoretical physicists Whitaker and Darwin. In February 1930, he was introduced by Whitaker and Darwin to Cambridge University, where he studied with Dr. Eddington, a famous theoretical astrophysicist. Xingbei Suo participated in the whole process of derivation of Eddington’s Dirac equation, which was called by the physics community: the most beautiful picture equation of the world summarized in the most concise words.
In August 1930, Xingbei Suo was recommended to be a graduate student and assistant professor of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under the supervision of the famous mathematician Professor Strock, and received his Master of Science degree in May 1931, at the age of 25.
The most brilliant period
In 1931, Shuang Xingbei was ordered by his mother to return to China to get married. Since then, he has been a professor at Zhejiang University, Jinan University in Shanghai, and Shanghai Jiaotong University. In 1945, he developed the first radar in China.
Before the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949, the 17 years he taught at Zhejiang University were the most brilliant period of his Life. At that Time, Zhejiang University had a very enlightened president, Zhu Kezhen, and the Republic of China had a relatively free academic research environment. Growing up in the academic freedom of the United States and Europe, the genius physicist Xingbei Suo was like a fish in water. He and another physicist, Professor Wang Jianchang, who later became the founder of China’s “Two Bombs and One Star”, often engaged in completely free and even red-necked debates on academic issues, with sparks of ideas constantly colliding, resulting in many important scientific achievements. He has trained a number of elite talents who later became famous in the world of physics, such as Wu Jianxiong and Li Zhengdao.
Professor Wang Jianchang said, “Shuang Xingbei has a lot of teaching experience, and I admire his method of teaching very much. He neither used texts nor wrote lecture notes, and often explained the new concepts and principles he learned in depth and in conjunction with things he encountered in daily life, which was very thorough, and students loved to listen to his lectures, which I could not learn in any case.”
The first round of being criticized
In 1952, there was a major restructuring of faculties and departments in universities in mainland China. Shuo Xingbei came from Zhejiang University to Shandong University. The president of Shandong University, Hua Gang, was a Marxist theorist. He kept up with the situation and was particularly “political”. Suo Xingbei reacted strongly to this, claiming: “Students are not politicians, universities are not party schools, and whoever wants to be a politician should go to a school that specializes in training politicians”.
After the Chinese Communist Party came to power, it adopted a “one-sided” foreign policy toward the Soviet Union. According to Suo Xingbei, Soviet science and technology lagged far behind that of the United States and Britain. He said that the Soviet Union did not have a decent physics journal, and that all science was copied from the Germans, and most scientists were second-rate. The reason why the Soviet Union did not work was that there were too many meetings and too much political study. He has publicly said that the people of capitalist countries are free to speak, neither to participate in political studies, meetings can also be randomly absent, say the wrong thing or even curse no one to fight you, this freedom is the guarantee of scientific development.
In the second half of 1954, Shandong University decided to launch a public criticism of Shuang Xingbei for the crime of opposing dialectical materialism and opposing and resisting comprehensive study of the Soviet Union.
The second round of being criticized
In 1955, Mao Zedong launched a campaign to criticize the “Hu Feng counter-revolutionary group”. This was followed by a campaign to purge the counter-revolution. After Shandong University investigated the old intellectuals over and over again, the historical problems of Shuang Xingbei came out.
Qingdao Public Security Bureau “Report on the situation of Professor Shuang Xingbei of the Physics Department of Shandong University” said that Shuang Xingbei worked as a consultant in the technical office of the Second Department of the Ministry of National Defense of the Kuomintang in June 1944, and tried to make a small AC/DC secret agent radio station for the technical office of the Third Department of the Ministry of National Defense. When he worked in the Second Office of the Ministry of National Defense, he was extremely close to the U.S. Imperial Intelligence Department in China, and when he returned to Zhejiang University from the Second Office of the Ministry of National Defense, he brought four people of unknown origin with him. Shuang’s Family had radio equipment hidden in his house, and after liberation, he had handed over a pistol, and refused to register it when the secret service was registered.
Suo Beixing was subjected to a sharp storm of criticism for the second time. His wife and son were also criticized. Unable to bear the humiliation, he chose to commit suicide by taking poison, but he failed to die because he took the wrong Medicine.
He was branded as an “extreme rightist”
In 1957, Mao Zedong called on intellectuals to help the Party to rectify the wind, asking them to “speak everything they know and everything they say” and promising that “those who speak are not guilty, and those who hear are warned”.
In May 1957, Shuang Beixing was invited to the propaganda work conference of Shandong Provincial Party Committee to “help the Party to raise opinions”. The title of Shuang Beixing’s speech was “Upholding the dignity of the Constitution with life”, and the speech, which lasted for more than half an hour, was interrupted by applause from the stage more than 20 times. He opposed the “rule of man” and advocated the “rule of law”, and concluded his speech with four lines of poetry: “Life is precious, love is more valuable, if it is for the sake of the Constitution, both can be thrown away!”
After Mao’s purpose of “luring the snake out of the hole” was achieved, the “Help the Party Rectify the Wind” immediately turned into a massive anti-rightist campaign to purge intellectuals. The above remarks of Shuo Xingbei became rightist remarks. For a period of time, Shuang Xingbei was criticized once a day on average, and finally, he was branded as an “extreme rightist”.
Being branded as a “historical counter-revolutionary”
On June 13, 1958, the leading group of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Shandong Provincial Committee for purging counterrevolutionaries, after asking the approval of the ten-member group of the Central Committee, designated Shuang Xingbei as a “historical counterrevolutionary”, and on October 15, 1958, the Qingdao Municipal Court sentenced Shuang Xingbei to “three years of control”.
Shuang Xingbei was sent to the Yuezikou Reservoir in Qingdao for labor reform. At that time, he was living on only 20 yuan a month, his wife had no income, his seven children were implicated, and he was forced to leave the army, lose his job, and miss school. His every word and deed was monitored and he was criticized as a matter of course.
After the completion of the Yuechekou project, Shuang Xingbei was assigned to clean toilets at Qingdao Medical College, and at one time he was assigned to make specimens of corpses. At that time, the whole country was in famine, and it was difficult for Shuang Xingbei to feed and clothe his wife and seven children. Once he went to the school farm to collect groundnuts, he even stole one because he was too hungry.
At the end of 1961, Shuang Xingbei repaired an EEG machine at Qingdao Medical College that had been damaged for many days. After that, all the major hospitals in Qingdao asked him to repair their broken instruments. He tried his best to “renovate” the machine and “remove the cap” as soon as possible. However, in 1962, when Qingdao Medical College held a “cap removal” conference, he was not on the list. Only afterwards did he learn that his “hat” was in the hands of the ten-member purge team of the Central Committee.
Transformed into a “robot”
In September 1962, Mao Zedong reiterated at the 10th Plenary Session of the 8th CPC Central Committee that the class struggle must be taught year after year, month after month, and day after day. Sok Xingbei returned to a life of supervision and rehabilitation. Year after year of supervision and reform, Shuang Xingbei became a completely different person.
Once, the radar of an army unit in Qingdao broke down and came to Shuang Xingbei. After asking for permission from the leaders of Qingdao Medical College, Shuang Xingbei got into the military vehicle of the army. When the military vehicle drove out of the medical school, a strange thing happened: Shuang Xingbei suddenly took out a crumpled old towel from his pocket and handed it to the accompanying staff officers. They didn’t know what it meant and were puzzled when they saw Shuang Xingbei tie his eyes with that towel. At this point, it dawned on them that the accompanying soldier did not feel the need to pull the towel off. But Shuang Xingbei was very stubborn, and re-blinded himself. When the radar was repaired and the letters written by others were returned, the first thing that Shuang Xingbei did after getting into the car was to cover his eyes with the towel first.
Last wishes unfulfilled
Because of Li Zhengdao’s relationship, in 1974, Shuang Xingbei finally removed his “counter-revolutionary” and “extreme rightist” hats.
At the end of September 1983, a wind chill knocked down the aged Shuang Xingbei, and he offered to donate his body to Qingdao Medical College for anatomy and medical experiments.
Afterwards, his body was sent to the morgue. Six months later, someone suddenly remembered Shuang Xingbei and sent someone to see him, but found that his body was decomposed. The relevant leaders instructed two college students to take him to the woods behind the medical school and bury him. The two students hastily buried the remains under the double bars of the school’s basketball court to save time.
Refusing to join the Chinese Communist Party
Once, Shuang Xingbei was a scientist with a strong backbone, who dared to speak the truth and had insightful opinions.
However, more than 20 years of persecution by the Chinese Communist Party had worn away all the sharpness, angles and pride in him.
In his later years, he was employed as a researcher at the First Institute of Oceanography of Qingdao Oceanic Bureau and made significant contributions in the field of power oceanography. After the Cultural Revolution, some scientific and technical personnel who had experienced various political movements joined the Chinese Communist Party. The leadership of the Institute of Oceanography wanted Shuang Xingbei to submit an application for membership as well, but he flatly refused.
Although he had obeyed the Chinese Communist Party’s power against his will or in a numb manner under the pressure, in his later years he could not forget all the past events of the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal persecution of the cultural elite.
In the last years of his life, he made the right choice between being a descendant of Yan Huang or a descendant of Marxism-Leninism.