Sunday, November 1, 2009

Father of China's rocketry

He passed away at 98.

The description of his life in Wikipedia or just click here.

I just finished a book on him by Iris Chang. It is translated from English to Chinese. A very fascinating life.

99.9% chance he was not a communist when he was in US. He was a dedicated scientist.

The joke of the century is the witch hunt of communists in US and drove Tsien back to China to help China to develop missiles. It speeds up China’s missile development by at least 10 years when China did not know how to build good bicycle.

Did Middle East and N.Korea benefit from his initial work?

The book mentioned one or two flaws in his life. I believe he needed to do so to be political stable and be able to secure funding for his work.


  1. Qian was just a dedicated scientist. I do not think he was a communist by choice at all. He was humble in his own way but a terror to his students in MIT and those students sent from the army. He did not like to talk to anyone he thought not to be his level. From his time in US, I do not think he was a good teacher even he was the youngest professor at MIT at his time.

    His contribution to US rocketry was not appreciated. Read Iris Chang’s book and you will understand him more. This could be the best description of his life. Besides some minor ideas, most of my thoughts were from her book. I would like to read another biography about him from a neutral writer like Iris.

    By the way, from two pictures, her wife is (or was) very beautiful and a very talented lady.

    He set up a strong foundation for China in developing missiles. It was quite tough as the industry at that time could not possibly support such a venture.

  2. Some interest incidents.

    * When China had the first satellite, that day I was very cheerful as the 250 or so years of humiliation finally came to an end. I agree with Mao that we need weapon to depend ourselves, as long as we do not use it against world peace.

    * He did not really express what he felt when his fellow audience (at a cinema I guess) asked him not to sit next to him being a Chinese. I was not surprised at that time, even today for some older folks here. I would ask any US citizen what would they feel if the roles are reversed.

    * I also am very curious to know what happens if there are 20 silk worm missiles target a US undestructible destroyer at the same time. Just curious and I do not really want it to happen.

  3. * To me, Iris Chang is the best Chinese American writer/historian, past and present. Amy Tan is a good one but Chang was more a historian.