1. What made you want to be a chemist?
Fascinating structures of organic molecules and unimaginable functions accompanying these structures.
2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?
A differential geometrist. I would like to use another language to describe and study structures.
3. What are you working on now, and where do you hope it will lead?
Total synthesis of biologically active natural products. It may lead to discovery of new reactivity and functions of organic compounds.
4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?
The late Chinese philosopher Liang Shuming. To talk with him about the fate of Chinese culture.
5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?
A few weeks ago, I separated a synthetic sample of a natural product out of 3 very close bands on preparative TLC plate.
6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one music album would you take with you?
China: A Macro History by Ray Huang; Tao of Peace by Dean Evenson and Xiangting Li
7. Which chemist would you like to see interviewed on Reactions – and why?
Profs. Dawei Ma and Zhen Yang. Both fellows are my role models, who have made great contribution to China’s organic synthesis, especially natural product total synthesis.