The School of Physical Sciences at UCAS developed from the Physics Teaching Section at GUCAS. In March 1978, in an effort to provide consistent and high-quality lectures for research students of various Beijing-based CAS research institutes, the establishment of a strong body of full-time faculty members was deemed necessary; it had also made the process of inviting well-known Chinese and foreign scholars to teach as guest lecturers smoother. The Physics Teaching Section of GUCAS began to take shape rapidly, and by 1979 it had built a full-time faculty with over 20 professors.
In 1979, the Physics Teaching Section invited Prof. Lee Tsung-Dao to teach two lecture courses: particle physics and statistical mechanics. These lecture series had a profound influence, attracted many well-known Chinese scientists and lecturers from top universities as well as graduate students to register. Around the same time, the department also invited Prof. Peng Huanwu to teach a course on Theoretical Physics, Prof. Huang Kun and others to teach Solid State Physics, and Prof. Yang Chen-Ning to teach Field Theory. These eminent scientists laid a solid foundation for the training of excellent physicists.
Since its inception, much care and devotion has been given to the Physics Teaching Section by the older generation of scientists: for example, our former vice dean, Prof. Yan Jici, despite advancing years, frequently participated in research and teaching meetings; Prof. Zhu Hongyuan and Prof. Ma Dayou also acted as consultants. Each of them, in the midst of their busy schedules, took time to give much valuable advice and guidance to the fledgling team.
In 1985, GUCAS underwent organizational changes. On top of teaching and research, the Physics Teaching Section became responsible for the administration and management of all CAS’s graduate students in physics, hence the name was changed to the Physics Teaching Division.
In 1995, the handbook “Graduate Student Curriculum Design and Contents” was published. It provided a detailed illustration of the Graduate School’s curriculum and standard of teaching in China; among the courses listed, physics courses from GUCAS had consistently reached top national rankings. The Physics Teaching Division continued to strive to attract the best students and raise the quality of training. In 2006, the ever-expanding Physics Teaching Division was renamed again to become the School of Physical Sciences.
With the “fusion of scientific research and teaching” becoming the guiding strategy for CAS in 2013, the organizational structure of UCAS also changed accordingly. In January 2015, the “fused” School of Physical Sciences was re-structured and undertaken by Beijing based CAS Physics Institutes, namely by the Institute of Physics (IOP), the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP), the Institute of Theoretical Physics (ITP), the Institute of Semiconductors (SEMI) and the Institute of Acoustics (IOA). The school is also supported by several other relevant institutes outside of Beijing, such as the Institute of Modern Physics (IMP) in Lanzhou, the Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP) in Shanghai, and the Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM) in Shanghai.
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