Nobel Prize Winner Loves Learning Chinese

[Source]    Confucius Institute at the University of Western Australia [Time]    2018-08-13 15:51:49 

Professor Barry J. Marshall, a well-established but humble scholar, left a deep impression on Chinese teachers from the Confucius Institute at the University of Western Australia (UWA) as well as the staff of Hunan TV.

“We hope to know the reason why Professor Marshall learns Chinese and how it helps his scientific research and clinical work.” The program director of Chinese Bridge from Hunan TV came up with these questions when talking with Guo Chanli, Marshall’s Chinese teacher, before the interview. The answer to the questions brought them to Perth, Australia.

Barry J. Marshall and Guo Chanli

Mr. Marshall is a clinical microbiology professor of UWA. In 2005, he and J. Robin Warren were awarded the Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine for discovering Helicobacter Pylori and its functions in gastritis, gastric ulcer and other diseases. Through this brilliant discovery, he proved not only the pathogenesis of gastritis and gastric ulcer but also immensely increased the recovery rate of such diseases through antibiotic therapy. In recent years, Marshall is more earnest in knowing China in that he not only has more collaboration with hospitals and universities in China but also learned Chinese at the Confucius Institute at UWA with great passion.

Professor Barry J. Marshall

Unlike other native English-speaking learners, Marshall has great interest in learning Chinese characters. Every time when he goes to class, he brings a digital writing board with him. Once he comes across some Chinese characters that he does not know, he begins to practice it on the board. One Chinese character can be practiced over and over again in a dozen times until he can write it out fluently. In addition, he also has a high requirement for his writing of Chinese characters. He is familiar with the strokes of Chinese calligraphy. Besides, he is also fond of calligraphy and collects many books on calligraphy research. Marshall’s concentration on strokes and structure of Chinese characters is comparable to his scientific research. His love of calligraphy speaks loud for his passion for traditional Chinese culture and its unique aesthetic value.

When it comes to traditional Chinese culture, another hobby of Marshall is drinking tea. Chinese class offers students tea while the lesson proceeds. Once when Marshall came to class, he took a box out of his bag proudly, said that it was “tea leaves” given by a friend in Beijing, and he wanted to share it with everyone at the Confucius Institute. When it was opened, all found that it was nothing like tea leaves but dendrobium officinale.

On the day of interview, Marshall was about to attend a medical meeting in Zhengzhou. He wanted to express his welcome to the anticipants by starting the first part of his speech in Chinese. When talking with Guo, he knew about the legend of Yellow Emperor and Huangdi Neijing (Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon). According to the legend, Zhengzhou is hometown of Yellow Emperor. He was so enchanted by the book and was eager to learn the Chinese expressions so as to use them in his speech at the meeting. Marshall is always curious and willing to question in learning, this is what brought him out of Australia to corporate with institutions from many countries, including China.

Marshall winning the Friendship Medal by the Chinese government in 2014

In recent years, Marshall has had more connections to China where he has carried out effective and positive cooperation with Tongji University, Zhengzhou University, and Dongfang hospital (Shanghai). He was awarded with the Friendship Medal by the Chinese government in 2014. It is the top prize Chinese government gives to foreign specialists who work in China, in honor of their remarkable contributions to China's economic and social development. Marshall said that there is no boundary of nationality in the medical field, and hoped that his scientific results can heal more people for a better life.

Story by Guo Chanli, Photo by Hunan TV Chinese Bridge Program Group