Einstein Ignited Zhou Youguang爱因斯坦启发周有光
After the anti-Japanese war, Zhou Youguang, an economist, was dispatched by Xinhua Bank to work in New York, where he happened to meet Mr. He Lian, once his superior and colleague in Bureau of Agricultural Finance. At that time, He Lian was honored as a distinguished visiting professor in Princeton University.
One day, He Lian talked to Zhou: ‘‘Einstein is free, are you willing to visit him if he wants to chat with you?’’
Zhou agreed with pleasure and paid a visit to Einstein. Einstein had heard a lot about Zhou before, so they seem old friends at the first meeting. What’s interesting was that neither Zhou was interested in the relativism of Einstein nor Einstein was interested in economy and finance that Zhou was expert in. They just started their conversation by picking up a topic of the newspaper without any prior consultation, or laughing when they had the same opinions, or arguing when they had disagreements.
When referring to “accomplishment”, Einstein said that how people make use of their spare time really counted. Although seemingly normal, the words did ignite Zhou. He maintained that except eating and sleeping, a man has much more spare time than work time when he reaches old. It is absolutely possible that a man could be an expert in some field by studying in spare time. Being aware of his experiences in language studying in spare time, he decided to give priority to language study after pondering for a while.
Sure enough, Zhou Youguang became an expert by making good use of his spare time in studying language and drawing advantages from others. That’s why the Chinese government would appoint this over-fifty-year-old economist especially to be responsible for the national language reform.
(From Speech and Eloquence, Issue 14, 2017. Translation: Feng Yuhong)