It is very easy for me to get interested in something, and when I get interested, I always want to be really good at it.
I like classical music, especially Romantic symphonies. I like taking pictures, because capturing beautiful and special moments makes me excited. I like swimming, and my breaststroke is even faster than many people's freestyle. I like playing chess, especially studying different chess opening variations. I like astronomy and often gaze in awe at the infinite space and endless time. I like learn new computer skills, especially for web design and web development. Most importantly, I like to develop new hobbies because then I can enjoy the beauty of life and have more fun in my life.
Live For Fun!
Listening is the easiest way of enjoying music. I listen to a lot of music, including both classical and pop music. I have a strong affinity for lyric songs and those music expressing a feeling of sorrow. Tchaikovsky is my favorite composer. By the way, I also admire those great scientists who are also good at music, or those musicians who are actually scientists, just like the two people shown in the picture. I also like traditional Chinese music, because they usually give me a peaceful feeling, although the number of those works seems to be much smaller than that of the Western classical music.
Playing music with an instrument also interests me. However, it seems that my hands are not flexible enough. Maybe I need more time to practice, but practice can be really time-consuming... It is great fun when a piece of music comes out of the instrument that I am playing.
Creating music is really really fun, although it sounds hard for regular people. However, in fact, we are all composers because most of us sometime will suddenly have a new piece of music come to our mind, the only problem is that we cannot write it down into notes. I once felt upset about this, but later I started to learn some basic music knowledge and train my ears. Now I can write down my own tiny music pieces easily with the help of a computer. Although they are far from being a song and even I did not fill in lyrics, just humming them is already fun enough.
Photography is as simple as taking pictures. In fact, no matter the picture is good or bad, it is a piece of art since it captures a unique moment that ever existed in the world. Nonetheless, we all want to go beyond that and want to capture beautiful things or extraordinary moments. Then we need some skills, some techniques, some insights, as well as some creativity.
After taking pictures, the post production procedure can be another important step. It can make ordinary things extraordinary and make beautiful things even more beautiful. Some people think the post production is cheating. I also used to think so. However, later I realized the white balance, the brightness and contrast, and many other parameters, are all camera and system dependent. Playing with those parameters can be simply thought as switching cameras.
There are many things to learn in both photo taking and post production, and I have been learning and practicing.
I do a lot of sports but swimming is the sport that I practice most. I used to jog more, until one day I was diagnosed with a gene that potentially makes me suffer from Ankylosing Spondylits.
It is an interesting phenomenon that when learning to swim, most Chinese first learn breaststroke while most Americans first learn crawlstroke (also known as freestyle). Therefore, it is very common to see a lot of freestyle swimmers in the pool until when my friends and I jump into the water. I am a good breaststroke swimmer, and have been learning crawlstroke, backstroke and butterfly stroke. I can often swim faster with a breaststroke than many people with a crawlstroke. This really makes me feel happy and proud. However, I have to admit that my crawlstroke is also much slower than my breaststroke.
Here at Duke, we have a small group of Chinese students who often swim together. We usually swim twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.
I like playing chess, but only like playing with computers. Playing with real people is not that fun to me because I hate to see people lose and get upset, no matter me or my opponent. See in the picture how the poor chess piece feels after being punched on the face :)
In addition, I also like to study chess opening variations. Chess is a high dimensional world, and interestingly, many chess openings are named after real places in the world, such as Sicilian opening, Italian opening, Spanish opening (also called Ruy Lopez, see the picture on the left). This is like the high dimensional chess world is projected onto our 3D world. As a fan in geography, I am also excited about exploring the chess world.
Here is an interesting thing. There is an opening variation called the Chinese dragon in the Sicillian -> Dragon -> Yugoslav Attack system. Currently it is not a very popular opening, however, from statistical data, it seems that this opening has a pretty high winning chance for black. If you are also a chess fan, maybe it is worth trying out next time.
When I was a child, my dream was to become an astronomer and try to find out the border of the Universe. However, as I learned more and more about the universe, I knew it is impossible and often felt pathetic for human beings' being small and helpless. Later I learned chemistry and switched my interest from the gigantic world to the tiny world, but I always keep an eye on the latest progress in astronomy.
Now, because of the bright city lights, it is very difficult for many of us to see stars in the night. Luckily, here at Duke, I can often see the beautiful night sky, with stars hanging brightly and moving slowly. Sometimes, I can also see artificial satellites travelling across the sky. Behind those stars and constellations, there are a lot of beautiful and touching fairy tales in both Eastern and Western culture. Nevertheless, the true picture of those stars is never romantic at all. They look small but in fact can be gigantic, just the long distance from us reduced their powers. I often get lost in deep thought after realizing that those beams of dim light have travelled hundreds of or even thousands of years before they finally reach my eye and end their lives.
Here I want to specially mention my Logo, which you can find on the top left of the page. Designing it has been the most time consuming task and I did a lot of revisions before eventually deciding on this final version. Let me now tell you the meanings behind it. The main body of this Logo is the greek letter "Psi". It is a symbol for wave function in quantum mechanics, and therefore stands for my major. At the same time, the "Psi" looks similar to the capital letter "Y", which is the initial of my names "Yang". After 3D revolving the "Psi", I get a shape that is similar to a grail. This "Holy Grail" symbolizes that I am earnestly pursuing the knowledge in the world of quantum chemistry. In the grail, I put in the rising Sun with brilliant sunlight. It stands for myself, because my first name means the Sun in Chinese. I use it to wish myself a bright future. Another meaning of the Sun is that I hope someday I can achieve things that can benefit the world, just like the Sun. The colors I choose in this logo are red, blue, and yellow, which are the three primary colors in painting, and by mixing them we can obtain all other colors. I therefore use them to wish me a colorful life.