A sculpture called Ruziniu, or the volunteer steers, has adorned the lawn of the Hefei campus of the University of Science and Technology of China for nearly 40 years.
Given in 1983 by alumni of the class of 1978, it represents two oxen turning the Earth with all their might.
The word for “lead” in Chinese is niu, which can also mean mighty and awesome, and the university says the sculpture illustrates their determination to change the world.
Zhou Lei studied and worked at the capital campus of Anhui province for 11 years before leaving to work at QuantumCTek, a local leader in the field of quantum information.
“As a student, my dream was to work in an awesome company doing awesome things,” Zhou told China Daily.
Born in 1981 in Changchun, capital of the northeastern province of Jilin, Zhou started at USTC in 2000 and earned his first degree in physical electronics. In early 2009, as he prepared to obtain a doctorate, he received an offer to work in R&D at the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in Shenzhen.
It was a prestigious offer, but Zhou was already focused on another goal. Renowned quantum physicist Pan Jianwei had been building an academic team at USTC since 2001, and in 2009 he proposed that the university help found a company to continue the group’s research and commercialize its findings.
The company they founded, QuantumCTek, was started in Hefei National Hi-tech Industry Development Zone in May 2009 as the first quantum information company in Anhui and would become the first listed company in the countries in the field in 2020, with the USTC as its largest shareholder.
Zhou spent two more years doing postdoctoral work at the university with Pan’s team, keeping abreast of the latest scientific breakthroughs and developing a better understanding of business opportunities before joining QuantumCTek in 2011.
Today, he is the company’s project manager and has been involved in many national breakthroughs in quantum communications and quantum computing.
He said QuantumCTek’s main task is to turn research quantum theory into real products and services. Their dream is to build quantum information networks, like a quantum internet, capable of connecting quantum computers, sensors and other terminals through quantum information technology.
Zhou joined the Chinese Communist Party in 2009 and was recently elected as an Anhui representative to the 20th CPC National Congress, to be held in Beijing later this year.
Anhui now has dozens of quantum information companies, most of them in Hefei and many in the same area where Zhou works, which has now been dubbed “Quantum Avenue”. (Chinese daily)