The Archivist’s Nook: Catholic University’s C.C. Chang and Why We Encourage You to Know Him

Our guest blogger is Tian Atlas Xu, who is a student worker at the University Archives and a PhD candidate in US history at the Catholic University of America. His research examines the role of white intermediaries between non-white minorities and the administrative state in turn-of-the-century United States. He has received support from various research institutions, including the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 

 

A man and his tornado machine caught our attention; a trans-Pacific life story was discovered behind the scene.

Dr. Chang’s interview in The Catholic University’s Envoy magazine, published in February 1973, was one of several rare accounts of his immediate reflection after the 1972 visit. Courtesy of ACUA.

The story begins in an ordinary afternoon last winter, when my supervisor brought a dated Catholic University magazine, the Envoy, to a dimly lit back office at Aquinas Hall. As the only Asian person working in the University Archives, I was simply intrigued to see an Asian face in that magazine. The article that caught our attention was entitled “Scientist Views Change in China,” and the scientist in question was Dr. Chieh-Chien Chang, a prestigious Chinese American scholar at Catholic University in the 1960s and 70s. The publication date was February 1973, one year after President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to mainland China. It was also several months after the scientist’s first trip to his country of birth in more than two decades. 

At that time, archives staff had been aware of Dr. Chang’s scientific achievements. After all, his photo with the tornado machine, a simulator of natural tornadoes to study “peculiar elements responsible for near-the-ground destruction,” has appeared in the University’s course catalogs and documentary histories since the late 1960s. We also knew he had co-founded the Space Science and Applied Physics Department at Catholic in 1963, and that he had laid the foundation of the University’s long-term partnership with NASA. According to the administrative accounts, students enjoyed his classes; and from his pictures with the tornado machine, he was clearly enjoying the passionate love affair between a lab and its creator. The 1973 article was not meant to add anything new.

But it did, in totally unexpected ways. We soon realized that Dr. Chang’s visit to China in 1972 was part of a larger-than-life moment in US-China relations: after more than two decades of intellectual blockade, it was the first time that a large number of American scientists and their colleagues in mainland China engaged in direct conversation with each other. More importantly, we discovered that Dr. Chang had witnessed many moments like this in his life. He was a village kid who carved his way into a warlord-sponsored Chinese university in Manchuria; at the age of twenty-three, he saw the mighty Japanese Imperial Army occupied his fertile but helpless motherland; he fled to Beijing with his schoolmates and, as a young lecturer in aeronautics at Tsinghua University, developed one of the first monoplanes in China with his Chinese colleagues; and in the 1940s, he became a student of Theodore von Karman, a key figure in the development of aeronautical sciences, not only in the United States, but also in the China as we know it today. The list goes on and on.

Dr. Chieh-Chien Chang and the Tornado Machine. Courtesy of ACUA.

We set out to piece together his life story through documents in English and Chinese. It was the early months of the pandemic, and Covid-19 was called by all kinds of names hostile to Chinese and Chinese Americanness. The pandemic caught the trans-Pacific academic community in the middle, and a new campaign for the decoupling between Chinese and American scientists appeared on the horizon. But at the same time, the turbulent experience of Dr. Chang and his generation of Chinese American scientists beckon to us all the more.

Dr. Chieh-Chien Chang and the Tornado Machine. Courtesy of ACUA.

His generation tells a story of difficult choices during the Cold War, of the damage done, not only by the revolutionary culture in China, but also by McCarthyism and xenophobia in the United States. It turns out that the tornado machine was a small piece of Cold War history, not about confrontation and fear, but about a Chinese American’s personal identity struggle and heartfelt yearning for peace: in the 1960s, Dr. Chang chose to move on from his earlier research of missiles, planes and military satellites; his attention turned towards the lives impoverished by natural disasters on the planet earth, such as tornadoes. His right to choose was profoundly American, yet his freewill bent towards love for both China and the United States. 

Dr. Chang (second row, first from the left) and his peer Chinese scientists during their studies at Cal Tech, early 1940s. Courtesy of the Online Museum of Chinese Academicians.

What was initially designed as a blogpost quickly develops into an online exhibit. Our technician braved the archives to dig up nuggets of Dr. Chang’s experience at Catholic in the 1960s and 70s. The scattered memories of him in American and Chinese sources were sifted and carefully knitted to recapture a trans-Pacific life that had touched on many. Emails were exchanged between us and Dr. Chang’s alma mater, the Northeastern University of China, which, after his unwavering mediation since retirement, had restored its long-lost name in 1993. We learned about his exile with other Chinese scholars during the Second World War and the group’s forced migration from the Bohai Bay to the mountainside of Tibet; we saw his sunny smile in the early 1940s, when he stood with a group of young Chinese scientists celebrating a wartime US-China alliance at Pasadena, California. We even discovered the picture of a symposium banquet in plasma physics in 1963, right here in Washington, where Dr. Chang, a typical husband of the Second World War generation, seemed to be the only scholar to bring his wife to the occasion. 

Plasma Space Sciences Symposium Banquet on June 13, 1963. This symposium marked the beginning of Dr. Chang’s career at Catholic University. Courtesy of ACUA.

We are now sharing these details with you. The online exhibit takes you to forgotten times and unfamiliar territories, where an aspirant young engineer built his career at a time of war and national humiliation. It also provides fresh insights into the history taking place here in America, a land of opportunities that offered this Chinese American the environment to thrive while driving many others away. It confirms that, at the Catholic University of America, Dr. Chang’s transnational career came to its most prominent fruition. Correspondence from Washington, Beijing, and Taipei competed in his Pangborn Hall office, and his busy itinerary connected friends and colleagues of two continents. The exhibit does not give easy answers to scholars’ choices amidst political storms and international strife. But one thing is certain: to attract more transnational talents like Dr. C.C. Chang, America must stick to the generous principles that have inspired them to come and persuaded them to stay. 

Find our new exhibit on Dr. Chang here.

 

 

Enhance Your Skills with LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning, an upgrade to Lynda.com, is an on-demand library of high-quality instructional videos covering a wide range of skills, from specific software applications to leadership and management skills. There are more than 7,500 courses made up of more than 200,000 video modules, with more added every week. All of the courses are taught by expert instructors and come with fully searchable transcripts. Curated playlists are also available. 

Learn at your own pace.LinkedIn Learning uses the insights from its nearly 650 million members to stay up to date on the most relevant, useful skills needed by today’s workforce. That allows them to not only add the best courses to help you get ahead, it also allows customized recommendations for your particular job title and interests.

Currently available courses include:

  • Engineering courses on development topics such as PHP, C++, Java, and cloud computing
  • Business classes on project leadership and management
  • Classes on graphic design applications, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, Rhino, and CSS
  • Audio and music courses, such as audio recording, producing podcasts, sound engineering, and mixing techniques
  • Management support through classes on becoming a manager, improving your coaching skills, managing change and stress, time management, and communicating with confidence

You can also follow custom learning paths, which combine courses toward a specific role such as customer service representative, digital illustrator, or front-end web developer (to name just a few of the more than 150 available). 

Benefits of LinkedIn Learning

There are many good reasons to use LinkedIn Learning to help you achieve your academic, career, or personal goals:


  • Learn a quick skill–or follow the path to a new career.
    Both “micro-learning” and “macro-learning” are available, so whether you need to watch a short video to learn a new software application or follow a custom learning path with multiple courses, you can find the learning experience you need. 
  • Use LinkedIn Learning on any device.Learn at your own pace. LinkedIn Learning courses are available round the clock, and each course is on demand and self-paced. There are courses for every level of learner, from beginner to advanced. If you want to challenge yourself or have a deadline for learning a particular skill, you can a weekly goal–anywhere from half an hour to two hours–and LinkedIn Learning will track your progress. 
  • Use any device you want. You can watch training videos on your desktop, laptop, smart phone, or iPad. If you can’t get to a screen, each course is available in audio-only mode (imagine how productive your daily commute could be!).
  • Learn in your native language. In addition to English, LinkedIn Learning courses are available in Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Mandarin, and Brazilian Portuguese.
  • Learn from — and connect with — the experts. All LinkedIn Learning courses are taught by experts–including the CEO of Warby Parker, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, and distinguished fellows at Harvard Law School. And you won’t just learn from these luminaries–you can also connect via LinkedIn to get the benefit of their own vast networks. 
  • Apply your learning hands on. Learning by doing is the best way to retain your new skills. Most courses offer templates, exercise files, and other documents to help you apply what you’ve learned. 
  • Highlight your status as a lifelong learner. When you take courses via LinkedIn Learning, you can add them to your LinkedIn profile to show that you’re self-motivated, curious, and eager to continue learning to make the most of your career. 

Get Started TodayApply your learning hands on

It’s easy. Click here. You will be prompted to sign in with your Cardinal Login (username/password). Watching an introductory video can be helpful and informative. You can browse for courses or videos in LinkedIn Learning.  All courses are also listed in SearchBox, the University Libraries’ online catalog.

Note: You do not need to create a LinkedIn account to use LinkedIn Learning.   

If you have any questions about LinkedIn Learning or need help with your account, please contact lib-research@cua.edu.

 

Nursing/Biology Library changes

At the end of the Fall 2016 semester, the Nursing/Biology Library currently located in Gowan Hall will be re-purposed, with print books and journals being relocated to Mullen Library. After the collection move is complete, the first floor of the existing Library will be re-opened by the School of Nursing as a learning commons where faculty and students may do research and work together. Plans are underway to utilize the second floor of the current space in Gowan for other nursing purposes.

Anyone needing help locating specific print books during the transition and relocation of collections may contact Taras Zvir, Interim Stacks Supervisor (zvir@cua.edu). Faculty needing to place items on course reserve may contact our Access Services staff (lib-circulation@cua.edu). Students and faculty are encouraged to arrange for research consultations through the Meet With A Librarian service, http://cua.libcal.com, or by contacting Linda Todd directly (todd@cua.edu).

Research methodologies

Open access and social networking readings seem to be coalescing around the “idea” of reading carefully!

The Pew Research Center documents that usage of social media is increasing.  Two other articles question whether social media or open access have any impact on scholarly communications.

Social Media and Its Impact on Medical Research by Phil Davis

Is Open Access a Cause or Effect? by Phil Davis

Read carefully! It’s all in the methodologies.

 

Get the Most from Web of Science (WoS) + EndNote, February 27

CUA Libraries is providing 2 in‐depth training sessions for researchers; no registration required.

Date: Thursday, February 27
Time:  10:00 AM (WoS) and 11:30 AM (EndNote)
Location:  Scullen Room, Pangborn Hall, First Floor Continue reading “Get the Most from Web of Science (WoS) + EndNote, February 27”

Web of Science New Look

Happy New Year! Welcome to Spring 2014.
Web of Science at CUA
To access Web of Science, use the link through the Databases tab

The next generation of Web of Science went live on January 12, 2014.
http://images.webofknowledge.com/WOKRS513R8.1/help/WOK/hp_whatsnew_wok.html

New short training videos are available.
http://www.youtube.com/user/WoSTraining?elq=334ec9c32fa242c781f36ab7e47c3e43&elqCampaignId=

We will be offering training on campus in February – stay tuned.

For instruction on Web of Science and EndNote please contact Kimberly Hoffman, Coordinator Science Libraries

Engineering & Architecture Library – 200 Pangborn – On the move!

EA_boxes_July13

Update 7.1.2013

You may have noticed the boxes!

The Engineering & Architecture Library at 200 Pangborn will be closing later this this summer. The library collections are currently on the move!

Most Engineering print material is being relocated to Mullen Library. We are boxing, moving and re-shelving the collection at Mullen Library in small sections on a daily basis. We anticipate this move to finish by the end of July.

Note: Engineering serials are available electronically; or through CLS request from WRLC.  Some current Engineering print serials are shelved at Mullen Library in 1 Center (see Mullen Stacks Map.)

As these materials are in transit, please let us know if you need library resources. We will track them down for you, as you request. Please email Engineering Subject Librarian – Kim Hoffman [ hoffman@cua.edu ]

The Architecture & Planning collections will be moved to a new branch library in the Crough building during August. Stay tuned for news on this move!

 

Web of Science Training Sessions, Wednesday, April 3

Recommended for Faculty and Graduate Student Researchers: Check out your clout and influence in Web of Science.*  See who’s cited you, find collaboration opportunities, find funding sources! 

Mullen Library
April 3 @ 1:00 & 3:00pm
Refreshments Provided

Stop by for a demonstration of this powerful resource.

*Web of Science, an electronic resource,  includes citations and references for articles in almost 9, 000 high quality, peer-reviewed journals published from 2002 to the present. Coverage is in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Also includes Journal Citation Report to identify the importance of the journal to YOUR specific subject area.  

 

Kimberly Hoffman awarded 2012 Belanger Award

Kimberly Hoffman, Coordinator of Science Libraries, has been selected as the recipient of the Edward J. Belanger Jr. Staff Award for Excellence in Service for 2012.

Ed Belanger worked for the Libraries for over 40 years before retiring in 2002 as our business manager. His service and dedication to his fellow staff was extraordinary; and he is one of the most positive, up-beat, and good natured people you will ever meet. After his retirement, his children made a donation to the Libraries for the creation of an award in his honor.

Each year the Libraries select a staff member of the year who not only contributes outstanding service to the library but also shares Ed’s good nature. Our recent practice has been for the past honorees to serve as the award committee, selecting from among nominations submitted by library staff.

Excerpted from one of her many nominations:

“…her impact on the libraries and University as a whole is immense. She brings enthusiasm and expertise to her work that has a profound impact on our patrons. Her passion comes through in her dedication to re-creating the science libraries as an information hub that is incredibly useful to students. Kim is a joy to work with and I always look forward to meeting with her about projects and initiatives.”

New, Improved Access to EJournals and Databases

From this Summer, we changed the system behind the “FindIt” button , and have a new page to access our online databases and e-journals. Please see below for the summary:

Before Now
FindIt button
The page after clicking “FindIt” button    
Articles Databases and More
CU’s e-Journal

We also have a new ticket system set up for you to report the problems related to our online services. We are looking forward to bringing you a better service!