Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project: Interview with Qi-hui Zhai
Part 1


Part 2


Description BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Qi-hui Zhai was born in Shanghai, China, on December 16, 1927. Her father was a biology professor at Central University in Nanjing and traveled between research institutions in Nanjing, Beijing, and Shanghai during most of her childhood. In 1945 Zhai entered Suzhou University, located temporarily in Shanghai at the end of World War II. The next year she transferred to Yanjing University in Beijing, and she graduated in June of 1949, six months after liberation. She was assigned to the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and in 1959 the government of the People's Republic of China sent her to Russia for two years of study. For the first year she studied at the Institute of Zoology in Leningrad, and later at the Institute of Biochemistry in Moscow. Zhai arrived in Minnesota in June of 1979, the first of many visiting scholars from China to arrive at the University of Minnesota following normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and China on January 1, 1979. She worked with Dr. James W. Bodley in the Department of Biochemistry at the University Medical School from mid-1979 to late 1981, conducting basic research on the reproductive system of the ladybug, in an attempt to develop a means of artificial rearing of the insect, a natural enemy of aphids, for control of aphids in agriculture. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Zhai discusses her father's background as a pioneer entomologist in China, and his work in establishing biology departments in several Chinese universities after spending thirteen years in study and research at Cornell University in New York; his many publications under the name C. Ping; problems of Chinese scientists in the 1980s in conducting basic research after the interruption of the Cultural Revolution; Zhai's research at the University of Minnesota on yolk protein synthesis in the ladybug, a continuation of her research in Beijing; her impressions of Minnesota; and her family in Beijing. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: Zhai is an accomplished scientist from the People's Republic of China, and her visit to Minnesota is significant because it represents a new era of exchange between scientists in the state's research institutions and scientists in China. Her perspective is especially interesting because her father studied in the United States in the 1910s and was instrumental in advancing Western scientific knowledge in China after returning to his homeland in 1920.
Quantity 1 hour sound cassette
17 pages transcript
Format Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Measurements 00:36:29 running time
Creation Interviewee: Zhai, Qi-hui
Interviewer: Mason, Sarah R.
Made in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, United States
Subjects Asian Americans -- Minnesota
Chinese Americans -- Minnesota.
Made in Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, United States
Dates Creation: 01/04/1980
Holding Type Oral History - Interview
Identifiers OH 51
Accession Number AV1981.361.9
More Info MHS Library Catalog
Related Collections Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project'

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