Italian scientist sees vibrant China amid Spring Festival travel rush

(Xinhua) 15:58, February 09, 2024

HEFEI, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- With the Spring Festival around the corner, Nicola D'Ascenzo, an Italian professor at the University of Science and Technology of China, expertly checked the high-speed railway tickets using an app on his smartphone.

A professor of electronic engineering and information science, D'Ascenzo is also one of the leading experts in digital positron emission tomography (PET), a type of nuclear medicine procedure that measures the metabolic activity of the cells in body tissues.

D'Ascenzo has lived in China for 10 years. He travels between major cities in China by high-speed train almost every weekend, including Hefei, Wuhan, Suzhou and Beijing, where he and his team are working on research and cooperation projects.

This year, China's Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on Feb. 10. The 40-day travel surge, known as "chunyun," begun 15 days before the festival, and is projected to generate around 9 billion passenger trips. This represents China's largest annual population migration.

On the morning of Feb. 3, D'Ascenzo went to Hefei South Railway Station and joined the travel rush. Although the station was bustling, he was impressed that everything was in order.

"I have a very busy schedule, but because of the efficient management and elaborate design of the train station, I only need to arrive at the station 10 minutes before the train departs every time," D'Ascenzo said.

China's high-speed railways are well-known for their stable and smooth movement, but D'Ascenzo finds more heart-warming details on top of that.

"For example, the seats on the high-speed trains always faces the direction of its destination, which makes it easy and comfortable for me to handle my work or rest in the train," D'Ascenzo said.

D'Ascenzo believes that having a career in China is very rewarding, especially since the Chinese government attaches great importance to scientific and technological innovation, and promotes the industrial application of scientific and technological advances.

As the high-speed train departed the eastern Chinese city of Hefei, D'Ascenzo admired the winter scenery outside the train window.

"I like to work in parks or lakeside in Hefei. The open environment gives me more inspiration for scientific research," D'Ascenzo said.

As the high-speed train arrived at the Wuhan Station in central China's Hubei Province, D'Ascenzo closed his notebook and exited the carriage, ready to start another academic brainstorming session with his students.

"My entire academic career has been spent in China, and I believe I can make a real contribution here," D'Ascenzo said.

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Zhong Wenxing)


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