12
Summons from China (1947)

One can only imagine the emotions Tsien must have felt upon setting foot in his homeland. More than a decade had elapsed since the day he boarded the President Jackson for the United States. For Tsien, there were the surprises that come with meeting old friends and relatives after a twelve-year absence; there was also the shock of the overwhelming changes in China.

The person Tsien most wanted to see in China must have been his father, who was living in an apartment in the international settlement in Shanghai. (Tsien's mother had died of typhoid, which she had caught while traveling between cities.) There was every indication that the elder Tsien was lonely and yearned to live out his remaining years with his son. If Tsien took the presidency of Jiaotong, he would be able to assist his father in his waning years.

The first few weeks Tsien spent in China were promising enough, for he was treated like a minor celebrity. He visited three major cities, speaking in packed auditoriums at Jiaotong University in Shanghai, Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, and Qinghua University in Beijing. So eloquent was he that several

-132-

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Thread of the Silkworm
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Hangzhou (1911-1914) 1
  • 2 - Beijing (1914-1929) 8
  • 3 - Shanghai (1929-1934) 22
  • 4 - Boxer Rebellion Scholar (1934-1935) 35
  • 5 - Mit (1935-1936) 40
  • 6 - Theodore Von Kármán 47
  • 7 - Caltech (1936) 61
  • 8 - The Suicide Squad (1937-1943) 68
  • 9 - The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1943-1945) 93
  • 10 - Washington and Germany (1945) 110
  • 11 - Return to Mit (1946-1947) 121
  • 12 - Summons from China (1947) 132
  • 13 - Jiang Ying 136
  • 14 - Ascent (1947-1948 140
  • 15 - Caltech (1949) 144
  • 16 - Suspicion (1950) 149
  • 17 - Arrest (1950) 158
  • 18 - Investigation (1950) 163
  • 19 - Hearings (1950-1951) 167
  • 20 - Waiting (1951-1954) 172
  • 21 - The Wang-Johnson Talks (1955) 184
  • 22 - "One of the Tragedies of This Century" 191
  • 23 - A Hero's Welcome (1955) 199
  • 24 - Missiles of the East Wind 208
  • 25 - Becoming a Communist 231
  • Epilogue 261
  • Notes 265
  • Index 319
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