Chuijiang (Christina) Kong
In memory of former MEng student Chuijiang (Christina) Kong, who died following a road traffic accident on 19th October 2021. Thank you to Muzi who kindly translated this message for family and friends in China.
Christina was an exceptionally able student — not only academically but she also had an amazing brightness and kind spirit. She was the kind of person we need in science. I feel honoured to have known her, and shocked and saddened that she has been snatched from us.
Christina was my first MEng student. Being chosen as a supervisor was very exciting for me, as a new researcher, however it turned out it was all due to an error in the project selection website. Despite the project I was actually offering being quite different to what the system had promised, she nonetheless threw herself into it. I would often point out that maybe someday in the future she would use her knowledge of diffraction to do something useful, rather than the materials I am interested in! Just before the lockdown in March 2020, we travelled together to Edinburgh to do high pressure experiments. True to form she chatted to everyone in a completely unknown department and worked hard to get the data we needed. Each morning we would meet in a ‘cool’ coffee shop, make our way to the chemistry department, chat and joke as the machine collected data. On one memorable taxi journey back into the city she perfectly described what we had been doing all day to the driver who said he loved science in school. I couldn’t have done it better myself, showing just how much she had absorbed in such as short time. During this trip she also met my brother and his fiancée, as I was staying with them, and again didn’t seem to mind that it was somewhat unusual to go for dinner at your supervisor’s brother’s house!
When the lockdown hit we would speak very regularly as she was writing up her thesis. She would tell me about her parents and family in China, how they were worrying about her, and what life was like there. At one point her mum sent (or insisted she bought) some several dozen eggs as in Wuhan many shops were empty, and her mum wanted to make sure she would have food if the same thing happened in London. She held up the massive tray while we chatted, asking for suggestions for recipes as she wasn’t sure how to use them all! Food was a passion for her and between talking about research we would talk about recipes and ingredients I should get to improve my Sichuan cooking.
Christina spoke passionately about wanting to do research that would help make the world more sustainable, in particular making renewable energy production more efficient, and would say how even a small discovery could have a big impact if implemented on a global scale. After her successful masters project, she was thrilled to be joining the group of Robert Hoye in the department working on solar cells. When we caught up she would make sure to tell me proudly that she was the go-to diffraction person in the group, and how it was helping their work. When supervising a student, you always assume that they will have the opportunity to go forward in life and achieve their hopes and dreams. It is truly tragic that Christina will not have this chance as she had such a bright future.
May we all remember her spirit that has left us too soon.
孔垂江是我带的第一个MEng学生。作为一名刚入行的研究人员，能被选择成为导师对我来说非常令人兴奋。虽然结果证明这份选择是由于项目选择网站的错误，她也因此没能选择到她感兴趣的方向。但我仍然很感谢，因为即使我提供的项目与系统承诺的完全不同，她仍然全身心地投入其中。我常和她说，希望将来有一天，当她找到了自己的研究方向，她在这里学到的衍射知识可以帮助到她，而只是用来研究我感兴趣的材料！就在 2020 年 3 月封锁之前，我们一起前往爱丁堡进行高压实验。一如往常，她做到了在一个完全陌生的部门与每个人聊天，并努力获取我们需要的数据。每天早上，我们都会在一家“很酷”的咖啡店见面，然后前往测试机构，在机器收集数据时，我们总是凑在一起聊天，互相开开玩笑。在一次回程之旅中，我们的出租车司机说他在学校时喜欢科学，垂江她就用逻辑清晰且引人入胜的语言完美地向司机描述了我们一整天所做的事情。哪怕是我自己也不能描述的更清楚了，这展示了她在如此短的时间内吸收了超乎想象的知识。这次旅行她还见到了我哥哥和他的未婚妻，因为我和他们住在一起。她从始至终表现的十分友好，开朗，大方，并且完全不介意在她导师的哥哥家吃晚饭。（尽管很多人会对此感到不自然）