Wei Yang is an internationally celebrated engineer and materials science researcher, educator, and administrator and president of China’s National Natural Sciences Foundation. Before the NSFC, Yang was president of Zhejiang University and head of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Technological Science Division. He was the youngest person ever to achieve the rank of full professor of engineering at Tsinghua University, which he did just four years after his graduation from Brown. He became director of the Failure Mechanics Laboratory of the Chinese Ministry of Education in 1993. From 1997–2004, he headed the Department of Engineering Mechanics at Tsinghua, also serving for a time as executive dean of the Aerospace School. From 2004 to 2006, he served as director-general of the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council of China and also headed the Directorate of Graduate Education. He received his Ph.D. degree from Brown University in 1985.
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