Recently, Li Daqian, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), was invited by the programme Science and China: Lectures by Academicians and Experts to deliver a video-recorded lecture titled Perfect Mathematics at the Open University of China (OUC). Liu Chen, OUC vice president, came to the recording site and had a pleasant talk with Professor Li.

Li Daqian, a member of the CAS and professor at Fudan University, has contributed to many internationally-recognised advances in the theory and application of partial differential equations. In particular, his systematic research into the free boundaries and discontinuous solutions of the quasilinear hyperbolic systems of two general-form independent variables, and into the global validity of the classical solution of the nonlinear wave equation have both achieved global recognition.

In the lecture, Professor Li expressed his views of some prominent current problems with mathematics teaching in middle schools, and addressed three issues: why we must study mathematics, what ‘doing well in math’ means, and how math is best studied. He covered in detail the application of mathematical theories to the real world, and in explaining how to bridge the gap between theory and reality, was able to fully illustrate the charm of mathematics and the importance of studying it.

By Zhou Wanyue, OUC