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LI Yuanlong entered the research group of teacher LIN Yanluan of Department of Earth System Science as a direct Ph.D. student in 2016. In 2018, he won China Scholarship Council Scholarship and was jointly trained at the University of Hawaii for two years; in 2019, he was awarded a national scholarship; in 2020, he was awarded the first-class aerospace ambition scholarship; in 2021, he was selected into the national "Postdoctoral Innovative Talent Support Program" (only 3 people in national atmospheric sciences). Up to now, 11 papers have been published in authoritative SCI journals of earth system science, including 7 papers of him as the first author, 2 papers of him as a tutor and the first author, and 2 papers of him as the third author. Now he is a reviewer of JGR-Atmospheres, an authoritative journal of atmospheric sciences.



Seeing the photo of himself as a freshman five years ago, LI Yuanlong smiled shyly. In the photo, he is holding a large suitcase in his arms and sitting on the back seat of an electric tricycle. Five years later, he still has a bright and sincere smile, but with more confident.

Destination of flying by plane for the first time——Department of Earth System Science of Tsinghua University

If you say "interest is the best teacher", then persistence is the best quality. LI Yuanlong claimed that he had performed exceptionally well in the college entrance examination and was admitted to Yunnan University as a major in atmospheric science. "Maybe I had a better mentality during the college entrance examination. Other people are generally more nervous," he explained. Fortunately, after entering the university, LI Yuanlong found that he was very interested in the major he was studying. As a result, he got the first place in the class on the first exam. "This is the first time I have won first place since I went to school." He said with a smile. Like a fish in water, he worked harder and harder in the following studies, and as a result, he kept the first place in the class until graduation.In his junior year, he learned from his senior brothers and sisters that Department of Earth System Science of Tsinghua University was recruiting summer camp students. After learning the news, he carefully prepared the application materials. As a result, as the first undergraduate of Yunnan University to enter Department of Earth System Science, he came to Tsinghua University. "I remember that the last subject at the end of the semester exam of Yunnan University was in the afternoon, and Tsinghua opened the camp the next morning. I hurried to the airport, and it was already more than two o'clock in the middle of the night to Beijing. This is the first time I took a plane, and also the first I came to Beijing this time, and I alone in a strange city so late at night," LI Yuanlong recalled.Due to preparation for the final exam, the report materials for the summer camp were not fully prepared. "It took a long time in the airport and on the plane. I thought I couldn't get admitted," said LI Yuanlong. Fortunately, he was admitted by teacher LIN Yanluan. According to teacher LIN Yanluan's memory, "LI Yuanlong gave me a steady feeling at the time and he answered the questions in a very organized manner."

In this way, LI Yuanlong became the first person to be admitted to Department of Earth System Science of Tsinghua University among the undergraduates of Yunnan University.

LI Yuanlong


Recalling when he first arrived at Tsinghua University, LI Yuanlong said: “My first impression to Tsinghua University is that it is big, several times bigger than my school. Then I feel that everyone is great, but I am mediocre. The students are very smart, and they are very active in class. In fact, sometimes I still can't keep up with (the thoughts)." Perhaps it is this unconfident mentality that has become the driving force for him to work hard. His younger brother XU Dongze commented on him, “he works very hard, and I see him quietly studying in the office every day; he likes to study, and he always asks questions in group discussions.”


It is possible if you dare to try

In one class, Mr. Lin mentioned a problem. "How many typhoons are there every year? How many typhoons might occur in the world at the same time? You can count, it will be more interesting." Such a sentence aroused LI Yuanlong's curiosity. When he took the results to find Mr. Lin after studying, Mr. Lin was surprised and very happy. "I remember that I was in the class of 'Advanced Weather Studies', and I would often ask questions in class, but there are not many students who write down the questions and study seriously after class," said Lin Yanluan.

After getting affirmation from his mentor, LI Yuanlong's confidence doubled. "It seems to be a bit easier, not as scared as it was at the beginning." As graduate year one approaches the end, he published his first article. "(The article can be published in the first year) It should be considered very fast," said Lin Yanluan. "I remember I had some data at the time, and a French scholar had some ideas. I introduced three or four students to do it with him. This scholar is very demanding and often asks very detailed questions. In the end, only Lin Yuanlong and another classmate persevered and posted an article." With this beginning, he will then think about more in-depth questions. In the opinion of his senior sister ZHANG Jishi, LI Yuanlong has a particularly strong hands-on ability, "He is very hardworking, very proactive, and never procrastinates."

LI Yuanlong's extracurricular outing at the University of Hawaii


In the third year of his Ph.D., he won a scholarship from China Scholarship Council and went to the University of Hawaii to study for two years. In the two years, he spent a lonely but rewarding time. "Every morning I go to school with bread and bento; I heat my meal in the office at noon; then I go home to cook a meal in the evening. Basically, I study at all other times." Recalling this period, LI Yuanlong said: "Basically, I am all alone, but I am adapted to life that is all by myself." Having survived loneliness, he also reaped the output of 5 papers.

At present, LI Yuanlong has published 11 papers in SCI journals, and his supervisor LIN Yanluan said that it is generally great if they can publish two to three articles in their direction. Senior sister ZHANG Jishi lamented, "this is already a very high output for students." Whenever he hears such compliments from others, LI Yuanlong always humbly said, "It's still a long way, my ability to refine scientific problems and writing still needs improvements." Sometimes he feels distressed after hearing too much compliments.

LI Yuanlong (right) and his tutor LIN Yanluan


Perhaps in other’s view, LI Yuanlong has gone smoothly along this road, but perhaps only he knows the hardships. Since he is studying the issue of typhoon intensification, there are many and fierce research debates on this issue. During one submission, his article was rejected three times. He even received some personally offensive comments. Even so, he did not give up. "Stick to what you want to do, don't give up. A lot of work of mine would be gone if I give up at that time." "If I can't do it anymore, I will lie down and listen to a few songs, or play the guitar. When feeling better, I got up again and continue," said LI Yuanlong.He not only encouraged himself in this way, but also passed this power to students around him. ZHANG Jishi said: "Once, we grouped a few classmates who were involved in typhoons to discuss the problems encountered in their papers in the stairwell. He encouraged me not to focus too much on negative results, and then gave some suggestions for article revision. In him, I have seen sincerity, simplicity, determination, optimism, and simple love."Until now, LI Yuanlong insisted on paying attention to the development of scientific research every day, reading one paper every day on average, distilling and summarizing each paper after reading, and taking notes carefully. His persistence surprised his tutor LIN Yanluan. Although this is what the tutor often advises students to do, the most valuable thing is persistence. "It's hard to persevere, but persevering will improve a lot," said LI Yuanlong.

Speaking of the biggest gain during the study period, LI Yuanlong said: "For me, it is difficult to say which job stands out. In fact, I think every job is very rewarding. At the beginning, they are all very difficult for me and I felt impossible to solve them. But I finally made it by trying continuously. This is the harvest." When talking about the regrets, "my scientific research ability has not reached the goal, especially the ability of refining problems and writing, they need to be improved." He likes to play the guitar. He has always wanted to see Anhe Bridge and Linhe, because of the folk songs.

After graduation, he chose to go to Nanjing University to engage in post-doctoral research and continue his scientific research path. Regarding scientific research, LI Yuanlong said: “All the scientific research is to grope in the dark, It may become clear gradually. But if you give up, you will get nothing.”

For the future, he hopes that he has courage to think and implement, and has courage to love and hate.


Text: WANG Jiayin

Image: LI Yuanlong

Review: WU Haiping

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