2008年1月，《航空周刊》把钱学森 (Qian Xuesen, Tsien Hsue-shen) 选为2007年的年度人物 (1月7日, 第56页)，2月份就有个人出来抗议了。在这篇题为“Withdraw Award To Qian”的读者来信里，新泽西的丹尼尔.泊罗特尼克 (Daniel Plotnick) 把钱学森先生比作钱苏联的李森科 (Trofim Lysenko)，并声称周文俊 (Wen Tsing Chow) 才是中国的航天之父 (如果有这样一个称呼的话)。
第一，不管钱学森先生在大跃进期间做了什么，把他称为中国的航天之父是当之无愧的。不知道泊罗特尼克先生在写信之前是否认真查阅过有关钱学森的情况，维基百科上的不长的介绍里就足以说明问题。如果有更多的时间的话，张纯如 (Iris Chang) 的英文书《中国导弹之父──钱学森之谜》("Thread of the Silkworm") 也会有不少帮助。
Mr. Plotnick, you are wrong
Shortly after AW&ST nominated Qian Xuesen as the Person of the Year in its Jan. 7 issue, it received a protest. In his letter to AW&ST editor titled "Withdraw Award To Qian", Daniel Plotnick of New Jersey compares Qian to Trofim Lysenko of former Soviet Union and claims that it would be Wen Tsing Chow to be the father of Chinese space efforts (if any).
Here, I would like to say, Mr. Plotnick, You are wrong.
First, no matter what he did during the "great leaps forward" period, Qian fully deserves the title of the father of the Chinese space program. I am not sure whether Mr. Plotnick learned more about Qian before he wrote his letter, but if he wish, he might want to read a short entry about Qian on wikipedia. If more time is allowed, the book "Thread of the Silkworm" of Iris Chang will help a lot too.
Second, no matter what he did during the "great leaps forward" period, Qian is no comparison to Trofim Lysenko of Soviet Union. Lysenko used political influence and power to denounce and purge academic scientists and geneticists. In this way he secured his anti-Mendelian doctrines. Did Qian adopt any wrong theory? Did Qian denounce and purge other scientists?
Third, the contribution of Wen Tsing Chow to the Chinese space program is not significant enough to earn the title of the father of the Chinese space program. Personally, I admire Chow's achievements, honor his upright conducts and value his contribution to the Chinese space program. Nevertheless, his contribution seems to be limited to opinions and advises according to the letter which, in any event, should be recorded into the Chinese space history. But talking about something is quite different from working on it.
Finally, AW&ST's nomination of Qian Xuesen is due to China's astonishing accomplishments during the year of 2007. The year of 2008 will be another busy year for China. It is its achievements that make the whole world look at China with new eyes.