Ping Fu

Ping Fu:'Libraries, large and small, became my refuge'

'Libraries large and small became my refugee'

It is hard for me to describe what the library means to me.

When I was young, I lived in Shaghai and my family had a library on the third floor. It was in the library my Shanghai papa cultivated in me the lasting impression of the importance of ideas. And he told me like books,ideas needs proper caring and then I came to the United States as a student.

Libraries large and small became my refugee. And it was in the library that I found independent thinking. I could find a world of ideas and wisdom and it was in the library I found language of computer science, which allowed me to change the trajectory of my life, professionally and personally.

I use the library in many different ways. Sometimes we use libraries as an event place to help children to learn art and science. My family loves to go to libraries, I was called "bookworm." I loved books, so I usually can lose myself in the library.

My daughter, who studies at Williams College in Massachusetts, she does all of her homework in the library. She spends much of her time in libraries to explore the world of ideas. And we experienced library budget cut our area also, and I saw library Association or directors try to do fundraising.

I think we should turn the library space into a more interactive space, because today the passive book sitting on a shelf no longer serves the younger generation.

But still, the library is just different, the library is safe.The library is the place to explore. I love to see the library to be morevibrant. I love to see the library to be more connected to 21st century.

I also heard that there many libraries are going to put a maker space in the buildings that they have. I think that's a wonderful idea because what it allow libraries to do is to make experiential learning in the environment where there's words of wisdom surrounding us. I just love the idea of doing things and when I look around there are lots and lots of books.

Well, I don't like the idea of censorship for books. I think box at the records of humanity. Sometimes books are memories of people and experiences. Right or wrong, they're records. Who said only the most accurate and right record should exist. Even the wrong records should exist because people can examine. And we should allow controversial ideas.We should allow the books back. Even the most controversial book should be allowed to exist, because that's how we learn. We learn from disagreement.

I think that digital book will stay. I mean it's not gonna go away anytime soon. I myself am a bit old-fashioned. I love printed books. I get intoxicated when I up put my hands on a book, feel the texture, even smell the ink. I hope the printed book will never go away because the convenience of taking it......curl up, going anywhere, sitting there touch the page, I think touching the page is something that I get a sense of pleasure from.

Of course there are conveniences with the digital book.You can take many books in a digital reader on the airplane rather than carrying lots of books with you. I do both. I think both should exist.

I do a lot of 3D printing. That's what my company is doing. We are the largest company. 3d Systems is actually the inventor of 3d printers and also I'm printing products and objects like books. We invented printers that we can print books a long time ago which completely changed humanity and now we can have printers that print products, which is a future we have not yet imagined. I think it's just fascinating and exciting to me.

[I've heard of some amazing things you can do with 3D printers]

So, for example here, I'm wearing a 3d printed scarf and 3d printed necklace and 3d printed belts. And then today, when I got stage, I'm also going to go there with a pair of 3d printed shoes.

[It's wonderful. Well, if you can figureout 3d printed food, then you'll really have something]

That's actually coming.Yeah, it's coming, I believe next year we will see 3d printers for chocolate, many cookies and there's a company who is working out 3d printed leatherand meat, which I am on the advisory board and the interesting thing about the meat is it's vegan meat. And we all know that cow eats a lot and produce alot of pollution, and if we bring people in developing country wants to eat meat the way we eat, the earth is not sustainable and those meet is using the modern technology like stem cell and amino acids. One cow can feed an entire nation and there's no slaughter houses. How cool is that? We can already print ground meat. 

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