Science and Technology

Last Update: 2008-10-7 10:34:00; By drwi

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In 1955, a national conference on science and technology was held in China, where the government voted to adopt the development strategy of "relying on science and education to rejuvenate the nation." Only a year later, in 1956, the Chinese government constituted a special committee whose mission would be to draw up China's first development program for science and technology. The committee in question was tasked with fleshing out the details of a long-term plan (the perspective was 12 years, i.e., spanning 1956-1967) for the development of science and technology in China.

This 12-year science and technology development program provided the basis for the scientific progress that China was to achieve during the period, including the country's first successful nuclear test in 1964. This successful test alerted the world, as it were, to China's technological capabilities as a burgeoning regional power, if not as an ascendant world power in the making. The nuclear test served as incontrovertible proof to the world that the Chinese people could indeed make rapid advancements in science and technology. Unfortunately, the 10-year socio-economic upheaval that took place between 1966-1976 seriously disrupted China's progress along this route, inhibiting the country's rate of achievement in some spheres, and completely paralyzing it in others.

Fortunately, the resilience of the Chinese people is not to be denied, for no sooner had this gloomy period passed before the country shifted gears and began to think forward again. A new spirit of optimism pervaded the country, and over a surprisingly short span of time, this new-found optimism produced a spate of fresh technological initiatives in China, including new and bigger scientific research institutions as well as a revival of other academic institutions. Between 1978-1985, a new State Science and Technology Commission oversaw the progress of the newly-constituted National Compendium on Scientific and Technological Development.

The emphasis was on eight comprehensive areas that were thought to be of vital importance to the revival of China's economy, and of the country's standing in the world: agriculture, energy, heavy industry, computer electronics, laser technology, space science, molecular physics, and genetic engineering.

During the last two decades of the 20th century, which roughly corresponds to China's opening towards the West, China's scientific and technological development, not to speak of its economic development, accelerated as China made a series of significant improvements in the following areas:

· A sound economic footing for the country, based on market-oriented economic incentives,
· An emphasis on high-tech R&D and its commercial as well as industrial application,
· A sharing of the research knowledge base not only within China's own buregoning scientific community, but to an increasing extent, also with the outside world,
· A major reform of China's scientific and technological education system,
· A greater emphasis on basic, or fundamental (not primarily result-oriented), research,
· A deepening of China's techological prowess based on greater and more flexible technological exchange with the rest of the world, as well as on learning-by-doing,
· A cross-generational science and technology initiative combining experience with innovation,
· A liberalization of the laws and regulations that govern scientific discoveries and their potential application, commerical and otherwise, in order to further stimulate growth.

 

Deserving of special mention are:

1. Lisiguang who finally rid China of the label: "lacking petroleum",
2. Qianxuesen, the father of China's ballistic missile program,
3. Qiansanqiang, who presided over the establishment of China's Institute of Atomic Energy,
4. Tang'aoqing, the father of quantum chemistry in China,
5. Yuanlongping, the father of hybrid rice, greatly increasing that crop's yield in China, and
6. Wangxuan, who led China's technological revolution within the field of newspaper and printing.

 

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS

TOPChinese Academy of Sciences

The Chinese Academy of Sciences was established on November 1, 1949. Its first president was Guomoruo, while the current president is Luyongxiang. In the early days of the academy, it consisted of ony 40 scientific research institutions with roughly 500 scientists and technicians under its command. Today, half a century later, the Chinese Academy of Sciences consists of more than 120 institutes spanning 3 universities and 5 departments, or academic disciplines, and it oversees more than 400 high-tech enterprises employing roughly 50,000 scientists and technicians. It has become the strongest scientific research community in China, and enjoys high international prestige as well, especially in the fields of natural science and technology.

 

TOPChinese Academy of Engineering

The Chinese Academy of Engineering is the highest and most honored academic and advisory institution in China. It was established in 1994. The Chinese Academy of Engineering is regularly commissioned to carry out strategic studies of the nation's most important engineering, scientific and technological problems. In addition, the academy provides actionable advice on difficult engineering decisions, and it works to promote the development of the science of engineering and related technological undertakings. The academy's main task is to oversee the continuous improvement of China's engineering sciences, to facilitate the education and and training of China's massive contingent of engineers and engineering-related scientific and technological personnel in order to serve the sustained development of China's economy, and additionally, the academy is tasked with promoting the unity and cooperation of engineers and engineering-related scientific and technological personnel the world over.

 

 

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