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Rendevous with Nobelists: Chinese President Jiang Zemin meets with six world-renowned scientists in Beidaihe on 5th August, 2000. Five of the six are Nobel Prize winners. Chen Ning Yang, Tsung-Dao Lee and Samuel Chao Chung Ting are laureates of the prize for physics. Rudolph A. Marcus was awarded the prize for chemistry in 1992, and Hartmut Michel is a German who won the prize for chemistry in 1988. Shing-Tung Yau is a winner of the Fields Prize in 1983. All six are Foreign Members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

President Jiang Zemin meets Nobelists    

President Jiang said during the meeting that science and technology furnishes the key to sustained momentum for economic growth and social progress of China while the country improves its economic structure, makes better use of resources, protects the environment, promotes coordinated development of its different regions, improves health and education of its people and does all it can to eliminate poverty. He reiterated that China will reinvigorate itself through science, technology and education and sustainable development.

The six scientists are in China at the invitation of CAS to review the Pilot Project of the Knowledge Innovation Program, which the Academy initiated two years ago. They have suggested that improved funding and an independent reviewing system be emphasized to promote the advancement of science and technology in China. If the country wants to produce a Nobel Prize winner, scientists should be given free reign to determine their course of study. Over-detailed plans and goals should not be made for scientists in basic research. To that end, CAS should be encouraged to continue its reform efforts.

newsletter172_3.jpg (8692 bytes) Open sesame: Scientists of the Institute of Genetics are busy working under the Human Genome Project to decode the secrets of human life.

More Input Promised for Nation's Scientific Research

In an exclusive interview with correspondents of Science, Chinese President Jiang Zemin has said that the Chinese government will continue to increase input to fundamental research. In an editorial written for Science, Jiang again pledged that the Chinese government is committed to establishing a favorable environment in which scientific creativity flourishes along with innovative commercialization, and in which management reform is to be carried out at the same time.

newsletter173_2.jpg (14841 bytes) Estonian Academy of Sciences President Academician Juri Engelbrecht(left) and CAS President Lu Yongxiang ink a science cooperation agreement between the two Academies

 CAS Scientists Contribute to Working Draft of Human Genome

Chinese President Jiang Zemin applauded the completion of the working draft of the human genome map in a speech to a recent working conference, saying the Human Genome Project is a great scientific project in the scientific history of human beings, and is of vital importance to the development of life sciences, medicine and pharmaceutical study. Jiang congratulated the scientists involved and thanked the Chinese scientists for their hard work. In an earlier development, scientists from six countries including USA, Japan, UK, France, Germany and China, announced on the Internet the completion of the draft map of human genome. Lu Yongxiang, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, spoke highly of the Chinese scientists who had undertaken the sequencing of 1% of human genome, i.e. the sequencing of 30 million of the total 3 billion base pairs. Lu Yongxiang pointed out that this demonstrated that as a developing country, China has a laudable team of eminent scientists who are fully capable of conducting international collaborative research at the frontiers of biological sciences.

Professor Yang Huanming, Director of the Human Genome Centre in the Institute of Genetics, CAS,commented that their participation in international cooperation enables Chinese scientists to share the technologies and data of the Human Genome Project accumulated over the past ten years, and to master the technologies and train scientific personnel for large-scale sequencing of China's own human genome. This will materially facilitate the development of frontier research in biological sciences in China, including bio-informatics, bio-functional genome and protein study. It will also open up broader prospects for the exploitation of gene resources and the development of biotechnology industries, including pharmaceutics and agriculture.

newsletter174_2.jpg (19279 bytes) A popular science exhibition designated as “Door To Science: Nobel Prizes and Advancement of Science and Technology ” is held in Beijing this summer. CAS President Lu Yongxiang and Vice Minister of Science and Technology Ma Songde are presenting middle school pupils with science books

China's High-Energy Physics Development Strategies 

It was learned from China 2000 Symposium on High-Energy Physics Development Strategies that the CAS has decided not to build a n- charm factory, that the future development of the Beijing Electron Positron Collider (BEPC) would be BEPC - a transformed BEPC, and that research on non-accelerator physics would be enhanced.

More than 70 participants from home and abroad, specializing in high-energy physics, accelerator technology and high-energy astrophysics, fully exchanged views on the future development of high-energy physics in China. Nearly 30 scientists from the CAS Institute of High-Energy Physics, the CAS Institute of Theoretical Physics, Beijing University, the University of Science and Technology of China and other institutions delivered presentations at the Symposium. Professors Yang Binling and Hagiwara presented the latest developments of neutrino research in the world.

The event also enabled an in-depth discussion on the physical objectives of BEPC II, potential physical designs of the accelerator, its requirements and coordination with detectors, proposals on the improvement of BES, and the relation with synchrotron radiation. It was suggested that a basic scheme for improving the accelerator be defined by August, and that an international review of the scheme be organized at a suitable time.

   FAST on Wheels 

The 500m-Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), a major project under the Knowledge Innovation Program with the Beijing Observatory as the main contractor, has been progressing smoothly. Breakthrough advances have been made in two key technologies - the active main spherical reflector and the feed support system. A reduced scale model of FAST is under construction. The proposed location of the telescope will be in Guizhou Province. Radio astronomers from 10 countries around the world have urged the joint action of building a 1km2 super-large radio telescope (SKA) with an estimated budget of 1 billion US Dollars. The building of FAST will make it possible to persuade the international astronomic community to finally choose China as the location of SKA.

Super Hybrid Rice Genome Project

Under the China Super Hybrid Rice Genome Project, scientists from the Biotechnology Laboratory of the CAS Institute of Genetics, the Beijing Huada Gene Research Center, and the National Hybrid Rice Engineering Research Center will join hands to take the lead in decoding the genic codes of super hybrid rice, which is expected to lay a sound basis for increasing rice yield, improving rice quality and maintaining China's leading position in the production of hybrid rice.

Compared with the approximately 3 billion base pairs of human genome, the rice genome

comprises 430 million base pairs. The work-load of the large-scale sequencing of rice genome is close to one-seventh of that of the sequencing of human genome. The Program has gained support from CAS from the outset. "The decoding of the genic codes of super hybrid rice will avail the understanding of related genes in the genomes of other important cash crops such as wheat and corn, and thus promote the basic and applied research of all cereal crops, " said Prof. Yang Huanming from the Institute of Genetics.

The scientists plan to complete the decoding task within one year.

newsletter175_2.jpg (17957 bytes) Mr. Jiri Veleminsky(left), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Council of the Czech Academy of Science, and Professor Yan Yixun, Vice President of CAS, exchange gifts after they have signed the 2001-2005 science cooperation program of the two Academies.

Environment Monitoring Over Third Pole

CAS Member Ye Duzheng, atmospheric physicists Gao Dengyi and Zou Han and their colleagues at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics have embarked on a scientific survey project, which aims at conducting 10-year-long monitoring of Mt. Qomolangma and its neighboring areas. A series of measures will be taken, such as establishing an automatic observation system, releasing sounding balloons, taking environmental samples and collecting hydro-meteorological data. In recent years, Chinese scientists have discovered that an "ozone valley" (ozone low value zone) suspends above the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in summer. Research on the causes of the "ozone valley" has become a frontier subject in environmental science. Chinese scientists are making observational studies on the vertical distribution of ozone in the atmosphere above the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Observation will soon be conducted at the northern slope of Mt. Qomolangma for the first time in history, in an effort to understand the status and mechanism of ozone change in the atmosphere of this area and to estimate its impact on the climate environment.

Academy's Restructuring Blueprint Sketched

In its 5445th issue, Science reports talks with CAS President Lu Yongxiang. The article is titled CAS President Engineers Major Reform of Institutes, and subtitled Lu Yongxiang's job is to prod the crown jewel of Chinese science into embracing the type of research needed to sustain economic growth. Lu is quoted as saying, “The reform will be done in three phases. The first phase will last 3 years, and about one-third of the (previously 123 CAS) institutes are being consolidated into 12 research centers as a pilot program. The second phase, from 2001 to 2005, will see another 30 to 40 institutes restructured into about 18 centers. The last phase, from 2006 to 2010, will be to consolidate the reform and restructure the remaining institutes.”

The Science article also touches on the need for reform, staffing, peer review, the Academy’s mission, commercializing results, setting priorities for basic research, funding venture research, and the pace of reform.

Major Advances Achieved Under Knowledge Innovation Program

In the last 2 years, major advances have been achieved under the CAS Pilot Project of the Knowledge Innovation Program in such aspects as upgrading of the Academy's innovative capacity, identification and selection of its innovation objectives, reform of its structure and operating mechanisms and the building of a high-caliber team. The following fields, where the strategic needs of China's socio-economic development in the 21st century intersect the frontiers of world science and technology, have been identified as key priorities: agricultural high technology, population and health, energy, new materials, information and automation, space science and technology, ecology and environmental science, earth science, and other major cross-disciplinary subjects.

Restructuring has been carried out on a large scale within the Academy. 40 institutes have been merge-reformed under the Pilot Project. A number of research accomplishments have been made through the innovative efforts of the research staff, which has contributed to the development of the nation's science, technology and economy. In the field of life science and biological technology, human genome study has made several breakthroughs. Genes associated with some major hereditary diseases have been identified and cloned. CAS-established cDNA-array chips have achieved satisfactory results in trial use at many laboratories both at home and abroad. In the fields of information, automation, energy, new materials and space science, breakthroughs have also been made, such as the "Dawning 2000-II" super server, which calculates at a speed of 110 billion times per second, reaching international advanced levels. Major progress has also been achieved in semiconductor technology, nano materials and study of the behavior of materials under special conditions and their invalidation mechanism. Altitude detection using space particle probes has reached world levels. In addition, important advances have been obtained in areas such as ecology, environment, earth science, agriculture, and new drug development.

newsletter176_2.jpg (18580 bytes) CAS Vice President Yan Yixun talk with Mr. Kazuki Okimura(left), Vice President of Japan Science and Technology Corporation before they sign a photon technology cooperation   agreement. The high-tech program is the first pact between the two institutions.

Academy Grows "10 Years Younger"

Two years of reform under the Pilot Project of the Knowledge Innovation Program has rejuvenated the Academy. A source from the Bureau of Personnel and Education is quoted as saying that the current average age of the 36,000 professionals is around 50, and that of the 6,000-odd research staff who have been contracted under the Pilot Project, with 72% of them being less than 45 years old, is 10 years younger.

A new employment system, which sets posts according to needs and recruits talents through open competition, has been adopted. The government has allocated a special fund of 600 million yuan for the Outstanding Overseas Scholars Recruitment Program to recruit 300 young scientists from abroad. So far, more than 200 young scholars have returned to China and undertaken research projects. One-tenth of them are now holding leading posts in the institutes. The target of recruiting 300 overseas scientists will be fulfilled by the end of this year.

Meanwhile over 100 young scientists have been recruited from across the country. A mobile force consisting of over 8,000 graduate students seeking Master and Ph.D. degrees, postdocs and visiting scholars have been attracted to participate in the Pilot Project. Presently, the Academy has a pool of young outstanding scientists represented by Dr. Pu Muming, Rao Yi, Lu Ke and Tan Tieniu.

New Education Projects for More Outstanding Talents

Greater efforts will be mustered to implement the Graduate Quality Education & Innovation Practice Project and the Western Region-Oriented Talent Training Project, it was learned from a recent meeting on the Academy's educational work. CAS President Lu Yongxiang pointed out that creativity education should be made essential in future programs for talent training, and that the Academy should continue to serve as a national center for training creative people. A Postgraduate Innovation Practice Fund has been established for this purpose.

According to sources from the Education Bureau of CAS, graduate education in the Academy will highlight quality education, focusing on the development of the students' creativity, practical skills, initiative and curiosity to probe into mysteries. Liberal education and science education are both important to quality education.

Having trained a large number of excellent talents for the western provinces of China, the Academy promised to take effective actions to implement the national strategic policy of promoting the socio-economic development of the western areas. It will further implement the "West Light Program" which is aimed at training scientific and managerial backbone personnel for research institutions, universities, government agencies and the industry sector. Under the Program, young researchers dedicated to their work in the western areas are encouraged and supported to read for higher degrees.

Academy-Beijing JV to Develop Network Technology

The CAS Institute of Computing Technology and the Economic Information Center of Beijing have signed a cooperation and investment contract with Jingtai Industrial Co. Ltd. to initiate a joint venture - Beijing Jingtai Network Technology Co. Ltd., the first network value-added service company in the Zhongguancun Science Park. The new firm will concentrate on the development of network value-added service, aiming to become the main service supplier on the Internet, providing value-added tools and professional service for various web sites, e-commerce platforms and information networks of enterprises and government agencies. The firm will set up further cooperative ties with high-tech sources in China and abroad, including CAS institutes, higher learning institutions, and the Silicon Valley in USA. Through development, introduction, transformation and integration, it will grasp state-of-the-art core Internet technology with the highest efficiency, and market a series of new products of Internet service within the shortest time possible.

  Academy Helps Yan'an Develop Ecological Agriculture

Three years of arduous work since 1997 has raised the per capita income of Zhaozhuang Village in Yan’an from 900 to 2500 yuan, turning some 3,000 acres plowland to newly planted woodland. The urban-rural model of ecological agriculture implemented by the CAS Institute of Soil and Water Conservation and the Yan’an municipal government has achieved preliminary progress. A research group from the Institute has helped the local people adjust the industrial structure, increasing the planting areas of economic crops, e.g. vegetables and fruits, and building green houses. Besides enhancing scientific management of the orchards to ensure production and profit growth, they have also introduced new species of fruit, vegetables and flowers.
newsletter177_2.jpg (18109 bytes) CAS Vice-President Jiang Mianheng meets with Mr. Michael Kantor(left), former US Secretary of Commerce and representative of MBP, at the Head Office of the Academy.

Cooperation with Oil Firm Projected

CAS and China Marine Oil Corporation have recently signed a letter of intent for technical cooperation during the Tenth Five-Year Plan period. China Marine Oil Company is a state-owned company in the development of offshore oil and gas resources. To secure fast growth, the enterprise must master such key techniques as high harvest rate, high offshore resolution ratio, multiband earthquake exploration, and offshore high temperature-pressure stratigraphic drilling. Based on years of efficient cooperation, CAS and the corporation will fully utilize their research achievements and human resources to realize the goals of producing 40 million tons of offshore oil and gas in 2005, raising their technological contribution rate to 56%, and lowering the cost per barrel of oil to below 10 US dollars.

Changchun Industrial Park Breaks Ground

The ground-breaking ceremony was held for the CAS Changchun Photo-Electronics Industrial Park, which is co-sponsored by the Changchun Economic and Technological Development Zone and the CAS Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics in Changchun. The industrial park will focus on the three dominant industries of photoelectronics, instrumentation and information. The whole project will be completed in two phases in 5 years with an investment of 18 billion yuan.

   Seven Academies Urge Use of Biotech in Alleviating Hunger and Poverty

CAS and six other academies of science from around the world have issued a white paper spelling out the promise of agricultural biotechnology to alleviate hunger and poverty in the world. The paper urges governments to base their decisions regarding biotech on sound science, and strongly encourages private corporations and research institutions to share their technology with scientists and farmers in developing countries who desperately need it to feed and free from hunger a growing world population, while reducing environmental impacts and providing productive employment in low-income areas. Key to moving forward is responsible research, development, and implementation of genetic modification (GM) technology for widespread agricultural use.

The white paper was prepared by a working group of members from the Royal Society of London, the national academies of science of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and the United States, and the Third World Academy of Sciences. The working group pointed out the need for concerted, organized efforts on a global scale to quickly identify potential health and environmental risks from GM crops. Public health regulatory systems need to be put in place in every country to identify and monitor any potential adverse human health effects of transgenic plants, as for any other new variety. Likewise, environmental concerns must be addressed systematically and assessed against the agricultural technologies currently in use that cause environmental problems, such as pesticides.

Sino-Danish Scientists Cooperate To Decipher Genetic Code of Pigs

The Human Genome Center of the Institute of Genetics, CAS and six Danish institutions (including the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Arhus University, Danish Agriculture Institute, University of Southern Denmark and Novo Nordisk Company) will cooperate to decipher the genetic code of pigs. Drs. Yang Huanming and Zhang Meng from the Human Genome Center disclosed that the Pig Genome Project is the second project of the Genome Program of Chinese Biological Resources, next to the Super Hybrid Rice Genome Project which is being carried out by CAE Member Yuan Longping and Professor Zhu Lihuang. According to experts, the reason why rice and pigs have been chosen as targets for the first projects of the genome program is that rice and pigs are of paramount significance to China and Denmark. The Sino-Danish cooperation will cultivate fine breeds of pigs and enhance biotechnology and medicine.

newsletter178_2.jpg (15126 bytes) Vice President Yan Yixun meets with Mr. Lewis Lonnie Edelheit (right), GE Senior Vice President and CEO of R&D Center.


newsletter1710_2.jpg (16557 bytes) Dr. Lu Ke is talking with his supervisor CAS Member Wang Jingtang. Dr.Lu is Director of the State Key Lab of Fast Cementing Non-Equilibrium Alloys based in the CAS Institute of Metals in Shenyang, and his team is Lauded by world authorities of nano materials as “one of six influential teams in the world in the field of nano materials”.