’02 Working Conference of the Academy

The Annual Working Conference of the Chinese Academy of Sciences closed in Beijing on January 24th, 2002. The meeting laid out the priorities for this year.

Academy President Yongxiang LU positively appraised the meeting. He appealed that the academy should properly deal with the relations between reform, development and stability, open up a new phase of the Pilot Project of Knowledge Innovation Programme (PPKIP), steer every piece of work according to the guidelines of the Academy in the new phase, carry out with greater efforts the Strategic Action Plan of S & T Innovation so as to upgrade the entire innovative ability of the Academy, enhance the building of leadership and innovative contingent, facilitate the training of leading cadres, optimize the echelon of leadership, and adjust the Academy’s personnel strategy to the increasingly competitive environment.  At the meeting, 26 institutions such as the State Key Laboratory for superconductors under the Institute of Physics were conferred upon the honor of “Advanced Collectives of CAS” by the Ministry of Personnel and CAS. Meanwhile, 17 persons including Jiaguang MA et al from the Chengdu Institute of Photoelectronic Technology were granted the honor of “Advanced Researchers of CAS”.


     Basic Research
Important Progress in Ion Liquid Research

novel environment-friendly reactive medium and catalyzer, ion liquid, has attracted great attention in many fields such as fine chemistry and organic synthesis. Important progress has been made by the research group headed by Prof. Youquan DENG, Lanzhou Institute of Chemistry, CAS in the applied research of ion liquid for cleaning and catalyzing, i.e., the Backmann’s rearrangement of cyclohexanone oxime in ion liquid environment was realized for the first time in the world. In the meantime, the research group headed by Prof. Weimin LIU took the lead in synthesizing three kinds of liquid lubricants, discovering that ion liquid is a novel liquid material with good lubricant performance, low steam pressure and wide range of applicable temperature. 

The research results have been filed for 4 patent inventions in China, and more than 20 papers were published on such important periodicals as Chem. Comm. and New J. Chem.
CAS President Yongxiang LU, as head of the Chinese delegation, attended the Japan-China Meeting on Information Technology, which was held in Tokyo in mid December 2001 and jointly organized by the China-Japan Association for Scientific & Economic Exchange of CAS, the Japanese Science and Industry Technology Exchange Agency and the Japan-China Association.
Major Results Achieved in Early Mammal Research

Fossils excavated in Lufeng, Yunnan Province indicate that hadrocodium lived 195 million years ago at the early Jurassic Period, pushing back the history of such mammals by 45 million years.

The discovery, jointly made by Prof. Ailing SUN with the Institute of Palaeovertebrate and Palaeoanthropology, CAS and Dr. Rogers with the Museum of Natural History, Pennsylvania, USA, was published on Science on May 25th, 2001. The newly discovered mammal is the smallest known species that lived during the Mesozoic Era, It is characterized by that it had the middle ears just as existing mammals. As far as we know, there are three auditory ossicles in the middle ear of present-day mammal, one of the important features distinguishing it from reptiles (whose middle ear only has one auditory ossicle), The existence of the three ear bones has greatly improved the hearing function of mammals. Before the hadrocodium is discovered, fossils of mammals’ middle ears with three auditory ossicles had been found only in rocks at the late Jurassic Period about 150 million years ago. The discovery has, therefore, pushed back the history of mammals by 45 million years to the early Jurassic Period. Because of the similar structure of middle ears, hadrocodium is believed to have an intimate relationship with existing mammals.

Symposium on Inter-Disciplinary Projects of Life Science and Information Science Held in Shanghai

Symposium on inter-disciplinary project of life science and information science under the sponsorship of the National Research Programme in Key Basic Areas (“973” Programme) was held at the Institute of Biochemistry and Cytology, Shanghai Academy of Life Science, CAS on January 19th , 2002. The purpose of the meeting was to identify the inter-disciplinary project of life science and information science. It was aimed at that the project should be original, novel and operable, and adaptable to the needs of China’s population and health development, and that it should make full use of the advantages of various disciplines, with an inter-disciplinary and complementary nature and an international leading level.

The symposium published several reports, including “Gene Expression and Recognition”, “Some Aspects of Bioinformatics Data Procession”, “What Data Mining can help Bioinformatics”, “Data Mining for DNA Analysis”, “Proteinomics .Research ”, etc..

 Research & Development

Special Optical Filming Material Developed to Attain Advanced World Leading Levels

A special optical filming material, a high-pure magnesium fluoride, which is suitable for anti-forgery of paper currency and may be used as a substitute for import material, has been officially authenticated in Changchun recently.  Experts  unanimously  agreed  that the product developed by the AoPu Photo-Electronic Corporation, Changchun Institute of Optics and Fine Machinery, CAS, has filled a gap in China and reached the advanced international level.

The high-pure magnesium fluoride is an important optical filming material in the fields of optical lens, laser units, integrated optics and optic fiber communication. Especially in recent years, with the deep-going development and utilization of optical filming material, magnesium fluoride filming material has been taken an important raw material for anti-forgery of paper currency technology and attracted more and more attention.

The problem of raw material purity has been solved by using various processes such as vacuum smelting, so a special high-pure optical filming material, magnesium fluoride, is developed. The purity of the product reaches 99.99%. Besides, the production process of magnesium fluoride has matured, and it attains or surpasses the technical level developed by the world major companies such as Canon.
On 4 March 2002, CAS Vice President Chunli BAI (middle) met with Mr. Kaifu Nobuo (left), Director of the Japan National Astronomical Observatory and his wife .

ChinaFishBase  Launched

Not long age, a contract on the project of ChinaFishBase, a Chinese fish bio-information database and consultation system under the National High Technology Development Programme (“863” Programme), was signed between the Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Science and Technology, marking the official launching of the R & D project on fish bio-information database in China.

With an accumulation of research experience of 70 years about ichthyology, the Museum of Freshwater Fish, Institute of Hydrobiology, CAS

has collected over 1,000 freshwater fish specimens in China and more than 260 pattern specimens, which are regionally complete, say, the freshwater fishes in East Asia, in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and in the Yangtze River Basin respectively. In addition, the Museum has over 600 specimens both from home and abroad for comparativestudy.

All these collections are unique in the world. Once they are integrated into a network database, their scientific contribution will be greatly heightened.

China’s Ancient-Lake Database at the Late Quaternary Period

The research work on China’s Ancient-Lake Database by the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology (NIGL), CAS has attracted the attention from PAGES, a well-known international scientific organization. At the conference held by the Organizing Committee of PAGES in Singapore in November 2001, the China’s Ancient-Lake Database established by the NIGL was listed as an important scientific achievement by PAGES.

The climate environment in the past 20,000 years is a hot subject of the international research community. China is an early bird in conducting research on the subject and many of her research outcomes are at the international leading level. However, the major efforts of the Chinese community were focused on the collection of geological data, and little attention was paid to the study of the dynamic mechanism of climate change. As a result, the knowledge and prediction of climate change is relatively poor in China. In view of the abundant geological evidence on the Quaternary Period in China and the weakness in linking the evidence to climate modeling, the NIGL, represented by Prof. Ge YU, started the research project, Database on China’s lakes at the late Quaternary Period and dynamics of palaeoclimate, which was sponsored by the “Hundred Talent Program” of CAS.
An agreement between China and Japan on cooperation in eco-environment research in arid regions was signed in Tokyo on 9 December 2001 by Juliang QIU, Executive Deputy-Director General of the Bureau of International Cooperation, CAS and JSPS, Board Member of the Japanese Society for Promoting Science.

Fast Root-Control Seedling Technology Jointly Developed

After three years of effort, the Institute of Water & Soil Conservation (IWSC), CAS, in cooperation with the Endack Group (Australia) and Pangu Group Corp.Inner Mongolia, has successfully developed the Fast Root-Control Seedling Technology, which has broad prospects of application in plantation, water and soil conservation and eco-environment rehabilitation.

Root-Control Seedling is a new technology focusing on regulating the growth of the root system. It controls the growing direction, size and shape of the plant root system artificially by providing a special physical environment (root-control container), a chemical environment (special synthetic culture medium) and management techniques, so as to create favorable conditions for the development of seedlings and the growth of the transplants. The number of roots increases progressively and exponentially. Experts from Australia and IWSC carried out experiments on six Chinese arbors, including lace bark pine, Chinese pine, elm, pagoda tree etc. and several shrubs such as sea buckthorn in southern Australia and on the Loess Plateau of China,respectively. Results show that, in comparison with conventional technology, the root-control technology raises the survival rate of seedlings by 3-4 times and increases the total root weight by 30-50 times; in the meantime, it shortens the breeding period by half and reduces the management procedures by 50%-70%, marking a major breakthrough in breeding technology as compared to seedling raising with traditional field and conventional container.

Zhu CHEN Encourages Young Leaders to Shoulder Heavy Burdens

From 10 to 12 December 2001, CAS Vice President Zhu CHEN inspected the Academy’s Shenyang Institute of Applied Ecology (SIAE), Institute of Metals Research (IMR) and Shenyang Institute of Automation (SIA), accompanied by Tao YIN, Vice President of Shenyang Branch, CAS, and held talks with leaders of the institutes in Shenyang.

After years of efforts, the majority of the Academy’s institutes have fulfilled the goal of “intergenerational shift”(shift of heavy burdens from the elder generation to the younger one), Chen said. A number of young researchers have undertaken the leadership of institutes. Facing with both the pressures of scientific research and management, they feel heavily burdened. Too much pressure is not good, nor is without pressure. A successful institute director must know what to do and what not to do. He must play an important role as a deputy director and focus his attention on major issues rather than minor ones. He must not only take into account the institute’s development in the long run, but also consider many other things, such as the state of health and psychological status of the researchers, their working environment and living conditions. Maybe in 20 years, China will enter the list of developed countries in advance. At that time, our successors will carry on the job on our shoulders to make greater contributions to the scientific undertakings of the country.

 Information Technology

Joining Hands to Create Virtual Man

Experts from the Institute of Computing Technology, CAS, the No.1 Medical University of PLA and the Capital Medical University are joining hands to create a 3-D computer model of the human body that has the shape, bones, muscles, organs and blood vessels of a typical Chinese, and simulates the behaviors of a real man.

“Key technologies for a digital virtual human body” has been approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology as a project under the National High Technology Development Programme (“863” Programme) during the “Tenth Five-Year Plan” Period. The objective of the project is to acquire all the standard data of an oriental and complete two digital human body databases (male and female) characteristic of a Chinese on the basis of the existing attainment by joining the efforts of experts in life science and information science.

The human body is a complicated integrity consisting of over 1,000 trillion cells. The nerve system in the human body alone comprises approximately 100 billion neurons. With the progress of the Human Genome Programme, it is fully possible to digitalize and visualize the structures and functions of the human body both microscopically and macroscopically, to depict the morphology and functions of genes, proteins, cells, tissues and even organs in detail, and finally to realize a precise simulation of entire human body by computer graphic technologies in combination with clinical anatomy.

Sino-US Collaboration in Building “ChinaScience” Website

A cooperative agreement between the Centre of Computer Network Information (CCNI), CAS and the A & M University, Texas, USA was signed in Beijing on 9 November 2001, laying down a foundation for the bilateral collaboration in building the virtual library of “ChinaScience” in English and the long-term cooperation in science publicity via Internet.

The “ChinaScience” website is hosted by the CCNI under the sponsorship of CAS. It is aimed at establishing a large network of virtual libraries covering knowledge of every field by incorporating the information resources of the Academy’s scientific databases and taking advantage of the human resources of CAS including scientists and engineers.

As early as at the end of 2000, a preliminary cooperative agreement had been reached between ChinaScience and A & M University on the joint development of the English version of the website and its mirror in the US, under the support of the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the National Science Foundation of the US (NSF) and the CAS.
Huiming CHENG, Deputy-Director of SIMR/CAS, talking with Prof. M. Ruhle, Director of the Institute of Metals, MPG, head of the German delegation

Progress in Implementing Go-West Strategy

In order to implement the National Strategy of West China Development (or Go-West Strategy), the Academy has carried out a series of scientific research in fundamental, strategic and forefront areas in the past two years with marked progress.

According to CAS Vice President Yiyu CHEN, the Academy has initiated research projects of various levels to address the evolutional process, mechanism and trends of the eco-environment in the western regions, so as to provide historic and realistic basis for decision-making in the Go-West campaign. So far, the Academy has launched eight key projects with a total fund of 123 million yuan. Under the “West Action Plan” of the Academy, key projects such as “Research on the environmental evolution, ecological rehabilitation and sustainability of resources in the western China” were launched. Different strategies and technologies were proposed and carried out for rehabilitating varied types of damaged ecosystems in the west to provide theoretical and technical support for the ecological rehabilitation and sustainable development of resources in the region, which promoted the adjustment of the industrial structure of the west and the formation of the high-tech support system for west development. In addition, the Academy has initiated and implemented so-called “Light of the West”, a talent training program.
Prof. Niels Hansen (first right), director of the Denmark National Laboratory RISQ and Prof. Dorte Juul Jensen (second left), deputy director, visited the Shenyang Joint State Key Laboratory of Materials Science, SIMR/CAS, from 22 to 25 November 2001

CAS-JSPS Collaboration in Providing Scientific Basis for and Technical Approaches to West China’s Ecological Rehabilitation

During his visit to Japan in December 2001, CAS President Yongxiang LU signed with the Japanese counterpart an Implementation Program for Exchange and Cooperation in Arid-land Eco-environment Research between CAS and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). The two sides plan to conduct a 10-year trans-institutional and trans-regional collaboration beginning from 2002.

The project will perform collaborative research centering around such issues as the degradation of Loess Plateau soil due to drought, wind and water erosion, the desertification of land in the northern China, and so on. It is of great significance to facilitate research on the control of declining productivity in arid region and desertification. Besides, it will contribute to perfecting the theory on rehabilitation of degenerated ecosystems, developing ecology on soil conservation and restoration as well as exploring integrated technologies for eco-environment renovation and reestablishment.

International Cooperation

Joint HT-7 Experiment in Winter

In the winter of 2001, the HT-7 experiment was going on at the Hefei Institute of Plasma Physics, CAS. An international allied force of scientists from China, USA and Japan were working together at the HT-7 Laboratory to conduct joint experiments on nuclear fusion.

The “international allied force ” consisted of 18 foreign scientists from 14 overseas universities and scientific institutions, including the University of Texas (USA), the University of Tokyo, Tsukuba University, Shizuoka University, Kyushu University, Kyoto University and the Institute of Nuclear Fusion (Japan), etc., and 14 Chinese scientists from 11 domestic universities and institutes, such as the Institute of Plasma Physics, the Institute of Physics, the Southwest Institute of Physics, the University of Science and Technology of China, Tsinghua University, Tianjin University and so on.

Recently, scientists from USA and Japan have fulfilled their tasks and returned home successively, while the HT-7 experiment still continues at the Institute of Plasma Physics.

Joint Project on Clean Energy for the Future

On the evening of 10 January 2002, the press conference of the CAS-BP joint research project on clean energy for the future was held ceremoniously at the Beijing Hotel.

British Ambassador to China, the BP Company and CAS leaders attached great importance to the project and showed full confidence in the success of the cooperation. They spoke highly of the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP), chief undertaker of the project.

The project will be dedicated to research on clean energy for the future, and the objectives in its initial phase include research on energy strategies, preparation of synthetic gas, improvement of F-T catalytic process, direct conversion of methane to aromatic hydrocarbon, as well as research on highly efficient hydrogen storage materials and novel membrane materials, said Xinhe BAO, director of the DICP at the conference.


A Sino-German bilateral symposium was held at the Shenyang Institute of Metals Research (SIMR), CAS from 23-27 May 2001. Prof. M. Ruhle was delivering a presentation at the meeting

Sino-Belgium Collaborative Project Launched on Environmental Biotechnology for Sustainable Water Treatment

A Sino-Belgium collaborative project, Environmental biotechnology for sustainable water treatment, which is undertaken by the Shenyang Institute of Applied Ecology (SIAE), CAS, has been launched officially. 6 scholars of a Belgium delegation from the Ghent University and Leuven University visited recently, the SIAE to exchange the progress of the project and discuss the potentiality of enlarging the cooperative scope and research fields.

In the past decade, environmental biotechnology has developed speedily and become the most effective approach to addressing the complicated issues of environmental pollution. The cooperative project deals mainly with the following problems: 1. New technologies for anaerobic treatment of township household wastewater; 2. Oxygen-limited denitrification technologies; 3. Technologies for producing high quality drinking water and process water by various membrane skills, and feasibility of applying them in China; 4. Using molecular biotechnology to develop probes for determining the characteristics of microbes in anaerobic reactors and for rapid assessing the sanitary quality of drinking water and process water.

Cooperative Agreement Reached  between IMR/CAS and RIS

From 22 to 25 November, 2001, Prof. Niels Hansen, Director, and Prof. Dorte Juul Jsnsen, Deputy Director of the RIS National Laboratory, Denmark, paid an academic visit to the Institute of Metal Research, CAS. During the visit, a cooperative agreement was signed between the National (Joint) Laboratory of Material Science in Shenyang and the Center of Basic Research, RIS National Laboratory, Denmark. The two parties agreed to make collaborative research in the fields of material preparation, characterization, simulation, performance and applications, exchange visiting scholars and students, co-organize workshops and jointly apply for EU-sponsored cooperative projects.

Delegation from KIB/CAS visits Vietnam

Delegation of six members from the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences (KIB/CAS) visited Vietnam in December 2001.

During the visit, a memorandum of cooperation was signed between KIB/CAS and the Vietnamese Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources. According to the memorandum, the two parties will jointly apply for cooperative research projects, exchange information on flora geography and rational exploitation of plant resources, exchange specimens and visiting scholars. The two sides will provide reciprocal convenience to visiting scholars in using herbarium and library facilities. If possible, joint cross-boundary survey will be organized by the two parties. The Chinese side agrees to seek financial appropriation for the visit of young Vietnamese botanists to China. The flora in southern and southeastern Yunnan, China, is very similar to that in Vietnam. The botanical resources of the two countries are very complementary to each other in exploitation.


Nobelist Noyori Ryoji Visits CAS

Noyori Ryoji, Nobelist in chemistry in 2001, professor with Nagoya University, made a special trip to the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SIOC/CAS) from 23-25 December 2001. On the morning of 24 December, Prof. Noyori Ryoji delivered a lecture on Science and Opportunities, and was conferred upon the title of Honorary Professor by Biao JIANG, standing deputy-director of SIOC/CAS. “A Nobel prize is the highest honor for scientific achievements. It is the result rather than the power of scientific research. When young scientists have done their own creative work, Nobel prizes will belong to them,” said Prof. Ryoji. He also had a talk with young researchers of the Institute.

Prof. Noyori Ryoji won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry together with Professors William Norse and Bari Sharpness (USA).

Yongxiang LU Urges IZ/CAS to Make Breakthroughs in People’s Health, Agriculture and Eco-Environment

On 24 December 2001, Academy President Yongxiang LU paid a personal inspection on the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IZ/CAS) to hear the work report made by the Institute leaders and later visited the state key laboratories of the Institute. Lu spoke highly of the achievements made by IZ since it carried out the Pilot Project of the Knowledge Innovation Programme. He also expressed his hopes on the future development of the Institute, including: further enhancing the transformation of traditional disciplines, increasing support for advantageous areas such as reproductive biology, biodiversity protection and integrated control of insect pests and rodents, making breakthroughs in people’s health, agriculture and eco-environment, and attaching great importance to contingent building, especially the introduction of young outstanding researchers from abroad and the bringing up of existing young talents.

ICIMOD Prize Awarded to CAS Members

Recently, a prize was awarded to CAS Members Prof. Honglie SUN, a national member of the Board of the International Centre for Integrated Mountainous Development (ICIMOD), and Prof. Qiguo ZHAO, an expert member of the Board of ICIMOD, by the Director General of ICIMOD at its 30th Board Meeting held in Thimbu, capital of Bhutan.

Honglie SUN has been the Chinese National Member of the Board of ICIMOD since 1994. He was also the Chairman of the 2001 Board Meeting of ICIMOD. For many years, he has been active in promoting the development of ICIMOD and made important contributions. Qiguo ZHAO was an Expert Member of the Board of ICIMOD from 1997 to 2001. For years, he had made effectively to the development of ICIMOD.

International Seminar on Management and Sustainable Development of Biodiversity in Lancangjiang-Mekong River Basin

The International Seminar on Management and Sustainable Development of Biodiversity in Lancangjiang-Mekong River Basin was held in the Xishuangbanna Tropical Garden of CAS, Kunming, China on 4 December 2001.

More than 80 delegates attended the meeting, with nearly 30 international participants from Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, USA, the Netherlands, Thailand, Italy, Laos, the Philippines, Germany, Cambodia, WWF, China and so on.

With “Lancangjiang-Mekong River in the New Century: Coordinative Development of Man and Nature” as the theme, Seminar was to exchange experience, views and techniques on the management and sustainable development of biodiversity in the Lancangjiang-Mekong River Basin, address the priorities and prospects of international cooperation in this regard, combine the strategic target of building an international channel linking China with Southeast Asia and South Asia, and provide strategic suggestions on the protection and sustainable development of biodiversity in the Lancangjiang-Mekong River Basin.

Sino-German Workshop on Modern Metal Materials Concluded in Beijing

The Sino-German Workshop on Modern Metal Materials, which was initiated and sponsored by the Sino-German Center and hosted by the Laboratory of Electron microscope, Institute of Physics, CAS, was held at the Sino-German Center, in Beijing from 4-8 November 2001. 16 scientists from 12 universities of Germany and 27 scholars from 11 universities of China attended the meeting. Dr. Mosch with the Sino-German Center delivered an enthusiastic speech at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the workshop.

22nd Sino-American Workshop on High Energy Physics

The 22nd Meeting of the Sino-American Liaison Committee on High Energy Physics was held at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, New York, USA from 23 to 24 October 2001. A Chinese delegation headed by Duo JIN, Director General, Bureau of Basic Research, CAS attended the meeting. Held in a friendly atmosphere the meeting, summarized the collaboration in the last year, stressed the importance of international cooperation, tackled some specific issues in the course of joint work, and discussed the plan of cooperative projects for the next year.