In­no­va­tion De­ter­mines the Fu­ture

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Li Xia Edited by Justin Davis Photos by Chang Xu

The ex­hi­bi­tion In­no­va­tion De­ter­min­ing the Fu­ture show­cases China’s achieve­ments in aero­nau­tics, as­tro­nau­tics, as­tro­physics, deep-sea ex­plo­ration, in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, bio­med­i­cine, and con­struc­tion en­gi­neer­ing over the past 40 years.

One day, Kua Fu de­cided to chase and catch the sun. He fol­lowed the sun from the east to the West, drain­ing the Yel­low River and the Wei River to quench his burn­ing thirst. As he searched for more wa­ter, he died of de­hy­dra­tion. The wooden club he was car­ry­ing grew into a vast for­est of peach trees called Deng For­est.” This is a well-known leg­end in China and is known as “Kua Fu Chas­ing the Sun” in the Book of Moun­tains and Seas.

Since re­mote an­tiq­uity, Chi­nese peo­ple have never ceased their ex­plo­ration of na­ture, leav­ing be­hind nu­mer­ous imag­i­na­tive mytholo­gies and pro­duc­ing splen­did sci-tech achieve­ments.

Since the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China in 1949, Chi­nese peo­ple have forged ahead to scale new heights. In 1978, the ini­tia­tive of re­form and open­ing up was launched. In the same year, the Na­tional Science Con­fer­ence was held, herald­ing a “Spring­time of Science” for China.

Forty years have passed since then. In or­der to high­light the sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal achieve­ments China has scored over the past four decades, the In­no­va­tion De­ter­min­ing the Fu­ture Ex­hi­bi­tion is be­ing hosted by the China Science and Tech­nol­ogy Museum (CSTM). The ex­hi­bi­tion was de­signed to show­case China’s achieve­ments in aero­nau­tics and as­tro­nau­tics, as­tro­physics, deepsea ex­plo­ration, in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, bio­med­i­cine, and con­struc­tion en­gi­neer­ing. The ob­jec­tive is to spread science and sci­en­tific en­deav­ours, carry for­ward the spirit of science and en­hance na­tional pride and con­fi­dence. The ex­hi­bi­tion will end in early Septem­ber.

Nar­row­ing the Dis­tance

In an­cient times, Chi­nese peo­ple in­vented a char­iot that can record dis­tances trav­eled. It was an au­to­matic ma­chine in­vented by an­cient Chi­nese sci­en­tists and is billed as an “an­cient Chi­nese robot.”

A train is show­cased at the museum, the Fux­ing Hao high-speed train. De­vel­oped un­der the lead­er­ship of the

China Rail­way Cor­po­ra­tion, Fux­ing Hao is a world-lead­ing se­ries of Chi­nese elec­tric mul­ti­ple unit (CEMU) high­speed trains with fully in­de­pen­dent Chi­nese in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights. A late­comer in high-speed rail, China started to work on this tech­nol­ogy in the early 1990s. Thanks to rapid progress in re­cent years, on June 26, 2017, Fux­ing Hao was put into op­er­a­tion on the Bei­jing–shang­hai Ex­press Rail­way run­ning in both di­rec­tions. With a max­i­mum speed of 350 kilo­me­tres per hour, it takes only four and a half hours for the train to ar­rive in Shang­hai from Bei­jing.

“Kua Fu Chas­ing the Sun,” char­i­ots that can record dis­tances trav­eled and high-speed trains are three seem­ingly un­re­lated things that span a mil­len­nium. To­gether, they show how far China has come in “nar­row­ing the dis­tance” be­tween them and other pow­ers after suf­fer­ing hard­ships in the past. This story and these two in­ven­tions also serve as a thread run­ning through the ex­hi­bi­tion.

En­ter­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion hall, one finds a large, long board of pic­tures, videos and 3D mod­els, por­tray­ing the Hong Kong–zhuhai–ma­cao Bridge that in­te­grates bridge­work, is­lands and tun­nels. The bridge-tun­nel sys­tem is set­ting mul­ti­ple world records, namely for the longest bridge, the longest steel bridge, the most steel beams, the longest un­der­sea tun­nel, the largest wa­ter dis­charge of im­mersed tun­nel and the fastest speed of ar­ti­fi­cial is­land cre­ation. It is the most tech­ni­cally de­mand­ing project in world high­way con­struc­tion his­tory with the most con­struc­tion dif­fi­cul­ties, the high­est stan­dards and the largest scale, thus be­ing billed as the “Mount Ever­est” of the bridge build­ing sec­tor.

An­other con­struc­tion mar­vel is on a plateau. On July 1, 2006, the Qing­hai-ti­bet Rail­way came into ser­vice. The rail­way utilises mul­ti­ple in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies to tackle frozen earth, low tem­per­a­tures, de­creased lev­els of oxy­gen and frag­ile ecol­ogy, thus cre­at­ing a won­der in the his­tory of rail­way con­struc­tion. In or­der to demon­strate how the project team used heated poles and vent pipes to pro­tect frozen earth on the plateau and pre­vent dam­age to the roadbed, a colour­ful “Drink­ing Bird” model is fea­tured in the hall, which imi­tates work­ing prin­ci­ples. Visi­tors can give it a try. There is also video of scenery along the Qing­hai–ti­bet Rail­way, such as Qing­hai Lake, Kekex­ili Na­tional Re­serve of Qing­hai, Tang­gula Pass and the Yang­ba­jing Geother­mal Power Plant.

There are other won­ders at the ex­hi­bi­tion as well. The C919 is a good ex­am­ple. It is the first, large Chi­nese pas­sen­ger air­craft with fully in­de­pen­dent in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights. It is also the first civil jet-pro­pelled trunk liner pro­duced in line with the lat­est in­ter­na­tional air­wor­thi­ness stan­dards, fill­ing a va­cancy in China’s avi­a­tion in­dus­try. It de­notes the fact that the dream of gen­er­a­tions of Chi­nese avi­a­tion sci­en­tists has fi­nally ma­te­ri­alised and ex­ists as a land­mark project as China seeks to build an in­no­va­tion-driven na­tion. Visi­tors can learn how the C919 works in a sim­u­la­tor and ex­pe­ri­ence how it feels to pilot the air­craft in the snow, rain, over­cast weather and at night.

The Quan­tum Science Ex­per­i­men­tal Satel­lite “Mi­cius” and China’s Bei­dou Nav­i­ga­tion Satel­lite Sys­tem are also rep­re­sented in the ex­hi­bi­tion zone.

Ex­pand­ing Realms

Chang’e, the Chi­nese god­dess of the moon, was orig­i­nally the wife of the archer Houyi. In the very dis­tant past, ten suns had risen to­gether into the skies and scorched the earth, thus caus­ing hard­ship for peo­ple. The archer Houyi shot down nine of them, leav­ing just one sun, and was given the elixir of im­mor­tal­ity as a re­ward. How­ever, his ap­pren­tice Peng­meng broke into Houyi’s house while he went out hunt­ing and tried to force Chang’e to give him the elixir; she re­fused and drank it her­self. Chang’e then flew up­ward to­wards the heav­ens, choos­ing the moon as a new res­i­dence. The first known Chi­nese ci­ti­zen to try to leave the earth’s sur­face us­ing a rocket was a man called Wan Hu, a lit­er­a­tus of the Ming Dy­nasty (1368–1644). He bound 47 homemade rock­ets to his chair and held a kite, try­ing to fly to the sky with the propul­sion of the rock­ets. Un­for­tu­nately, the ex­per­i­ment failed. This brave en­deav­our, how­ever, can be seen as part of hu­mankind’s ex­plo­ration to the un­known.

Peo­ple have cher­ished and been fas­ci­nated by the end­less won­ders of the uni­verse since an­tiq­uity. Chi­nese peo­ple have long as­pired to em­brace the sky. Chang’e fly­ing to the moon, Wan Hu fly­ing to the sky and the Tian­gong mod­ule, con­sti­tute the sec­ond thread of the ex­hi­bi­tion. Ex­pand­ing the Realms

en­com­passes all of China’s key sci-tech achieve­ments in aero­space.

China’s aero­space in­dus­try has ma­tured as it un­der­goes its great re­ju­ve­na­tion, work­ing from the ground up and con­tin­u­ing to open new vis­tas. China has be­come a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence in this field, as ev­i­denced by the con­struc­tion of satel­lites, manned space flights and lu­nar ex­plo­rations. These amaz­ing suc­cesses con­trib­ute to China’s econ­omy, science and tech­nol­ogy, and na­tional de­fence. Tian­gong-2 rep­re­sents the first Chi­nese space­lab in a real sense. It will be used to test ren­dezvous and dock­ing tech­nolo­gies and con­duct a se­ries of space ex­per­i­ments.

Based on China’s strength in satel­lite ap­pli­ca­tions and manned space flight, its lu­nar ex­plo­ration pro­gramme is an­other im­por­tant project. First pro­posed in 1994, the pro­gramme be­gan 10 years later. In the vir­tual re­al­ity ( VR) ex­pe­ri­ence area, peo­ple can wear VR glasses and ob­serve the moon from the per­spec­tive of a lu­nar probe.

When a space­craft en­ters or­bit, peo­ple and ob­jects be­come weight­less. How do astro­nauts func­tion and ful­fill their tasks in this kind of en­vi­ron­ment? The “Work­ing in Space” ex­hibit sim­u­lates these con­di­tions. Peo­ple can lie on a cart, with their feet off the ground. They have to slide their chairs around and op­er­ate equip­ment over­head. This novel ex­pe­ri­ence helps peo­ple un­der­stand the vast uni­verse bet­ter and peo­ple of­ten have a greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion for sci­en­tists after ex­pe­ri­enc­ing these kinds of ex­hibits.

There are also won­ders deep in the sea. There is an ex­hibit in “Ex­pand­ing Realms” that is about the Jiao­long manned sub­mersible, which was de­signed and de­vel­oped by China from top to bot­tom. In June, 2012, it set a record by div­ing a depth of 7,062 m in the Mar­i­ana Trench. This is in line with the depth that its global peers have achieved. The ex­hibit sim­u­lates Jiao­long's sub­mer­sion meth­ods and the pres­sure of the deep sea.

Other high­lighted ex­hibits in­clude: the “Shen­hai Yong­shi” manned sub­mersible, the deep-sea min­ing of com­bustible ice, the deep­wa­ter semi-sub­mersible drilling unit HYSY-981, and the Xue­long po­lar re­search ves­sel and ice breaker.

Ex­plor­ing the Un­known

An armil­lary sphere is an astro­nom­i­cal ob­ser­va­tion in­stru­ment cre­ated by an­cient Chi­nese, based on the the­ory of spher­i­cal heav­ens. It was later sim­pli­fied by Guo Shou­jing ( 1231– 1316, an an­cient as­tronomer) of the Yuan Dy­nasty ( 1271– 1368).

Chi­nese sci­en­tists have now cre­ated the “Eye of Heaven” Five-hun­dred-me­tre Aper­ture Spher­i­cal ra­dio Tele­scope (FAST) to ex­plore the heav­ens, which is also part of the ex­hi­bi­tion. FAST is the world’s largest spher­i­cal ra­dio tele­scope. Pro­posed by Nan Ren­dong (1945–2017, a Chi­nese as­tronomer) in 1994, it was con­structed un­der the lead­er­ship of the Chi­nese Acad­emy of Sciences’ (CAS) Na­tional Astro­nom­i­cal Ob­ser­va­tory over the course of 22 years. It cov­ers an area equiv­a­lent to 30 soc­cer fields, was con­structed in a nat­u­ral de­pres­sion in the south of Guizhou Prov­ince and put into use on Septem­ber 25, 2016. The “Eye of Heaven” be­came the largest and most sen­si­tive sin­gleaper­ture ra­dio tele­scope glob­ally and was cre­ated with wholly in­de­pen­dent Chi­nese in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty. A pleas­ant melody makes its way into one’s ears at the ex­hibit. It was pro­duced by var­i­ous mu­si­cal in­stru­ments play­ing elec­tro­mag­netic sig­nals from the uni­verse that the “Eye of Heaven” has de­tected.

Hu­man be­ings have also taken an in­ter­est in the mys­ter­ies of the mi­croworld since an­cient times and have sought to find and un­der­stand the small­est par­ti­cles of the world. What is the world made of? How can peo­ple de­tect un­known par­ti­cles? These ques­tions are be­ing ex­plored and re­solved by mod­ern science. Elec­tron­positron col­lid­ers are im­por­tant tools in this work. High-en­ergy par­ti­cles and tar­get par­ti­cles col­lide and pro­duce var­i­ous re­ac­tions. Sci­en­tists study the prop­er­ties of these re­ac­tions and try to de­tect new par­ti­cles and other phe­nom­ena. With the com­ple­tion and ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tion of an elec­tron­positron col­lider, China has reg­is­tered a range of world-lead­ing re­search out­comes in high-en­ergy physics.

Science En­hanc­ing Liveli­hood

Science un­der­pins the very sur­vival and pros­per­ity of hu­man so­ci­ety.

A case in point is Chi­nese char­ac­ters, which are said to have been in­vented by Cangjie, his­to­ri­og­ra­pher of the Yel­low Em­peror. As the story goes, he col­lected, sorted out and utilised char­ac­ters that were used by peo­ple in the past, con­tribut­ing to the progress of Chi­nese civil­i­sa­tion.

The art of print­ing, as one of the “Four Great In­ven­tions” of an­cient China, has re­shaped world civil­i­sa­tion and hu­man cul­ture. Dur­ing the North­ern Song Dy­nasty pe­riod (AD 960–1127), Chi­nese peo­ple in­vented mov­able-type print­ing, which was an im­por­tant tech­nol­ogy that cre­ated a rev­o­lu­tion in the world.

To­day, laser pho­to­type­set­ting is widely used in the type­set­ting of Chi­nese char­ac­ters. At least five times more ef­fi­cient than con­ven­tional type­set­ting, it is of great sig­nif­i­cance to the mod­erni­sa­tion of China’s press and publi­ca­tions.

The “Science En­hanc­ing Liveli­hood” ex­hi­bi­tion area show­cases sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal re­sults closely re­lated to peo­ple’s lives, such as hy­brid rice, the Yang­shan Port, South-to-north Wa­ter Di­ver­sion Project, West-east Gas Pipe­line Project, artemisinin, re­motely pi­loted ve­hi­cles, Wise In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy of 120 ( WIT120, smart tech­nol­ogy based on deep learn­ing), AI chips and Go-play­ing AI.

Grain out­put in China con­tin­ues to set new world records. On Novem­ber 15, 2017, the “Su­per Rice” cul­ti­vated by Yuan Long­ping (a hy­brid rice ex­pert born in 1930) passed crop yield in­spec­tion with an av­er­age yield of 1,149 kilo­grammes per mu (15 mu equals one hectare), cur­rently the high­est record of rice yield per unit in the world.

Sweet worm­wood has been used as a rem­edy in Chi­nese medicine for more than 2,000 years, as ev­i­denced by the ear­li­est records in a silk man­u­script un­earthed in the Han Tombs at Mawang­dui. The use of sweet worm­wood to cure malaria can be traced back to a med­i­cal book writ­ten by Ge Hong (284–364, a med­i­cal ex­pert). In­spired by this book, Tu Youyou (a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal chemist born in 1930) founded a creative method of ex­tract­ing artemisinin. The achieve­ment brought her the hon­our of the 2015 No­bel Prize in Phys­i­ol­ogy or Medicine and the Na­tional Science and Tech­nol­ogy Award in 2016.

In July, 2017, China’s State Coun­cil is­sued the New- gen­er­a­tion Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence De­vel­op­ment Plan, which of­fers an over­all plan on the de­vel­op­ment of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence. In re­cent years, China has come a long way in the AI in­dus­try, and its AI chips have out­per­formed those of other coun­tries. The it­er­a­tive com­pu­ta­tion of cloud com­put­ing has gone well and been very strong, along with smart pay, WIT120, in­tel­li­gent driv­ing, voice recog­ni­tion and fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nolo­gies, which con­tinue to im­prove.

As the four ex­hi­bi­tion ar­eas demon­strate, China has in­creas­ingly be­come a pace­set­ter in sci­en­tific in­no­va­tion. Var­i­ous sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal achieve­ments made dur­ing the past 40 years have ben­e­fited peo­ple’s lives and var­i­ous fields.

These achieve­ments should be at­trib­uted to sci­en­tific and tech­ni­cal per­son­nel. That is why the “Pay­ing Trib­ute to Sci-tech Work­ers” subex­hi­bi­tion is pre­sented to hon­our their strong ded­i­ca­tion.

The in­tent of the or­gan­iser is to show­case 40 achieve­ments over the course of 40 years to help peo­ple learn more about science and tech­nol­ogy. Young peo­ple are also ex­pected to de­velop an in­ter­est in sci-tech. Many will pur­sue ca­reers in this field. The ex­hi­bi­tion will also con­trib­ute to sci-tech work­ers gain­ing ex­ten­sive sup­port.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will also reach out to 4–6 science and tech­nol­ogy mu­se­ums na­tion­wide in the com­ing two years and form a com­pre­hen­sive tour.

In­no­va­tion De­ter­min­ing the Fu­ture Ex­hi­bi­tion at the China Science and Tech­nol­ogy Museum

Aero­space achieve­ments

A child tries a Jiao­long sim­u­la­tion.

Visi­tors learn more about the Bei­dou nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.