Chemist and bioengineer honored
China has two winners of the annual First Prize of the State Natural Science Award for 2017, a testimony to the nation’s growing research capabilities in fundamental science, experts said on Jan 8. This year’s winners are chemist Tang Benzhong and bioengineer Li Jiayang. It is the first time in 12 years that China has two winners within a single year of the nation’s highest honor for major scientific breakthroughs in fundamental research. The last time was in 2006, according to data from the Office of State Science and Technology Awards. Tang discovered aggregation-induced emission— a chemical phenomenon in which a special type of luminous agent becomes brighter the more it groups together. The discovery revolutionized luminescent biomarkers for material science, medicine, cancer diagnosis, electronics and other fields. Li discovered the molecular mechanism that decides the quality and yield of rice, which allowed scientists to create an ideal rice crop that is nutritious and tasty and produces a high yield.