Author: FM Liew
Date: 02-14-06 23:44
And it's about time..
The four great inventions - papermaking, printing, gunpowder and compass - were achievements in ancient China. Are there new "four great inventions" in contemporary China? Experts have recently put forward their "four new great inventions", wishing genuine new "four great inventions" can come into being soon.
Wu's Method by Wu Wenjun
Wu's Method is selected because it infuses vigor into traditional Chinese mathematics.
Wu Wenjun is the creator of Wu's Method, a computerized method for geometrical theorem proving. He inherits and carries forward the traditions of China's ancient mathematics, and turns to studies of mechanical proof of geometrical theorems. His study has completely changed look of the field.
Wu's method has revived "traditional Chinese mathematic thoughtways". Western mathematics has gained upper hand since Newton invented calculous, and the traditional Chinese mathematics has been marginalized. Inspired by ancient Chinese mathematics, by linking up theories of computer, Wu invented "Wu's Method".
Comment: Wu's Method has not come up with any major fruits though it is a ground-breaking method. A mathematic method ought to be of practical use.
Hybrid rice by Yuan Longping
Yuan's hybrid rice is selected because it is hailed as "the second green revolution" and helps solve the global food problems.
Hybrid paddy rice is named "oriental magic rice" in the West. Yuan's achievement not only solves the food problem for Chinese people, but is regarded as a magic weapon to solve the global food problems in next century. The hybrid rice is hailed as the fifth great invention of China and the "second green revolution".
Yuan Longping's hybrid rice is innovation on the shoulders of forerunners, because foreign scientists had conducted researches of hybrid wheat before. Yet Yuan's contribution to hybrid rice is indisputable.
Synthesized crystalline bovine insulin, a collective work
Synthesized crystalline bovine insulin is selected because it is the first time that human have synthesized living body.
Chinese scientists succeeded in synthesizing crystalline bovine insulin on Sept 17, 1965, signifying a crucial step in the course of understanding life and exploring life's secrets.
This is the first time that zoetic protein has been synthesized by human in history. In the past it is a universal belief that man can by no means synthesize living body.
Comment: Other countries have carried out similar researches and synthesized a lot of living materials. China has lost the lead in this regard.
Land facies oil-forming theory by Li Siguang
The land facies oil-forming theory is selected because it brings "oil deficiency" in China to an end.
The land facies oil-forming theory plays a crucial role in construction of China's Daqing, Dagang and Shengli oilfields.
Before the theory was created, people believed that big oil fields can only be formed in sea facies stratum. This is the reason why westerners thought China was oil deficient.
Chinese scientists set forth the theory that big oil fields can be formed in land facies stratum if conditions are appropriate. The breakthrough in fundamental theory enabled Chinese people to discover the oil and gas reserves beneath their feet.
Comment: Compared with sea facies oil-forming, the theory contributes much less to utilization of oil because great majority of oil fields in the world are still sea facies strata.
Commentator: Wang Yusheng, curator of China Science and Technology Museum, an expert on history of science and technology.