Transgenic Crops Harvested
China’s Agricultural Crop Gene Resources and Associated Genetic Improvement, a key national project, has in the past 5 years attracted the participation of some 100 visiting research fellows from the renowned domestic research institutes, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University, Tsinghua University, and China Agriculture University. Researchers have screened out the world’s first core species of wheat, rice, and soybean, and published 6 monographs such as the Improvement of China’s Wheat Species and Associated Family Analysis, and over 800 papers (more than 100 have been collected by the SCI). The project produced 63 international cooperation initiatives, more than 100 new species, 148 postgraduates, and 41 patent grants.
With the strong support of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Finance, the State Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Beijing Municipal Authorities, the project was officially established in March 2000, becoming one of 10 national megascience projects defined by the 9th Five-year Plan. Under an operating mechanism “opening, mobility, competition, and cooperation”, the project has become a great attraction to high caliber talents both at home and abroad. It has allured the participation of internationally renowned 5-member research team headed by LI Zhikang at the International Rice Institute, and other famous scientists such as LIN Chentao and MAO Long in the United States. Up to date, the project has attracted 9 scientists to sit in class one posts and 13 scientists in class II posts at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Meanwhile, the project has procured 468 sets of highly sophisticated instruments or equipment, including gene testing instrument, biochip scanner, automatic protein sequencing machine, which provides powerful technical means for research activities. The lab, equipped with internationally advanced facilities, has attracted the involvement of overseas Chinese students and domestic excellences in the project.
In recent years, the project has also been contracted to other special projects initiated by the national 973 program, the national 863 program, national key projects program, and national natural science foundation’s projects. Those efforts have remarkably raised China’s research level in molecular identification of crop genetic resources, genetic cloning, and genetic transfer, and improved the research capability of the crop breeding contingent. The project makes China a nation in the world possessing relatively more proprietary molecular marks, in terms of genetic diversity and core species. Thanks to the same efforts, China also becomes a nation that has the commercialized production of transgenic disease resistant rice and cotton.
China in World Top Ten Physics Progresses
The American Physical Society recently unveiled the top ten international progresses in the field of physics for 2004. A Chinese paper titled “five-photon entanglement and open-destination teleportation”, authored by a research team headed by Prof. PAN Jianwei, is one of them. The event makes the first instance that a Chinese domestic research finding becomes part of the top ranking international progresses in physics.
Prof. PAN Jianwei and his peers YANG Tao and ZHAO Zhi, realized for the first time in the world the preparation and manipulation of 5-photon entanglement, an extremely difficult experiment that has puzzled the world scientific community for a long time. They created, using 5-photon entanglement, a noveler teleportation, or open-destination teleportation. In the experiment, an unknown quantum state of a single particle is teleported onto a superstition of N particles; at a later stage, this teleported state can be read out at any of the N particles, by a projection measurement on the remaining particles.
The above mentioned finding has attracted great attention of international peers. The journal Nature made the following comments: “Although realization of five-photon entanglement and open-destination teleportation is very difficult, Prof. Pan Jianwei and his colleagues from USTC? have done? this job. Their experimental methods will have? significant application in quantum computation and network quantum communication.”
After published in the internationally renowned journal Nature on July 1, 2004, the finding was also reported by both the American Physical Society and the European Physical Society, marking it “a great breakthrough in the experimental demonstration of multi-photon entanglement and will greatly promote experimental exploration of quantum error correction and network quantum information processing”.
FY-IIC Fully Functioned
The FY-IIC weather satellite, blast off on October 19,2004, has sent back to the earth station a complete infrared vapor disk image, indicating the full-fledged image acquisition capability of the five onboard channels. At 10:45, November 20, 2004, the National Meteorological Satellite Center sent a line of commands to the satellite, making it open the infrared and water vapor channels. At 11:00, the three infrared and one water vapor channels were opened at same time. A command and data receiving station in Dongbeiwang, Beijing relayed the real time images received from the onboard channels to an operation control unit of the National Meteorological Satellite Center. On 11:25, the Center rolled out a complete infrared vapor disk.
The first infrared vapor disk image, presenting a clear view with distinctly defined layers, has met the dynamic requirements, with a noticeable improvement of the stray light, when compared with the preceding experimental satellite. According to a briefing, the FY-IIC weather satellite is added with a new medium wave infrared channel at 3.5-4 microns, extremely desirable for high temperature heat source watch and cloud identification. Seldom affected by water vapors in the atmosphere, the new instrument, working together with the infrared thermal channel, can achieve an enhanced accuracy for ground surface temperature. The ground station can improve the watch of forest and pasture fires, using the channel’s sensitivity to high temperature targets. With a function to tell fogs from clouds and rains, the new channel is helpful for fog watch. The two onboard infrared thermal channels can be used to understand the thermal features of different ground surfaces, including land, sea and clouds, and to acquire the data for sea surface temperature and cloud tail winds calculation, and for clouds analysis and processing as well.
China’s Anti-terrorism Robot
Thanks to their more than 4 years’ painstaking efforts, Prof. YANG Ruqing and others at the Institute of Robots, a part of the Shanghai Jiaotong University, recently made the debut of a novel anti-terrorism robot named Super-D. With a length of 1.7m, width 0.7m, height 1.2m, and weight 200 kg, the robot is able to move at a speed of 40 meters a minute, capable for climbing up steps or slopes at a 40 degree tilting angle.
The robot, looking more like a small cart with six wheels, moves and turns with the help of the underneath 4 wheels. The 2 front wheels, raised a bit higher than the ground surface, take care of climbing up. The front part of the chassis locates a core component: mechanic hand. The hand, through single in number, is able to perform sophisticated actions. It stretches, retreats, twists, and rotates under the remote control.
The robot has three eyes, or three low lux CCD lens. The first eye, located in the front end of the arm, guides the operation and tilting angles of the arm. The second eye, with a 6-X zooming capability, works as a monitor. The third eye, in black-and-white mode and installed at the chassis, watches while walking.
When destroying explosives in a remotely controlled manner, a special device can be installed on the robot’s arm. To make the mission safer, the robot can also be equipped with a simple mechanic hand carrying an explosive tank to grasp and drop the explosives, also under the remote control of an engineer. A shovel bucket, capable for raising a weight of 30kg, can be added in the front of the robot to deliver hazardous matters to a remote site.
Shenteng 6800 Supercomputer Harvested
According to a briefing issued by the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ network center, as of August 2004, the Shenteng 6800 supercomputer, developed by the Legend Group, has found some 200 successful applications in weather and climate forecasting, oil prospecting simulation, space and aviation designs, biomedical studies, industrial design simulations, and basic studies. The applications have produced numerous findings and created remarkable economic and social benefits.
The supercomputer is able to provide round-clock services: 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. From putting into official operation till today, the supercomputer has been running for some 4,540 hours on a consecutive basis, providing computation services for over a hundred clients. The system has recorded an actual occupation rate as high as 91%, with an average efficiency between 65%-80%.
The supercomputing system has rendered outstanding services for many important projects, including the dual satellite space probing, seismological prediction, sophisticated streaming numerical simulation, oil reserve simulation, high accuracy weather forecast, SARS virus analysis, and network services. In the field of weather forecast, the Shenteng 6800 system contributed its due to the establishment of the world’s first 6-satellite based space probe system. The new system also provides sophisticated streaming numerical simulations for the space and aviation industry, extending applications to space vehicle, automobile, and engine design. The supercomputing system also made its mark in the successful simulation of oil reserves for the Shengli Oilfield and the Daqing Oilfield. It even performed a successful simulation for the movement of SARS viruses at the Department of Chemistry, Peking University.
Online Distance Learning System
A multimedia real time distance learning system recently applauded for the success at the Xi’an Jiaotong University. The new system, designed to relay learning information between the satellite and the ground online system, constitutes the first proprietary multimedia real time distance learning platform in China.
Designed to interconnect with more than 1,600 learning stations through some 40 network bands, the new system enables users to smoothly receive clear and consecutive streams of lecture scenes, making interactive communications between teachers and students in different audio and video modes possible. While broadcasting a live lecturing scene or a textbook content, the system also allows automatic recording of lectures and conversion into media streams for learning resources sharing, especially for on-demand retrieving of the programs. The new system wipes out the spatial and temporal restrictions imposed by traditional classroom learning, offering a desirable solution to the live broadcasting of lecturing scenes in different locations. The new system, through the enhanced utilization of quality learning resources, secures a fundamental solution to the serious shortage of teaching resources in vast rural and remote areas. The system has been successfully tested and demonstrated since February 2003 over some 20 areas, including Beijing, Shaan’xi, Xinjiang and Shanxi.
Breakthroughs in Gallium Nitride Laser Device
A project named “gallium nitride based laser device”, jointly undertaken by the Institute of Semiconductor, a part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Zhongke Photoelectric Co. Ltd., recently produced a prototype for the proprietary gallium nitride based laser device. As a key project under the mainframe of “photoelectric materials and components”, a part of the National 863 Program, the innovative laser device adds a multiple quanta well gaining structure over the sapphire base, producing a wavelength of 410nm，a stripe width 5μm，a stripe length 800μm，and a valve value 50KA/cm2.
In the 3-year experiment, researchers made more than a thousand MOCVD material growing experiments, and staged over a hundred experiments in developing the techniques to manufacture the components. They worked out solutions to a number of key technical issues, including material growth, component making techniques, and laser device testing techniques. The tireless efforts have resulted in a reduction of background electron concentration of gallium nitride materials to less than 5×1016/cm3, and migration rate under indoor temperature to 850cm2/VS, both reached an internationally advanced level. Researchers also realized the crystal interface smoothness and stress control of the AlGaN/GaN, and obtained a laser chamber surface with a roughness less than 1nm. To meet the requirements for laser device testing, researchers overcame technical difficulties by working out a driving technique suitable for the device.
Longest Rock Core Obtained
Kezuan Well I, a drilling structure created by the China Continental Scientific Drilling Project in Donghai, Jiangsu Province, has rolled out a 4.025-meter long rock core from a depth of 4644 meters at the Jiangsu-Shandong super high pressure metamorphic zone. The gneiss core rod, 95mm diameter, with an even texture and smooth external surface, makes the world’s longest and most complete rock core drilled out from a super high pressure metamorphic zone.
With a nickname of “telescope” for exploring the inside secret of the earth, the Kezuan I Well is China’s first 5000-m high tech deep well installed at the Dabie-Jiangsu-Shandong high pressure metamorphic zone, a typical site of global geoscientific importance. The deep drilling produces rock cores, liquid and gas samples and on-site data for multidisciplinary studies, further revealing the deep matter compositions and structures of continental fold belts. As a permanent underground lab to study deep matters, the Well also provides basic data for monitoring geological movements in modern times, exploring the living environment of microbes in deep underground fluids and extreme conditions.
Space Seedlings Grown on Earth
Not long ago, the Lanzhou Institute of Space Technology and Physics handed to the Department of Forestry, a part of the Gansu Provincial Government, the tree seedlings that carried back from space by China’s 20th retrievable satellite chamber. The event marks the first instance using space bred seedlings to develop drought resistant tree species for the ecological reconstruction in China’s west section. In addition to their benefits to China’s forestry industry, the tree seedlings can be material evidences for turning out more and better space bred tree species. Restricted by the long growth cycle of ecological forests, China has so far confined its space tree breeding activities to a limited number of species, including banana and lichee.
The tree seedlings brought back by China’s 20th retrievable satellite chamber have covered 6 varieties, including lacebark pine, Huashan pine, arborvitae, acacia, sea buckthorn and caragana microphylla. All those tree seedlings were bred up in space environment, bathed in cosmic radiation, microgravity, high vacuum, and weak magnetic fields. The space conditions that cannot be simulated on earth have created the possibility to induce the genetic mutation of tree seeds.
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