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Academic: China cannot miss next scientific revolution

(Guangming Daily)

15:02, September 22, 2011

Edited and Translated by Yao Chun, People's Daily Online

At the 13th Annual Meeting of the China Association for Science and Technology, which kicked off today, Bai Chunli, the president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the world is on the eve of a sixth revolution in science and technology, and China cannot afford to miss it.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, early indications of revolutionary breakthroughs have surfaced in some important scientific fields.

"Due to the strong demand stemming from the modernization process as well as breakthroughs and innovations in knowledge and technological systems, the new scientific and technological revolution will start a development trend that makes breakthroughs at multiple points," Bai said.

Driven by external technological change and major internal issues or challenges, the research on scientific issues contains the seeds of future breakthroughs.

For example, research on the structure of matter can bring mankind into a new era in which we can control atoms, molecule and even electrons. Major breakthroughs may be achieved in the study of dark matter, dark energy as well as antimatter in the 21st century that will dramatically change the human perception of the cosmos and possibly subvert our understanding about the outside world.

"China has missed the first four revolutions in science and technology. In the second half of the 20th century, China seized the opportunity of the fifth revolution in science and technology, and China's industrialization and economic growth has flourished because of this," Bai said.

However, in the fifth revolution in science and technology China was just an unsuccessful follower. Nevertheless, the gains China made in the fifth scientific revolution, which consisted of innovation in information technology, have laid the foundation for the sixth revolution in science and technology, Bai said.

"[The sixth revolution] may open a new horizon in life and physical sciences as well as interdisciplinary study," Bai said.

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