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Minor planets named after top Chinese scientists

(Xinhua)

08:36, June 06, 2012

BEIJING, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Five minor planets have been named after top Chinese scientists with the approval of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), according to a statement released Monday after a certificate awarding ceremony in Beijing.

"It's a high-level recognition as well as a huge encouragement for us to receive this great honor. Only by devoting ourselves to the frontiers of science can we live up to the planets above," said Sun Jiadong, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and a pioneer in artificial satellite and deep space exploration technology, at the ceremony.

Minor Planet No. 148081 was named after Sun, according to a communique from the Minor Planet Center (MPC) under the IAU.

Minor Planet No. 175718 was named after Wu Zhengyi, a botanist and academician of the CAS. Wu has made great achievements in plant taxonomy, floristics and the study on plant resources in China.

Minor Planet No. 18593 was named after CAS academician Wang Zhongcheng. A renowned expert in micro-neurosurgery technology, Wang has developed new methods for treating tumors in the brain stem and spinal cord.

Minor Planet No. 28468 was named after Shi Changxu, a leading scientist in researching and developing new materials such as super alloy and alloy steel. Shi is an academician of both the CAS and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Lastly, Minor Planet No. 43259 was named after Wang Zhenyi, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He developed creative clinical treatments for leukemia, especially the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia by all-trans retinoic acid.

All five scientists previously won the State Top Scientific and Technological Award, the country's top science prize, for their outstanding contributions to scientific and technological innovation.

The five minor planets were discovered between 1997 and 2000 by the Beijing Schmidt CCD Asteroid Program at the Xinglong observation station in northern China.

According to international conventions, discoverers of minor planets who receive confirmation from the MPC have the right to name the new planets.

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