China names asteroids to immortalize heroes of science

16:44, May 04, 2011      

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Last year, China named four untitled asteroids after four domestic scientists who had won the prize of State Science and Technology Top Awards and the ceremony was held in Beijing on May 3 of this year.

"It is a kind of praise and honor to winners of China's State Science and Technology Top Awards to name asteroids with the names of award-winners. And it will definitely encourage scientists to innovate and to make new contributions to the country," said Wu Gang, China's Minister of Science and Technology, who attended the ceremony on Tuesday.

The four Chinese scientists whose names were attached to the asteroids are Huang Kun, Wu Mengchao, Li Zhensheng and Min Enze.

Wu Mengchao said it is encouragement as well as a kind of urging. "It's a great honor for us since we are in our eighties and nineties, and we do not deserve the stars on our heads if we don't have our feet on the ground and do innovation."

Since the State Science and Technology Top Awards of China were set up in 1999, a total of 18 Chinese scientists have won the prize. And before Wu and the three others who got asteroids named after them, eight of the 18 get the honor, including Wu Wenjun, Yuan Longping, Wang Xuan, Jin Yilian, Liu Dongsheng, Wang Yongzhi, Ye Duzheng and Gu Chaohao.

Huang Kun, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a world-renowned physicist, made many founding contributions to the field of solid-state physics for China. The International Minor Planet Center (IMPC) announced that the No. 48636 asteroid was named after Huang forever on July 26, 2010. Huang Kun won the State Science and Technology Top Awards in 2001 and died in 2005.

Wu Mengchao, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a well-known expert on hepatobiliary surgery, is generally considered as the "Father of Chinese Hepatobiliary Surgery." IMPC announced that the No. 17606 asteroid was named after Wu forever on July 26, 2010. Wu won the State Science and Technology Top Awards in 2005.

Li Zhensheng, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is a famous expert on wheat breeding. He has developed fine strains of wheat through distant hybridization and contributed to China's food security. IMPC announced that the No. 90825 asteroid was named after Li forever on July 26, 2010. Li won the State Science and Technology Top Awards in 2006.

Min Enze, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, is considered the founder of the catalyst in the refinery. In recent years, he has managed to develop several catalysts and catalytic devices, all of which have found applications in industry. IMPC announced that the No. 30991asteroid was named after him forever on July 26, 2010. He won the State Science and Technology Top Awards in 2007.

By Wang Hanlu, People's Daily Online

 
 
     
 
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(Editor:张心意)

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