Top 10 Sci-tech Achievements in China in 2021
The rover Zhurong. (PHOTO: The China National Space Administration)
1. Scientists from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) proposed de novo domestication of wild allotetraploid rice. Research results show the possibility that this rice can be developed into a new staple cereal to strengthen world food security.
2. With the quantum computer prototypes "Jiuzhang 2.0" and "Zuchongzhi 2.1" successfully developed in 2021, China achieved a quantum computational advantage in two mainstream technical routes: one via photonics quantum computing technology and the other via superconducting quantum computing technology.
3. After more than nine months, Tianwen -1, China's first Mars probe landed on the red planet and pictures captured by the rover Zhurong were released. This made China the second country to land on Mars, which was also a big leap forward in China's space exploration program.
4. The Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO) in Sichuan province, has detected photons with an energy level of more than one PeV in the Milky Way, one with a record-breaking 1.4 PeV, which is the highest energy photon ever observed. These findings changed people’s traditional understanding of the Milky Way.
5. The Shenzhou series spacecraft successfully sent Chinese astronauts to the country’s Tiangong space station on two occasions, for a three months and half a year stay respectively. This means China’s manned spaceflights have passed the testing phase.
The Baihetan hydropower station. (PHOTO: XINHUA)
6. The Baihetan hydropower station, the world’s largest hydropower station under construction, began operation in June 2021. With a total installed capacity of 16 million kW, the Baihetan hydropower station is second in capacity to the Three Gorges hydropower station. All 16 units of the station were domestically produced.
7. A series of policies on science and technology institutional reforms were carried out in 2021, which is also the first year of executing the 14th Five-Year Plan. Research funding management, the evaluation system of sci-tech achievements, a new exploration mechanism for strategic projects, and setting up more projects for young scientists were all included.
8. Researchers from the Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, under CAS, achieved a world first by successfully synthesizing starch from carbon dioxide artificially. The researchers designed a new approach of starch synthesis with only 11 core reactions to convert carbon dioxide into starch in the laboratory.
9. A research group led by Prof. Chen Xiuxiong from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), solved various problems about constant scalar curvature K?hler metrics on a compact K?hler manifold. The problems remained one of the key issues for more than 60 years in the mathematics field.
10. The neutralizing monoclonal antibody combination therapy against COVID-19, BRII -196/BRII-198, was approved in China, making it the first of its kind in the country. Trial data found that the therapy could reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in high-risk patients by around 80 percent.