China's pioneer nuclear, space scientist honored

Updated: 2007-12-11 07:15

BEIJING -- Qian Xuesen, China's leading pioneer in nuclear and space science, was hailed for his contributions to the development of China's nuclear and space industries at a seminar in his honor on Monday.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao chats with the 96-year-old Qian Xuesen, China's leading pioneer in nuclear and space science in Qian's home August 5, 2007. [Xinhua]

The workshop, with the theme "Learning from Qian's example in his innovative thought in research and fostering leading scientists in science and technology", marked his 96th birthday, to fall on Tuesday.

Delegates honored his outstanding contribution in fostering students, and called for carrying forward his spirit of patriotism.

Qian last week said that fostering leading scientists was a "primary issue" for the nation's future and should be "properly handled", said his secretary and academic assistant, Tu Yuanji.

Tu told the seminar that Qian had a "fairly good" health, and most of the past year he had stayed at home, "reading something every day while leading a peaceful life".

"The problem that most concerns him is that China is in great need of leading scientific personnel," Tu said.

Premier Wen Jiabao visited Qian at his home in July 2005 and August this year, and they discussed proposals on fostering leading scientists.

Qian told Wen, "The successful handling of the relationship between science and art will help the Chinese to be innovative and to be more competitive than other nations."

Qian, a member of both the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, graduated from Shanghai Communications University in 1934.

In 1935, he went to study in the aviation department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later studied aviation engineering at the California Institute of Technology. In 1939, he received a doctorate in aviation and mathematics.

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