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World's stargazers cluster in Beijing for conference

Updated: 2012-08-21 23:53
By Cheng Guangjin ( China Daily)

An increasing number of science and technology international conferences are being held in China, as the country’s scientific research and innovation capabilities and influence continue to grow.

World's stargazers cluster in Beijing for conference

Vice-President Xi Jinping returns glasses dropped by Robert Williams, the president of the International Astronomical Union, at the union’s general assembly in Beijing on Tuesday. [Photo by Feng Yongbin / China Daily ]

The latest example is the 28th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, which is being held in Beijing from Monday to Aug 31. This is the first time China has hosted the triennial event since joining the organization in 1935.

"Over the past 30 years, since China adopted the reform and opening-up policies, it has not only opened its door for economic development, but also for exchanges in science and technology," Vice-President Xi Jinping said at the inaugural ceremony of the IAU meeting on Tuesday.

Recently, China has hosted a series of prominent science and technology events, including the 24th International Congress of Mathematicians in 2002, which was held in Beijing, and the first session of the World Engineers Conference in 2004 in Shanghai.

Since 1922, the IAU General Assembly has been the most important conference for the international astronomy community.

"The events have helped China’s scientific and technological circles expand their international perspectives, and helped international scientific and technological circles deepen their understanding and knowledge about China," Xi said.

"The events also promote exchange and cooperation between Chinese and international scientific and technological circles, and create conditions for China to contribute to the development of science and technology in the world," Xi said.

"Science goes beyond national borders," Xi said, calling for more pragmatic international cooperation to develop the science and technology field.

Astronomers from around the world will discuss the most recent discoveries about the universe at the IAU meeting.

"The contributions of Chinese astronomy to human knowledge and our understanding of the cosmos have been of historical significance, from the earliest to modern times," said IAU President Robert Williams.

"The participants will have an opportunity to experience the wide range of astronomical activities now taking place in China that include new projects, facilities, and institutes, " Williams said.

The International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics began a day earlier than the IAU conference and will continue until Friday in Beijing.

The event has attracted 1,500 industry representatives from 66 countries, Xinhua News Agency reported.

"The congress is a milestone for China’s development in the field," Hu Haiyan, president of the Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, the chief sponsor of the congress, told Xinhua.

China has made constant advancements in terms of the quality of mechanical research in recent years, using the breakthroughs to boost economic development, Hu said. He cited the role of mechanical engineers in ensuring the success of the Three Gorges project, as well as the country’s manned space missions and lunar exploration program.