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Chief scientist for FAST project dies at 72

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-09-17 08:56
Chief scientist for FAST project dies at 72

File photo of Nan Rendong. [Photo from the National Astronomical Observation]

Nan Rendong, chief scientist for the world's largest radio telescope, died of lung cancer on Friday night at 72.

Nan was the initiator and founder of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope project, which helps humans to explore the universe and search for extraterrestrial civilizations.

He began work on the project in 1994 and was responsible for choosing its location, conducting feasibility studies, creating preliminary designs while determining its scientific goals and guiding research and tests on its key technologies. Most core members of the project are his students.

Before the telescope started operation in Sept 2016, Nan was already diagnosed with lung cancer and his vocal cords were hurt during surgery. Despite the illness, he still flew about 2,000 kilometers to southwest China's Guizhou province from Beijing to witness the launch of the project he worked on for 22 years.

The National Astronomical Observation under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which built the telescope, said in an obituary that according to Nan's wills, the funeral will be simple and no memorial service will be held. 

Chief scientist for FAST project dies at 72

This photo, taken on Sept 24, 2016, shows the 500-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope in Pingtang county, southwest China's Guizhou province. [Photo/Xinhua]

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