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`Little' scientists pitch best innovations
By Li Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-23 01:30

Innovation is the soul of a nation's advancement. And, so it is for the country's youngsters, too.

Primary and middle school students in Beijing have shown increasing interest in science innovation, and the upcoming 24th Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition will be a grand gathering for little scientists to strut their stuff.

About 355,000 youngsters in Beijing have participated in the annual preliminary competition, and the finals will be held between March 25 and 28 this year.

More than 160 candidates will demonstrate their works at the finals, with a 45-member review committee -- comprising domestic and overseas scientists and experts -- to choose the winners, according to the organizers.

The competition includes studies of 13 fields, such as engineering, zoology, space, environment and social sciences.

And the achievements that participants have brought to the competition covers a range of topics -- from ordinary life to space exploration.

For instance, Yang Guang, a 16-year-old student of a middle school affiliated with Tsinghua University, invented a water-saving flush toilet that uses air pressure.

Ouyang Sijie, a senior at Zhongguancun Middle School, tried to discover how the surface condition of the moon impacts the operation of a lunar survey probe.

Zhou Yan, vice-director of the municipal Intellectual Property Bureau, said the competition highlights the protection of intellectual property.

She said many inventors participating in previous competitions have obtained patents, and this time, her bureau will set up consultations for the first time to teach students basic knowledge about property rights and patent rules.

"There are already some works that meet the requirements," said Zhou, "My bureau will help their owners."

Yang Weiguang, vice-director of the Beijing Science and Technology Commission, said the youngsters are willing to think more of innovation rather than merely cramming knowledge into their heads.

"The increasing number of participants is a good evidence," said Yang, adding this year's 110,000 more students give a sign of optimism.

The abilities of students has aroused the attention of overseas educators and institutions, said Yang.

Delegations from Taiwan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Italy will attend the finals, and for the first time, three international researchers were invited to be on the review committee.

Students from New Zealand and Republic of Korea will demonstrate their inventions at the finals.

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