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Scientists honoured at State awards
By Cui Ning (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-28 23:34

Science programmes crucial to the development of the country's medicine, industry, agriculture, and transportation received official recognition yesterday at the State Science and Technology Awards.

President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other central government leaders turned out to honour 300 cutting edge projects at the ceremony in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao meet the scientists in the Great Hall of the People March 28, 2005. [Xinhua]
Among those innovations being celebrated was a new digital positioning system partly developed by the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The system, which is more accurate than conventional radar, has been adopted by Air China and other major airlines.

Chief scientist on the project Zhang Jun said: "It's such an honour and exciting for me to know that, after 10 years of effort, it has paid off both in terms of the system's commercial application and in recognition from the central government and the general public."

The invention is key in making the increasingly busy skies safer for air traffic, Zhang's colleague, Jiang Zhiqiang, added.

Speaking at the ceremony, Premier Wen Jiabao extended his congratulations to the winning scientists and encouraged all China's inventors, researchers and developers to follow their examples.

He also called on scientists to focus their sights on progressing technologies to solve the problems of development.

This included the need to use energy resources more efficiently, reverse the effects of pollution and protect the existing environment.

Scientific advances could provide the basis for development which caters to the needs of the economy, society and nature, Wen said.

"Talent is the cornerstone of scientific progress... big scientific projects should be a gathering of special talents," he added.

Further improved in the early 1990s to honour the work of scientists who make remarkable contributions to the progress of science and the commercialization of technological findings, the awards are divided into five categories: the Supreme Science and Technology Awards, the Natural Science Awards, the Technological Invention Awards, the Technological Progress Awards, and the International Scientific Co-operation Awards.

Foreign scientists

As well as Chinese scientists, five foreign scientists were also honoured with State International Scientific Co-operation Awards this year for their work promoting scientific co-operation between China and other countries.

Daniel Vasella from Switzerland picked up an award for his work developing medicines for China's medical companies.

Kenneth W. Gentle from the United States received recognition for his contribution to Sino-US co-operation in nuclear fusion.

Italian Corrado Clini was honored for work on environmental development and the exploitation of solar and other energy resources.

Richard Chang from the United States took an award for developing China's information industry.

And Kenji Ekuan from Japan, who has been active in improving China's production of electrical goods, also received an award.

Despite the large number of honours being handed out, none of the programmes was selected to win China's top science award, the Supreme State Science and Technology Award. Referred to by some as "China's Nobel prize."

Insiders said projects recommended for the gong failed to meet the relevant high standards.

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