4 great modern inventions selected

Updated: 2007-02-10 14:23

China's four great modern inventions are hybrid rice, laser photocomposition system for Chinese character typesetting, total synthesis of bovine insulin and compound artemether, according to the country's netizens.

More than 100,000 netizens contributed to the debate and 51,442 valid votes were cast in an election jointly organized by the Guangdong Association of Invention (GAI), Nangfang Daily, Beijing News and sohu.com, said Zhou Zhaolong, vice GAI director.

Zhou said originality, global influence and social benefits were the three key criteria for the inventions chosen.

Hybrid rice developed by famous Chinese agronomist Yuan Longping since the early 1970s is widely grown in China, with yields up to 12,000 kg per hectare. It has greatly increased yield on China's limited amount of arable land and been introduced to some Asian and African countries.

The computerized laser photocomposition system for Chinese character typesetting has transformed China's printing from letterpress printing to electronic publishing.

The new system invented by late Peking University Professor Wang Xuan in the 1980s has been described as the second invention of the printing system for Chinese characters after Bi Sheng's invention of movable clay type in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Bi Sheng's invention ushered in a revolution in the history of printing.

The complete synthesis of bovine insulin -- the first time that human beings have synthesized protein -- is a huge breakthrough in the life sciences. The procedure was carried out in 1966 by a team headed by late academician Wang Yinglai.

Compound artemether is a medicine invented in China in the late 1970s which has proven itself to be effective in treating malaria patients worldwide.

The compass, gunpowder, paper-making and printing are regarded as ancient China's four great inventions. "Electing four great modern inventions will encourage the new generations to press forward on the road of discovery," said Wang Yusheng, former director of the China Science and Technology Museum.

Guo Jun, vice-director of the Guangdong Academy of Sciences, the Guangdong branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the election will focus people's attention on China's scientific and technological innovations and enhance national esteem.

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