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TOP 10 Chinese, Global Scientific Advances for 2023 Unveiled

Jan 11, 2024

|  Source: XinhuaA+ / A-

China on Thursday unveiled a list of the country's and global TOP 10 scientific advances for 2023, respectively, which were selected by members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE). 

Academicians from the CAS and CAE hold China's highest national academic titles in science and engineering. 

On the national list, China's progress in space exploration stood out. Shenzhou-16 completed the first crewed mission of the application and development stage of China's space station. 

The crew, which remained in orbit for 154 days, carried out a total of 70 space experiments in areas of aerospace medicine, life ecology, biotechnology, material science, fluid physics, fluid mechanics, and aerospace technology, as well as eight engineering studies involving human-factors, obtaining a wealth of experimental data. 

China's Martian probe found clues about the geological and climate changes that the planet underwent about 400,000 years ago. The findings suggested that the southern Utopian Plain of the red planet probably experienced a change in climate marked by a wind direction change, coinciding with the end of the Mars ice age. 

Also, the country's FAST telescope identified key evidence for the existence of nanohertz gravitational waves, which can help solve puzzles in supermassive black holes, the history of galaxy mergers, and the formation of large-scale structures in the universe. 

Using the world's largest single-dish and most sensitive radio telescope, the scientists monitored 57-millisecond pulsars with regular cadence for 41 months and discovered quadrupole correlation signatures compatible with the prediction of nanohertz gravitational waves at a 4.6-sigma statistical confidence level. 

To utilize more clean energy, China has made a milestone advance in its effort to build a solar power station in space to convert the sunlight in outer space into an electrical supply to drive the satellites in orbit or transmit power back to the Earth. 

A Chinese research team has wrapped up the world's first full-chain, system-wide ground verification for space solar power stations, displaying multiple key know-how for the futuristic project known as Zhuri or chasing the sun. 

China's home-grown nuclear power facilities also stole the limelight. The world's first fourth-generation nuclear power plant, China's Shidaowan high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) nuclear power plant, has officially gone into commercial operation. 

The reactor can maintain a safe state and steer away from a meltdown or leak of radioactive materials. This capability is maintained even in the event of a complete loss of cooling capacity, without any intervention actions. 

In the field of agriculture, a team in China found a key gene in a crop that might, via genetic engineering, substantially improve crop yields in alkaline soil. 

The breakthrough in agriculture could increase the production of crops, including rice and maize, by at least 250 million tonnes should the newly identified gene be applied to 20 percent of global under-utilized saline and alkaline soil. 

The construction of an 11,100-meter deep well for geological research, the world's fastest two-dimensional transistors with the lowest energy consumption, the first discovery of superconductivity near 80K in a nickelate, and the structural basis of mammal's odorant perception are also included in the country's scientific advances last year. 

In the global landscape of breakthroughs, the launch of GPT-4 and AI-generated proteins highlighted the tech trend of artificial intelligence. 

The mapping of insects' brains and cell types across the adult human brain, the world's first eye transplant surgery, and a draft human pangenome reference were selected into the world's advances in the field of biology. 

The operation of the world's largest experimental nuclear fusion reactor, the smallest particle accelerator, the single-atom X-ray detection, and the energy supply to Earth from satellite ranked among the global top 10 in 2023. 

This year's list is the 30th annual event of its kind. The event has gained widespread media attention at home and abroad and helps to promote the understanding of science and technology among the public. (Xinhua)

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