10 Chinese Scientists Who Are Pushing The Envelope

Here are ten scientists contributing to China’s growing reputation as a global research powerhouse.

AsianScientist (Apr. 10, 2018) – From probing the corners of the Universe in search of dark matter to successfully cloning monkeys and conducting a quantum video conference, China is well on its way to becoming a scientific superpower.

In 2017, a report by the US National Science Foundation found that China had surpassed the US in the number of science publications. Nature Index ranked China’s leading scientific institution, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as the institution with the most research outputs for the same year, ahead of America’s Harvard University and Germany’s Max Planck Society.

This might have come as a result of the country’s aggressive investment in science over the past two decades. China spent US$279 billion on research and development in 2017 alone—up 70 percent from 2012.

Not only did the financial investment for science grow over the years, the number of Chinese graduates in science and engineering courses also increased from 359,000 in 2000 to 1.65 million in 2014. In addition, a UNESCO report shows that nearly one in five of the world’s researchers reside in China.

As the world waits for the next big discovery from this science behemoth, here are ten Chinese scientists, selected from the 2018 edition of the Asian Scientist 100 list, who are making waves in their respective fields.

  1. Xie Xiaoliang Sunney

    Photo: Xie Xiaoliang Sunney

    Xie, the director of the Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Genomics and the Biodynamics Optical Imaging Center, received the 2017 Qiu Shi Outstanding Scientist Award for his work on single-molecule enzymes.

  2. James C. C. Chan

    Photo: Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences

    For his contributions to the advancement of electric vehicle technologies, Chan has been selected to receive the 2018 IEEE Transportation Technologies Award.

  3. Tang Ching Wan

    Photo: The Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong

    Tang received the 2017 IEEE Jun-ichi Nishizawa Medal for his pioneering work in organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) that has paved the way for the first commercial full-color OLED displays.

  4. Wu Jianping

    Photo: Tsinghua University

    Wu is a 2017 inductee of the Internet Hall of Fame and the only Chinese person on the list. He was recognized for advancing internet technology in China and strengthening the country’s ties with the global internet community.

  5. Chang Meemann

    Photo: L’Oreal

    The first woman to head China’s Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chang received the 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award for her pioneering work on fossil records leading to insights on how aquatic vertebrates adapted to life on land.

  6. Shi Yigong

    Photo: Rita Allen Foundation

    A structural biologist, Shi received the 2017 Future Science Prize for his studies that produced high-resolution structures of the spliceosome, a protein complex essential for mRNA processing. Using cryo-electron microscopy, Shi was able to observe the active site of the spliceosome and thereby determine how mRNA matures in the spliceosome.

  7. Zhu Yanwu

    Photo: Xiamen University

    Zhu received the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education for his cross-border research on graphene-based materials.

  8. Xu Chenyang

    Photo: Institute for Advanced Study

    Xu was one of three recipients of the 2017 Future Science Prize for his contributions to birational algebraic geometry, a specific branch of mathematics that has applications in statistics, geometric modeling and computing.

  9. Pan Jianwei

    Photo: The State Council of the People’s Republic of China

    The 2017 Future Science Prize in Physics was awarded to Pan in honor of his work on quantum optical technology.

  10. Xie Zhenhua

    Photo: International Institute for Sustainable Development

    China’s chief negotiator at the Paris Agreement, Xie received the 2017 LUI Che Woo Prize in Sustainable Development for his efforts in resisting climate change.


    Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Shutterstock.
    Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Shai Panela is an award-winning freelance science journalist based in the Philippines. She was part of the Asian Science Journalism fellowship program of the World Federation of Science Journalists in 2013 and covers stories in science, health, technology and the environment.

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