Chinese scientists should focus on essential and original research to tackle urgent problems, Wang Zeshan, winner of China's 2018 top science award, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Wang, 80, a professor at Nanjing University of Science & Technology and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, is known as China's Alfred Nobel for his contributions to the study of gunpowder, one of ancient China's four era-defining inventions.
During his 60 years of research on gunpowder, Wang has designed several new propellant charging theories and technologies, helping to improve the launch range of China's artillery by more than 20 percent, lifting the nation's ballistic performance of similar artillery above international levels.
Before China's reform and opening-up that started in 1978, the country lacked policies to encourage innovation. Few Chinese had a sense of innovation, Wang said.
"The research environment was poor, and Chinese scientists had many concerns. It was the reform and opening-up that emancipated Chinese scientists and brought them the spring," he said.
The situation has gradually improved. China is now among those leading the fields of high-energy explosives and aircraft ammunition, Wang said.
As a new round of scientific and technological competition has arisen worldwide, innovation has been regarded as a national strategy in China. "I think it's very necessary," said Wang.
The scientific and technological innovation over the past four decades has triggered innovation in all aspects of society, bringing significant changes to China and enriching people's lives, said the scientist.
Recalling that Chinese invented gunpowder, but were defeated by Western colonialists using improved gunpowder in modern times, Wang said: "We still have a sense of anxiety. We must strengthen innovations that are basic, leading and original, which are still insufficient in China."
(Source: Xinhua, November 15, 2018)