[China Science News] Top Ten Scientific and Technological Progress News in China in 2020

  Chang ‘e V completed China’s first sampling and returning trip of extraterrestrial objects.
  At 4: 30 on November 24th, China successfully launched the Lunar Exploration Project Chang ‘e-5, and landed in the pre-selected landing zone on December 1st. After the sampling of lunar soil was completed, the Chang ‘e-5 ascender took off from the lunar surface on December 3, and the Chang ‘e-5 returner successfully landed in the scheduled area of Siziwangqi, Inner Mongolia at 1: 59 on December 17, marking the successful completion of the first sampling and returning mission of extraterrestrial objects in China. Subsequently, the Chang ‘e-5 sample weighing 1,731 grams was handed over to China Academy of Sciences, where it will be stored, processed and analyzed in the "Lunar Sample Laboratory" located at the National Astronomical Observatory, officially opening the application and research of lunar samples and scientific data. As the aerospace system engineering with the highest complexity and the largest technical span in China, the Chang ‘e V mission is of milestone significance for China to improve the level of aerospace technology, improve the lunar exploration engineering system, carry out scientific research on the moon, and organize subsequent lunar and interstellar exploration missions.
  Panorama camera ring beat imaging after Chang ‘e V landing.
  The last global networking satellite of Beidou-3 was successfully launched.
  At 9: 43 on June 23rd, China successfully launched the 55th navigation satellite of Beidou system and the last global networking satellite of Beidou-3 in xichang satellite launch center by using the long march 3b. The Beidou navigation satellite and supporting launch vehicle launched this time were respectively developed by China Academy of Space Technology and China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology under China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, and many scientific research institutes such as Microsatellite Innovation Institute of China Academy of Sciences participated in the development and construction. This is the 336th flight of the Long March series of launch vehicles. With the strong support of measurement and control, ground transportation control, inter-satellite link transportation management, application verification and other systems, all the satellites in orbit launched before have been connected to the network. At this point, the deployment of Beidou-3 global satellite navigation system constellation was fully completed six months ahead of schedule.
  The last global networking satellite of Beidou-3 was launched.
  China’s unmanned submersible and manned submersible have made new breakthroughs.
  On June 8th, Haidou-1, an all-sea-deep autonomous remote-controlled submersible developed by Shenyang Institute of Automation, China Academy of Sciences, returned from the sea trial aboard Exploration-1. During this voyage, "Haidou No.1" realized autonomous navigation and bottom-sitting operation near the seabed in Mariana Trench, with a maximum dive depth of 10,907 meters, which filled the gap of China’s 10,000-meter-class unmanned submersible. On November 28th, the all-sea deep manned submersible Struggler, led by the 702nd Research Institute of China Shipbuilding Group Co., Ltd. and jointly developed by the Institute of Deep Sea Science and Engineering of China Academy of Sciences, returned with the scientific research ship Exploration 1. The "Struggler" successfully landed in the Mariana Trench, creating a new record of 10,909 meters of manned deep diving in China, marking that China has reached the world leading level in the field of deep manned deep diving.
  Haidou No.1 (I) and Struggler (II)
  China takes the lead in drilling and producing deep-sea combustible ice with horizontal wells.
  Natural gas hydrate is usually called combustible ice. On March 26th, the Ministry of Natural Resources held a video conference to reveal that the trial mining in the Shenhu sea area of the South China Sea with a water depth of 1,225m created two new world records of "total gas production of 861,400 cubic meters and average daily gas production of 28,700 cubic meters". During this trial mining, the researchers also independently developed a set of key technical equipment system to realize the industrialization of natural gas hydrate exploration and mining, created a unique environmental protection and monitoring system, and independently innovated to form an environmental risk prevention and control technical system. This trial production has overcome the core technology of drilling and producing horizontal wells in deep-sea shallow soft strata, achieved a major leap from exploratory trial production to experimental trial production, and achieved landmark results in the process of industrialization. China has also become the first country in the world to adopt horizontal well drilling and production technology to test and produce natural gas hydrate in the sea area.
  Trial mining torch
  Scientists find the bane of wheat "cancer"
  Wheat scab is a devastating and difficult fungal disease in the world, and it is called "cancer" of wheat. Kong Lingrang, a professor at the Agricultural College of Shandong Agricultural University and the chief expert of the wheat innovation team of the modern agricultural industrial technology system in Shandong Province, and his team cloned Fhb7, a major gene for scab resistance, from the wheat-related plant Elytrigia elongata for the first time, and successfully transferred it into wheat varieties. It was confirmed for the first time that it not only had stable scab resistance, but also had broad-spectrum detoxification function in wheat disease-resistant breeding. Related research results were published online in Science on April 10th. At present, more than 30 units have used scab-resistant germplasm materials for genetic improvement of wheat scab resistance, and extensive experiments have been carried out in Shandong, Henan, Jiangsu, Anhui and other places, with good results. The above results have found a "golden key" to unlock the worldwide problem of scab.
  Wheat infected by scab
  Scientists reach the milestone of "the superiority of quantum computing"
  Academician Pan Jianwei and Professor Lu Chaoyang of China University of Science and Technology cooperated with researchers from Shanghai Institute of Microsystems and Information Technology of Chinese Academy of Sciences and National Research Center for Parallel Computer Engineering Technology to build a 76-photon quantum computing prototype "Nine Chapters", which realized the rapid solution of the task of "Gaussian Bose Sampling" with practical prospects, making China successfully reach the first milestone of quantum computing research-the superiority of quantum computing, and laying a technical foundation for developing a large-scale quantum simulator that can solve problems with great practical value. Related results were published online in Science on December 4th.
  Optical quantum interference object diagram
  Scientists reproduce the history of biodiversity change on Earth for more than 300 million years.
  The origin and evolution of life is one of the top ten scientific mysteries in the world. More than 99% of the creatures that once lived on the earth have become extinct. It is an important way to understand the present situation and development trend of the earth’s biodiversity by reconstructing the changing history of the earth’s biodiversity through fossil records. Professor Fan Juanxuan and Academician Shen Shuzhong of Nanjing University built their own large databases, independently developed artificial intelligence algorithms, and made a breakthrough by using the "Tianhe II" supercomputer, and obtained the world’s first high-precision Paleozoic marine biodiversity change curve of more than 300 million years, with a resolution 400 times higher than that of similar international studies. The new curve accurately depicts many major biological extinction and radiation events in geological history and their relationship with environmental changes. The results were published in Science in the form of a long research article on January 17th.
  Conop, a supercomputing system developed by the team
  China’s highest parameter "artificial sun" was built.
  China’s new generation controlled nuclear fusion research facility "China Circulator No.2 M" (HL-2m) was completed and discharged on December 4th, marking China’s entry into the forefront of global controlled nuclear fusion research. The project was independently designed and built by Southwest Institute of Physics of Nuclear Industry of China National Nuclear Corporation. It is reported that this device is the largest advanced tokamak device with the highest parameters in China at present, and it is a new generation of advanced magnetic confinement nuclear fusion experimental research device in China. With more advanced structure and control mode, the plasma volume is more than twice that of the existing devices in China, the current capacity is increased to more than 2.5 MPa, and the ion temperature can reach 150 million degrees Celsius. It can realize high density, high specific pressure and high bootstrap current operation, which is an important support for realizing the leap-forward development of nuclear fusion energy development in China.
  "China Circulator No.2 M" Device
  Scientists have solved unsolved geometric problems for more than 20 years.
  China University of Science and Technology professors Chen Xiuxiong and Wang Bing published a paper on the convergence of high-dimensional Keller-Ritchie flow, which took the lead in overcoming Hamilton-Tian conjecture and partial zero-order estimation conjecture-these are the core conjectures that have been unresolved in the field of geometric analysis for more than 20 years. Related results were published in the Journal of Differential Geometry in early November. It is understood that the length of the paper exceeds 120 pages, and it takes six years from submission to official publication. This paper introduces many new ideas and methods, which have a far-reaching impact on geometric analysis, especially on the study of Ritchie flow. It is reported that this paper is a significant progress in the field of geometric analysis, or it will promote many related works.
  Comparison between geodesic and function level set
  The Chinese and American teams won the 2020 Gordon Bell Award.
  On November 19th, the application achievements completed by Jia Weile of Institute of Computing Technology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, E Weinan of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhang Linfeng of Beijing Big Data Research Institute and their collaborators won the Gordon Bell Award, the highest international award in the field of high-performance computing applications. In this work, the combination of intelligent supercomputing and physical model is adopted for the first time in the world, which leads the scientific computing to move forward from the traditional computing mode to intelligent supercomputing. Through high-performance calculation and machine learning, this achievement has raised the limit of molecular dynamics by several orders of magnitude, reached the system scale of hundreds of millions of atoms, and ensured the high accuracy of "ab initio calculation", and the simulation time scale is 1000 times higher than that of traditional methods, which is expected to play a greater role in solving practical problems in the fields of mechanics, chemistry, materials, biology and even engineering.
  Machine learning simulates 100 million atoms.
  Other news candidates (in chronological order)
  Scientists discover ferromagnetic quantum critical point evidence for the first time
  The team of Yuan Huiqiu, a professor at Zhejiang University, discovered the ferromagnetic quantum critical point in pure heavy fermion compounds for the first time, and observed the strange metal behavior. The related results were published online in Nature on March 5. This is the first time that scientists have found conclusive experimental evidence of the existence of quantum critical point in a pure ferromagnetic material system, and observed strange metal behavior similar to that of high-temperature superconductors: when the temperature approaches absolute zero, the low-temperature resistance changes linearly with temperature, and the specific heat coefficient diverges logarithmically with temperature. This discovery breaks the traditional idea that ferromagnetic quantum critical point does not exist, and extends the strange metal behavior to ferromagnetic quantum critical materials, which opens up a new direction for the study of quantum phase transition.
  Scientists discover accurate diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia for the first time
  Biological marker
  Jiang Tianzai and Liu Bing team of Brain Network Group Research Center of Institute of Automation, China Academy of Sciences, together with researchers from many teams at home and abroad, broke through the bottleneck that the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness only depends on the empirical judgment of symptoms, and successfully established an accurate diagnosis and treatment model of schizophrenia by using multi-group information and artificial intelligence methods. For the first time, the research team found that the abnormal function of the striatum circuit in the brain is a biological marker for the accurate diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia. Using this biological marker, not only can we quantitatively evaluate the pathological damage of striatum in individual patients, but also can accurately diagnose schizophrenia and predict the individualized curative effect. The imaging marker has been independently verified in patients with mental illness in multiple imaging centers and various populations. The research results were published in Nature-Medicine on March 23rd.
  Research reveals the precise mechanism of first-line anti-tuberculosis drugs
  Academician Rao Zihe from Institute of Immunochemistry, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology and his collaborators successfully analyzed the three-dimensional structure of drug target-drug of key arabinosyltransferase complexes EmbA-EmbB and EmbC-EmbC of mycobacteria for the first time in the world, and revealed the precise molecular mechanism of the first-line anti-tuberculosis drug ethambutol acting on this target for the first time, which laid an important foundation for solving the drug resistance problem of tuberculosis and developing new anti-tuberculosis drugs. On April 24th, the research paper was published online in Science. At present, the research team is making every effort to promote the research and development of new anti-tuberculosis drugs and accelerate the transformation of basic research results.
  Scientists reveal the genetic relationship between prehistoric people in North and South China.
  On May 15th, Science published a research paper online led by Fu Qiaomei, a researcher at the Institute of vertebrate paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and participated by many units. The research team successfully captured and sequenced the genomes of several ancient human individuals. Relying on advanced ancient DNA technology, it revealed the genetic relationship between the southern mainland population and the northern mainland population, and confirmed the southern origin of austronesian family population in China, filling the important information gaps in the inheritance, evolution and adaptation of prehistoric humans in the East, especially in China. This achievement is of great scientific value and social significance for exploring the migration history, genetic pattern and internal integration process of prehistoric people in China, and for clarifying the ancestral origin of austronesian family people who mainly live in Taiwan Province, China and Pacific islands.
  China’s first independent intellectual property rights heavy ion therapy system was officially put into clinical treatment.
  On June 6th, "China’s first heavy ion therapy system with independent intellectual property rights was officially put into clinical treatment technology press conference in Wuwei" was held in Xi ‘an. Wuwei Heavy Ion Center assembled the first heavy ion therapy system with independent intellectual property rights in China. After years of construction, it was officially opened on April 1, 2020. Heavy ion therapy has the characteristics of small side effects, short course of treatment and good curative effect, and has a good curative effect on most solid tumors. It is an accurate, efficient and safe advanced radiotherapy method. According to reports, the successful construction of the project has realized the localization of the world’s largest medical equipment, making China the fourth country in the world to realize heavy ion therapy for tumors after Japan, Germany and the United States, breaking the monopoly of foreign heavy ion technology for many years and realizing a historic breakthrough in the clinical application of the largest medical equipment in China.
  The high-speed maglev test prototype with a speed of 600 kilometers per hour was successfully tested.
  The 600 km/h high-speed maglev test prototype developed by CRRC Qingdao Sifang Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co., Ltd. successfully ran on the maglev test line on June 21, marking an important breakthrough in the research and development of high-speed maglev transportation system in China. On the maglev test line, the test sample vehicle was jointly debugged for the first time, and the dynamic operation test under various working conditions was carried out. The running state was good, and all key technical indexes met the design requirements and reached the design expectation. The successful trial run of the test prototype has achieved a breakthrough from static to dynamic operation, and obtained a large number of key data. The key performance of the high-speed maglev system and core components has been preliminarily verified, which provides important technical support for the subsequent development of the high-speed maglev project prototype. According to the plan, the prototype of the high-speed maglev project with a speed of 600 kilometers per hour will be off the assembly line by the end of 2020, forming a complete set of high-speed maglev technology and engineering capabilities.
  Scientists reveal molecular panorama of lung adenocarcinoma
  On July 9th, Cell published a sketch of protein group of large-scale clinical lung adenocarcinoma drawn by Tan Minjia, a researcher from Shanghai Institute of Pharmacology, China Academy of Sciences, and seven research teams, including Academy of Military Medicine of Academy of Military Sciences and Academician He Fuchu of National protein Science Center (Beijing). This is the first large-scale, systematic construction of protein panorama of lung adenocarcinoma, and found molecular features closely related to the prognosis of patients, especially the protein molecular features of two major gene mutations in lung adenocarcinoma in China population. After 6 years’ research, the cancer and adjacent tissues of 103 patients with clinical lung adenocarcinoma were deeply analyzed by protein Group by using the cross-fusion research of protein omics, bioinformatics, tumor biology, pathology and clinical medicine. This work has scientific research significance for deeply understanding the pathological mechanism of lung adenocarcinoma, finding drug treatment targets and formulating more accurate treatment plans for lung adenocarcinoma.
  Eight "magnifying glasses" relay to simulate the full-scale dark halo clear image of the universe.
  An international research team led by the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences adopted a brand-new multiple amplification simulation technology, and obtained a clear image of the internal structure of the full-scale dark halo in the universe for the first time under the current standard cosmological model. The research results were published online in Nature on September 2nd. Dark halo is dark matter halo. It took the researchers five years, with the help of supercomputers, to obtain clear images of dark halos from earth-like mass to giant galaxy clusters, spanning 20 orders of magnitude. It is reported that in a typical area of the universe, this super-magnification simulation needs to be magnified by eight "magnifying glasses", and its magnification is equivalent to finding a flea on a picture of the surface of the moon. The super magnifying glass of computer simulation allows researchers to study the formation, evolution and internal structure of dark halos at different scales in detail. It is found that dark halos with different masses have very similar internal structures, that is, the center is dense and gradually sparse outward. These new findings will help scientists verify the hypothesis about the nature of dark matter-dark matter may not be "completely dark".
  China’s first superconducting cyclotron was successfully developed.
  On September 21st, the proton beam energy of superconducting cyclotron independently developed by China Institute of Atomic Energy reached 231MeV for the first time. This is the second time in the world to independently develop a compact superconducting cyclotron after the joint project of the United States and Germany. Researchers have successfully accelerated the continuous proton beam to this energy region, which indicates that China has fully mastered the core technology of miniaturization and high dose rate superconducting cyclotron and entered the international parallel ranks. The accelerator is small in size, low in power consumption and high in beam intensity, and can continuously accelerate 72 million proton beams per second. It is more suitable for fast intensity-modulated scanning therapy, breaking the monopoly of Europe and America in the field of miniaturized precision radiotherapy equipment, realizing the localization of superconducting cyclotron equipment in China, and is expected to greatly reduce the high treatment cost. The accelerator can also be directly used in the research and development of aerospace devices, core chips and integrated circuits, and promote the development of lightweight accelerators for aerospace particle beam applications, further opening up new fields of proton science research and application in China.
  The third generation methanol to olefins technology passed the appraisal.
  On November 9th, the third generation methanol to olefins (DMTO-III) technology passed the scientific and technological achievements appraisal organized by China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation. This technology is developed by Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and has completely independent intellectual property rights. Compared with the current industrialized technology, the economy of DMTO-III technology has been significantly improved. Under the condition that the reactor size is basically unchanged, the olefin output has increased from 600,000 tons to 1.15 million tons per year. DMTO series technology has opened up a new route to produce low-carbon olefins from non-petroleum resources, initiated and led a strategic emerging industry of coal-to-olefin production, which is of great significance for realizing clean and efficient utilization of coal resources, alleviating the tight supply of petroleum resources, promoting the coordinated development of coal chemical industry and petrochemical industry, and ensuring China’s energy security.
  (Originally published in the second edition of China Science Journal, 2021-01-21)