The last decade has involved much scientific advancement and improvement. Chinese scientists have made a lot of scientific achievements and discoveries in these last 10 years.
This article, will be discussing the top 5 scientific achievements of Chinese scientists from 2010-2020.
1. First Chinese space laboratory “Tiangong-1” launched into orbit
Firstly, in September 2011, China launched its first space laboratory into orbit. It was named Tiangong-1, which translates to “Heavenly Palace,” and was designed to be used as a testbed for robotic technologies. It has helped lay the groundwork for a permanent space station that China plans to launch in the near future.
However, in May 2017 Chinese officials reported to the United Nations that Tiangong-1 had ceased operating on March 16, 2016.
The craft has run out of fuel, can no longer be controlled by teams on the ground and it is predicted that it will eventually reenter the atmosphere, upon which it will break apart. The precise reentry date for Tiangong-a remains unknown at this point.
2. Discovery of early Hominin presence in Asia
In 2004, a Chinese team discovered 1.66-million-year-old stone tools in north China’s Nihewan Basin. These were the oldest tools found outside Africa, thus proving the presence of homo erectus beings outside Asia way before was previously believed.
Moving on, in 2015, Chinese researchers found a homo erectus skull in China, less than 3 miles from Shangchen.
This skull, which was dated to be almost 1.6 million years old, proved that early migrants from Africa left the continent much earlier than was previously thought. According to an article written by Michael Greshko on National Geographic, these are part of discoveries that are rewriting the human story.
3. Chinese scientists’ discovery of Celastrol to tackle obesity
Now, we will learn about the 2017 discovery of a substance called Celastrol. Chinese scientists extracted this medicinal compound from the thunder god vine(a natural herb). Celastrol can help solve the problem of obesity by influencing cell metabolism.
According to the scientific journal ‘Cell’, Celastrol, extracted from thunder god vine, is one of the five herbal compounds which have the potential to treat incurable diseases.
The research team was led by Zhang Xiaokun, professor with the College of Medicine at Xiamen University. And the research paper was published in the scientific journal, ‘Molecular Cell’ on April 6, 2017.
4. Ketamine as an antidepressant
In 2018, Chinese scientists discovered that the anaesthetic painkiller Ketamine could be used to counter depression-like behaviour. This is because Ketamine blocks the neuronal activity associated with depression-like behaviour. This finding may pave the way to learning more about how to treat depression and anxiety, which affects 300 million people worldwide.
5. Most precise value of gravitational constant(G)
Moreover, in 2018, Chinese scientists also managed to calculate the most precise measurement, so far, of the gravitational constant, G, which is a fundamental constant of nature. They achieved this feat by using both the angular-acceleration-feedback method and the time-of-swing method to arrive at the most accurate value possible.
- https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/03/tiangong-1-chinese-space-station-fall-skylab-crash-science/ details of Tiangong-1
- https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2018/07/news-china-human-tools-africa-shangchen-hominin-paleoanthropology/ Reference for Tiangong-1 launch and the homo erectus presence outside Africa
- http://www.xinhuanet.com//english/2017-04/09/c_136194141.htm compound to tackle obesity
- https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201902/27/WS5c768df1a3106c65c34ebd03.html Ketamine and gravitational constant