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Science and technology body wants world to tackle 20 major questions

By Zhang Zhihao |  China Daily |  Updated:2020-08-16

The China Association for Science and Technology published 20 key scientific and technological questions, 10 in frontier science and 10 in engineering, on Saturday with the goal of raising awareness and support for the international scientific community to jointly tackle these challenges.

The 10 frontier scientific questions include the biological mechanism for the interspecies transmission of coronaviruses, gravitational wave, the evolution of material on Earth, next generation nuclear energy, and special energy fields.

Digitized transportation infrastructure and self-driving vehicles, how traditional Chinese medicine moderate human immunity, water management and security, and virtual model of physical world are also among the top questions at the cutting edge of science.

The 10 engineering challenges include cancer immunotherapy, horizontal take-off and landing technology, how to prevent and control invasive species, and how to protect key infrastructures from electromagnetic disturbances.

The other top engineering questions include silicon photonics, eliminating deficiencies in integrated circuit manufacturing, navigation for unmanned vehicles without satellite technologies, water-based renewable energy, high-altitude highway construction, and photolithography for chip manufacturing.

These questions were announced at the closing ceremony of the 22th Annual Meeting of the China Association for Science and Technology in Qingdao, Shandong province, on Saturday. The organization has published 100 such scientific questions since 2018.

Du Xiangwan, noted nuclear physicist and the former vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said scientific and technological challenges are the starting point and driving force behind new discoveries and innovations.

Being able to ask new and profound scientific questions is imperative for building a world-class scientific powerhouse, and help determine research properties for the nation, he added.

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