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Aircraft designer, nuclear expert win top national science award

This undated file photo shows aircraft design expert Gu Songfen. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)

President Xi Jinping on Wednesday presented China's top science award to aircraft designer Gu Songfen and nuclear expert Wang Dazhong for their outstanding contributions to scientific and technological innovation.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, awarded the medals and certificates at an annual ceremony held in Beijing to honor distinguished scientists, engineers and research achievements.

Gu Songfen, born in 1930 in Jiangsu province, is a renowned aircraft designer

Gu Songfen, born in 1930 in Jiangsu province, is a renowned aircraft designer. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from Shanghai Jiaotong University. He was in charge of the aerodynamic design of the Shenyang JJ-1, China's first jet trainer, and of the Shenyang J-8 and J-8-II, China's first high-speed, high-altitude interceptors, laying the cornerstone for subsonic and supersonic aircraft design in the country. 

Gu is the only academician of both the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering in the national aviation industry. From 1961 to 1986, he served as chief designer and director of the Shenyang Aircraft Design and Research Institute, which is part of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

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This undated file photo shows nuclear expert Wang Dazhong. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)

Wang Dazhong, born in 1935 in Hebei province, is an internationally renowned nuclear energy scientist and educator

Wang Dazhong, born in 1935 in Hebei province, is an internationally renowned nuclear energy scientist and educator. He graduated from the Department of Engineering Physics at Tsinghua University in 1958 and received his doctoral degree in natural sciences from RWTH Aachen University in Germany in 1982. 

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He has served as the director and chief engineer of Tsinghua University's Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, as well as the president of the university itself. He is also an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Wang has worked in nuclear energy technology for decades, presiding over the research, design, construction and operation of China's first 5MW Low Temperature Nuclear Heating Reactor and first 10MW High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor.

China's top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan (FILE PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINADAILY.COM.CN)

Meanwhile, a respiratory team led by expert Zhong Nanshan, one of the country's leading pulmonologists who helped spearhead China's anti-COVID-19 efforts, received the 2020 State Scientific and Technological Progress Award's Innovation Team Award.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zhong Nanshan and his colleagues served as a bulwark against the virus and saved countless lives

With nearly five decades of respiratory research and clinical experience between them, Zhong and two other team leaders, He Jianxin and Ran Pixi, led the group in working on many difficult respiratory ailments including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), COVID-19, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zhong and his colleagues served as a bulwark against the virus and saved countless lives, according to China Central Television.

Their research played an important role in the global fight against respiratory disease, and was credited for publishing the first summarized clinical symptoms of COVID-19 to pioneering tubeless chest surgery.

The team's philosophy of "early detection, diagnosis, examination and treatment" has been widely adopted in China. Testament to its effectiveness is that doctors have been able to increase survival rates to over 90 percent for lung cancer patients five years after they have the surgery.

Wednesday's ceremony was attended by approximately 3,000 people and honored 264 projects, with 46 winning the State Natural Science Award, 61 the State Technological Invention Award, and 157 the State Scientific and Technological Progress Award.

Eight foreign experts and one international organization won the International Science and Technology Cooperation Award for their collaboration with Chinese scientists.

Prior to the ceremony, Xi and other leaders gathered to take group photos with the representatives of the winners. 

With Xinhua inputs