CAS releases top 12 achievements of 2020


By Li Mi

BEIJING, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) on Friday released the top 12 achievements of 2020.

-- FIGHTING COVID-19

Innovative achievements have been made in genome sequencing, information sharing, molecular mechanism study, quick detection, and vaccine development during the battle against COVID-19.

-- LUNAR EXPLORATION

China's Chang'e-5 probe was launched on Nov. 24 and retrieved about 1,731 grams of samples from the moon on Dec. 17.

The Chang'e-4 probe, still working on the far side of the moon, has made a series of scientific discoveries.

-- MANNED DEEP-DIVING

Fendouzhe, China's deep-sea manned submersible, successfully reached the Mariana Trench, going to a depth of 10,909 meters and setting a new record for China's manned deep-diving.

-- BDS-3

China declared the official commissioning of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) on July 31, marking the formal launch of the newly- completed BDS-3 system for global users.

CAS researchers participated in the development and construction of all aspects of the BDS-3 system.

-- SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION TO THIRD POLE

CAS researchers launched the second scientific expedition to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to assess the changes due to climate change and human activities in the past decades. The results have supported the construction of China's ecological civilization.

-- FAST STARTS FORMAL OPERATIONS

China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) started formal operations on Jan. 11, 2020 after a three-year trial. FAST, as the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, will gradually open to astronomers around the world.

-- QUANTUM COMMUNICATION, COMPUTING

The "Micius" quantum satellite was used to achieve the first international entanglement-based quantum key distribution at the 1,000-km level.

A quantum computing prototype "Jiuzhang" was built, via which up to 76 photons were detected. The achievement marks China's first milestone on the path to full-scale quantum computing.

-- MYSTERY OF LOCUST SWARMS

Scientists have identified a chemical compound -- 4-vinylanisole -- released by locusts that causes them to form a swarm, offering a new possible way to prevent these insects from devouring crops vital to human survival, as they have done for thousands of years.

-- ANCIENT DNA

Genome-wide data from 26 ancient individuals from northern and southern East Asia dating back 9,500 to 300 years indicate human population shifts and admixture in northern and southern China.

-- MAGNETIC FIELD IN UNIVERSE

Using China's Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT), scientists discovered the strongest magnetic field ever observed in the universe, on the surface of a neutron star named GRO J1008-57.

BIG EARTH DATA REPORT

The 2020 Report on Big Earth Data in Support of the Sustainable Development Goals, drafted by CAS, showcases China's use of innovation-driven technologies to implement the 2030 Agenda, and in particular, the prospect of utilizing Big Earth Data for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of SDGs.

-- LOCALIZED SPIN-ORBIT POLARON

Scientists first studied localized excitations from single vacancies of a type of magnetic Weyl semimetal, using ultra-low temperature scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy with spin-polarized tip and low temperature atomic force microscopy.

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