Large-scale facilities accelerate China’s scientific process

By Wu Yuehui, Han Junjie, People’s Daily
China’s Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopy Telescope (LAMOST) has helped the country make a series of breakthroughs in astronomical studies in recent years. It has not only recalculated the size of the Milky Way, but also found a fixed star with the highest abundance of lithium discovered so far.
“It was unimaginable in the past,” said Zhao Yongheng, a researcher with the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, explaining that the researches performed before were always limited by observation equipment.
Zhao pointed out that with the advanced and sensitive large telescope, they could see farther and clearer and thus renew their knowledge about the universe.
Nowadays, large and powerful apparatuses are indispensable for scientific discoveries and technological innovation, from observing the cosmic galaxies billions of light-years away to the basic particles that make up the world.
Since the 1980s, China has begun to invest in the construction of large scientific facilities. According to incomplete statistics, over 30 such facilities have been built and put into operation.
Building large scientific equipment has greatly boosted the development of China’s basic research and advanced technologies, bringing the country’s science and technologies to a higher level.
In 1988, China successfully built its first physics collider, the Beijing Electron-Positron Collider (BEPC). As another major breakthrough in China’s high-tech industry after the country achieved success in developing its first atomic and hydrogen bombs and the first man-made satellite, it has officially introduced China’s research in high-energy physics to the world.
Since the reform and opening-up, China has built many large-scale scientific facilities, such as LAMOST, Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (SSRF), the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), China Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS), and the experimental advanced superconducting tokamak (EAST), with many representing the most advanced level in the world.
In the future, more major scientific facilities will be built and put into operation in China, and they will play more important roles in areas such as attraction of talents, making of technological breakthroughs, and promotion of innovation.