Topics: Economy, Education, Jobs, STEM, Research

An old Chinese proverb says: “If you’re planning for the year, cultivate rice; if you’re planning for the decade, cultivate trees; if you’re planning for the century, cultivate children.”

This remain as true today as it was back in the seventh century. But what it means to cultivate the next generation has changed. For young people to thrive in the modern world, a significant proportion of that cultivation must be immersion in scientific ideas. And to judge by its commitment to science and scientific education, China is making a serious investment in this long-term mission. [1]

Genetic engineering, the search for dark matter, quantum computing and communications, artificial intelligence, brain science—the list of potentially disruptive research goes on. Each has significant implications for future industries, defense technologies and ethical understandings of what it means to be human.

And, increasingly, the notable achievements in these fields are coming not from the great centers of science in the West, but Beijing, Shanghai, Hefei, Shenzhen and a number of other Chinese cities that make up China’s extensive research system. Inevitably, the question arises: How much of the future is being invented in Chinese labs? [2]

Scientific American links:

1. China's Scientific Revolution, Leonid Solovyev

2. How China Is Trying to Invent the Future as a Science Superpower, Richard P. Suttmeier

First Inspires Website

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