China's science prize awarded to gunpowder expert

CNC
Added On January 9, 2018

China's top science award was jointly given to two scientists on Monday.Explosives expert Wang Zeshan and virologist Hou Yunde were singled out for their outstanding contributions to scientific and technological innovation.
 
Chinese President Xi Jinping presented the awards at an annual ceremony held in Beijing to honor outstanding scientists and research achievements.
 
Monday's ceremony awarded 271 projects and nine scientists with national prizes. 
 
In an exclusive interview with CNC, Wang Zeshan, one of the award winners, retold stories from his career.
 
Known as China's Alfred Nobel, Wang has dedicated his life to the study of gunpowder, one of China's early four key inventions. 
 
Born in 1935 in northeast China' Jilin Province, Wang made his career choice at a very early age. 
 
SOUNDBITE(CHINESE): WANG ZESHAN, Academician, Chinese Academy of Engineering 
"I was born and raised in turbulent times, when the entire northeast China was occupied by Japanese invaders. I realized at a very young age that a nation must have strong military power to defend itself."
 
Wang chose to study gunpowder in college, a subject the other students dismissed. 
 
SOUNDBITE(CHINESE): WANG ZESHAN, Academician, Chinese Academy of Engineering 
"I was so determined to study gunpowder when I was admitted to the Harbin Institute of Military Engineering. Why? Because I have responsibilities for my country, I have done everything I can to serve my country, and I'll continue to do so."
 
Today Wang is a professor with Nanjing University of Science & Technology and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
 
In his career spanning 60 years, Wang has designed several new propellant charging theories and technologies. 
 
These have helped improve the launch range of China's artillery by more than 20 percent and lift ballistic performance of similar artillery above international levels.
 
He was also the first to develop technology to reuse obsolete explosives, allowing environmental and security threats to be turned into military and civilian products.
 
With four top national awards, Wang's accomplishments are widely recognized.
 
SOUNDBITE(CHINESE): WANG ZESHAN, Academician, Chinese Academy of Engineering 
"It is a great honor for me to receive China's highest science award. I am grateful and encouraged that the country and government recognize and support my work. I have enjoyed dedicating my whole life to doing one thing, and thanks to my country, I've been able to do that."
 
The 83-year-old scientist still spends about 12 hours a day working.
 
And now he has a new goal. 
 
Last month, he made two visits to China's desert area for research on flammable explosives.
 
SOUNDBITE(CHINESE): WANG ZESHAN, Academician, Chinese Academy of Engineering 
"Innovation is the most important thing, and I have to be at the forefront in this field. The country is providing us with enormous opportunities, and we need to do our best."