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Top Chinese scientists honored with naming of minor planets
by Staff Writers
Beijing, China (XNA) May 04, 2011

File image.

Four minor planets have been named after top Chinese scientists with the approval of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

"It's a huge encouragement for us to receive this great honor. Although well into our eighties, we will work hard for China's independent innovation. Only by doing so can we live up to the planets above," said Wu Mengchao, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and a renowned expert who established a unique system of liver surgery in China.

Wu made the remarks during a speech Tuesday at a certificate awarding ceremony jointly held by China's Ministry of Science and Technology and the CAS.

Minor Planet No. 17606 was named after Wu, according to a statement published by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) under the IAU.

Minor Planet No. 48636 was named after Huang Kun, a former academician of the CAS and an internationally acclaimed physicist and one of the founders for the country's solid state and semiconductor physics industries. Huang died in 2005.

Minor Planet No. 90825 was named after Li Zhensheng, an academician of the CAS and a renowned wheat growing expert who initiated wide-hybridization between common wheat and Thinopyrum ponticum.

Lastly, Minor Planet No. 30991 was named after Min Enze, an academician of the CAS and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and a petrochemical catalyst expert.

All four scientists previously won the State Top Scientific and Technological Award, the country's top science prize, for their outstanding contributions to scientific and technological innovation.

The four minor planets were discovered on Sept. 28, 1995 by the Beijing Schmidt CCD Asteroid Program at the Xinglong observation station in northern China.

According to international conventions, discoverers of minor planets who receive confirmation from the MPC have the right to name the new planets.


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