• The Chinese Journal for the History of Science and technology NO.1 2010

The Chinese Journal for the History of Science and technology  NO.1 2010 


Memories of the Days of the Early Establishment of Shanghai Natural History Museum:

An Interview with Mrs. Chen Saiying

Recorded and emended by JIANG Dongni and SHEN Ning,

(Shanghai History Museum, Shanghai 200002, China)(Shanghai Natural History Museum, Shanghai,200002, China)

Edited by DUAN Lian

(Institute of the History, SASS, Shanghai 200235, China)

Abstract  In this interview, Ms. Chen Saiying, head of the preparatory work for the building of the Animal Gallery of Shanghai Natural History Museum, relates how during the 1950s and 1960s recently graduated young scholars as well as a large number of senior experts actively engaged in socialist construction of museums in response to the call “marching to science”. Scientific and cultural management cadres, such as Hong Ze, Shen Zhiyu and Fang Xing, conscientiously carried out the Party’s policy, coordinated well with intellectuals, and dedicated great efforts to the building of a first-class museum of natural history.   

Keyword  Shanghai Natural History Museum, preparatory work of the new gallery, exhibition



The Study of the Japan Cabinet Library Copy of the Ge Yuan Ba Xian Hu Qiu Fa


(School for the history of Science & Scientific and Technological Administration,

Inner Mongolia Normal University, Huhhot 010022, China)

Abstract There are two Chinese mathematics books of very similar title that have survived only in Japan, the Ge yuan ba xian hu qiu fa, and the Ba xian hu qiu fa (The Method of Computation for the Eight Lines Cutting a Circle and Its Application). This paper makes a comparison of the two books to the Ping san jiao ju yao (The Elements of Plane Trigonometry)byMei Wending (1633—1721), demonstrating that the Ge yuan ba xian hu qiu fa was based on thePing san jiao ju yao, while theBa xian hu qiu fa was simply copied in its entirety from the Ge yuan ba xian hu qiu fa. Finally, it is shown that, despite being attributed to him, the author was not Xu Guangqi (1562—1633.

Keyword Ge yuan ba xian hu qiu fa,Ba xian hu qiu fa, Ping san jiao ju yao, Mei Wending,Xu Guangqi



A Review of Studies of Brass Objects and their Smelting Techniques in Ancient China

MA Yue,

( The Palace Museum , Beijing , 10009 , China  ;

Institute of Historical Metallurgy, Beijing University of Science and Technology, Beijing 10083, China)

LI Xiuhui

(Institute of Historical Metallurgy, Beijing University of Science and Technology, Beijing 10083, China)


Abstract Brass is a kind of copper alloy which uses zinc as the main alloying element. There are 17 excavated brass objects dating to before the Ming dynasty. With the development of zinc technology and the use of brass for casting coins during the Ming, the production of brass increased sharply. The development of brass smelting technology in China may be divided into three stages, namely occasional brass, cementation brass and speltering brass. 

Key words  brass, brass smelting technology, ancient zinc smelting



The National Academy of Peiping’s Academic Council and Membership System

LIU Xiao

(Institute for the History of Natural Science, CAS, Beijing 100010, China)


Abstract Based on original archives, this paper studies the origin, creation, reform, constitution and history of the Academic Council of the National Academy of Peiping (NAP), in order to show the process of the independent development of the assessment system in China’s scientific circles. The system of the Academic Council of the NAP, and that of the academicians of the Academic Sinica, were both the outcome of China’s scientific undertakings having development to a certain level. The main leader and advocate of the NAP Academic Council system was Li Shizeng, who introduced many unique concepts and innovations. Due to the characteristics of the NAP, the Academic Council elected more members from among scientists trained in France and from the universities of northern China, but it cast its gaze across the whole country and strove for impartiality in academic evaluation. Of course, the system was not perfect, especially the election of the first group of members, which lacked transparency. Analyzing the pros and cons of this system, and contrasting it with the academicians system of the Academia Sinica, contributes greatly to our understanding of the foundation and advancement of academic assessment and communication in China.

Keywords National Academy of Peiping, Li Shizeng, Academic Council, member


A Study on the Exploitation of Tin Ore in Southeast Asia

by Overseas Chinese

LIN Kunyong,LI Yanxiang

(Institute of Historical Metallurgy and Materials, Beijing University of Science and Technology, Beijing 100083,China)


Abstract The exploitation of tin ore by Overseas Chinese is an important part of the development history of Southeast Asia. The activity covers ore exploitation, the spread of technology, cultural communication, economic development and social progress, constituting significant historical material for the study of communication between, and the development of, modern China and Southeast Asia. This paper systematically studies the historical background to this phenomenon, focusing on the spread and application of the technology involved.

Keywords Southeast Asia, Overseas Chinese, tin ore industry, technology,  spread, application


A School Written In Water ------ the Harvard Medical School of China

XIA Yuanyuan,ZHANG Daqing  

(Center for History of Medicine, Peking University, Beijing 100191,China)


Abstract Based on the annual reports of the Harvard Medical School of China (HMSC), this article describes the foundation, development and closure of the School, highlighting the implications of its management patterns and the ideas behind the running of the school for contemporary medical education in China. It then compares its funding sources, scale of development, social reputation, and such like, with those of other medical schools, and argues that the cause of the closure rests with its single source of funding, insufficient localization, and incompatibility of its elitist pattern of education with Chinese conditions.

Keywords  Harvard Medical School in China, medical education, Modern medical history



New Developments in Archaeometric Studies in China (2008-2009)

MEI Jianjun, WANG Pu, HUANG Xing

(Research Centre for Science, Technology and Civilization University of Science and

Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China)


Abstract  On the basis of research papers published in academic journals such as Wenwu (Cultural Relics), Kaogu (Archeaeology) and Wenwu baohu yu kaogu kexue (Science of Conservation and Archaeology), this paper offers a brief review of new developments in archaeometric studies in China in the past two years. Some observations are also given on the future course of archaeometric research in China.

Keywords archaeometry, scientific archaeology, archaeometallurgy, ceramic archaeology


“Cultural Manifold” and the Researches in the History of Science and Technology in China

REN Dingcheng1, CHEN Shou2, CHEN Tianjia1, HUANG Yanhong3, LI Zheng1, REN Anbo4, YAN Ruixue1, YE Qing5, ZHENG Dan1, ZHU Jing6, and Nathan Sivin7

(1Center for Social Studies of Science, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China)

 (2 Chinese Association for the Advancement of Environmental Culture, Beijing 100142, China)

(3Institute for the History of Natural Science, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100010, China)

 (4 College of the Humanities and Social Sciences,Graduate University, CAS, Beijing 100049, China)

(5 China Center for Modernization Research, CAS, Beijing 100086, China)

 (6Department of Philosophy, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China)

(7 Department of History and Sociology of Science,University of Pennsylvania,Philadelphia PA19104-6304, USA)

Abstract The “cultural manifold” suggested in The Way and the Word by Geoffrey Lloyd and Nathan Sivin is different from the same phrase used earlier by J. Henry, D. Goddard and V. Strohmeyer. It is a new conceptual tool, which overcomes the schism between intellectual history, institutional history, and social history, and has proven value for researches in history of science in China. The members of Ren’s seminar at Peking University have used it to study the intellectual, institutional, and social dimensions of the history of medicine during the Song Dynasty, the history of Qiushi (Autumn Mineral), cricket fights, acupuncture anaesthesia, modern technologies of alkali manufacture in China, the Popularization of Science Movement, the Science Division of the Propaganda Department of the CCCPC, as well as folk discoveries and inventions in contemporary China.

Key words cultural manifold, Chinese medicine during the Song Dynasty, crickets’ fight, acupuncture anaesthesia, modern technologies of alkali manufacture in China, the Popularization of Science Movement, Science Division of Propaganda Department of CCCPC, folk discoveries and inventions in contemporary China

An Investigation on the Craft of Iron Casting

by Stone Mould in Huize County, Yunnan Province

YANG Ruidong ,LI Xiaocen,

(The Institute of Historical Metallurgy and Materials, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing, 100083,China)

LI Jingsong , HUA Jueming

( Institute for the History of Natural Science, CASs, Beijing, 100010,China)

Abstract Casting by mould has been used for thousands of years. The use of stone moulds for iron casting, however, had, until recently, only been found at family workshops in Dongjia village, Qujing city in Yunnan province and at Eya village, Muli county in Sichuan province. A third workshop employing stone moulds for iron casting has recently been found in Huize county, Yunnan province. This workshop has been operating for a hundred years, and makes an iron plough about every four days for use by local farmers. This is the largest workshop of its kind found to date. Through long experience the craft of iron casting, including making the stone moulds, furnace structure, charge composition, mould parching and casting, has reached a high level here.

Keywords  casting by stone mould,iron ploughs, Huize

Public Health Nurses of the Senior Nursing School of Peking Union Medical College

and the First Special Health Station in Peking

TANG Wenjuan, ZHEN Cheng

(Center for History of Medicine, Peking University, Beijing, 100191,China)

Abstract  Modern China’s public health took off during the period of 1920s to 1930s. With the help of Peking Union Medical College (PUMC), the First Special Health Station of Peking, which was the first public health agency approved by the Chinese government, was founded at that time. Public health nursing students from PUMC’s Senior Nursing School practiced there and worked at the front line. As the driving force for the development of public health in Peking, they were responsible for industrial health, district visiting-nursing services, maternal and child health, mental health, school health and nutrition. This paper examines the history of PUMC’s public nurses and the First Special Health Station of Peking to discuss what they contributed to the advancement of public health.

Key words Public Health Nurse, the First Special Health Station of Peking, Public Health