• The Chinese Journal for the History of Science and technology NO.4 2011

The Chinese Journal for the History of Science and technology NO.4 2011

The Beginning of the Transfer of Western Iron and Steel Technology to East Asia: A Comparison between the Kamaishi Ironworks, Japan and Qingxi Ironworks, China

FANG Yibing
(Institute for the History of Natural Science, CAS, Beijing 100190, China)

Abstract  Both the Kamaishi Ironworks of Japan and Qingxi Ironworks of China were founded in the second half of the 19th century, and mark the beginning of the transfer of Western iron and steel technology into early modern East Asia. It is worth noting that both the two enterprises chose Britain as the source for their technology, and both failed rather rapidly. In this article, the historical details of the importation of the Western technology into the Kamaishi and Qingxi works are studied and their failures compared. Three different characteristics of the transfer of iron and steel technology at such an early stage of the two country’s development are presented. Firstly, the technological reasons that caused the failure of the two ironworks were different. The Kamaishi furnaces operated well, but were shut down because of a shortage of charcoal. The Qingxi furnaces, however, never operated properly, meaning that the technology transfer there was a total failure. Secondly, the purpose of the construction of the two plants was different. For the Meiji government, the construction of the Kamaishi Ironworks was an expression of its strong desire for “civilization building”, and the decision-making system for the importation of the technology comprised a network of both Japanese and foreigners. The Qingxi Ironworks, in contrast, was built by the Governor of Guizhou province, who mainly wanted to overcome provincial financial difficulties. The decision-making system throughout the process was comprised solely of Chinese, who lacked the requisite professional knowledge, which meant that inappropriate equipment was selected. Thirdly, the Kamaishi Ironworks was an important link in the chain of the modernization of iron and steel technology in Japan, while the Qingxi Ironworks contributed very little to the whole development process of modern iron and steel technology in China.

The Proposal and Decision to Build the Beijing Electric Positron Collider
WANG Xiaoyi, BAI Xin
(Department of Physics Capital Normal University, Beijing, 100048)

Abstract  Between 1975 and 1977, the construction of a Chinese high-energy accelerator was planned and then cancelled six times. The 7th high energy accelerator project, the so called Eighty-seven Project, was suspended at the end of 1980. Through the efforts of Zhang Wenyu and other high-energy physicists, Deng Xiaoping approved that the remaining money of the Eighty-seven Project should be used for the development of high-energy physics. After tortuous discussion, with the help of cooperation between China and the U.S. and on the basis of accepting the advice of T. D. Lee, P.W.H. Panofsky and others physicists, the BEPC plan was finally chosen as the way forward for the Chinese high-energy accelerator project. Thus, at last, BEPC became a major world center for the study of high-energy physics.


The “523 Project” and the Rediscovery of Qinghaosu’s Antimalarial Effect
LI Runhong
(Center for History of Medicine, Peking University)

Abstract  As Artemisinin and its derivatives have become a significant weapon in the global war against malaria, the history of Artemisinin’s discovery has also garnered particular attention. This article investigates the particular historical context of the “523 Project” and the relationship between project and the rediscovery of Qinghao’s anti-malarial effect.


The 1957 Supplement of Members of the Academic Divisions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

GUO Jinhai
(Institute for the History of Natural Science, CAS, Beijing 100190, China)

Abstract  The 1957 supplement of members of the academic divisions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences was directed by the Academy’s Leading Party Group and Academy Council. Every academic division carried out specific operations. The initial candidates were deliberated on by each academic division and were decided by the Academy’s Leading Party Group and Council. During the decision process, the latter two organs rejected most candidates put forward by the Philosophy and Social Science Division, while those from the divisions of the natural sciences were mostly retained. The final selectees were collectively decided by members of each division and were adopted by the Standing Executive Committee of the Academy Council. Unlike the 1955 selection of members of academic divisions, the supplement mainly emphasized the candidates’ academic level rather than political criteria. At the same time, the principle of putting quality before quantity was implemented. The selection methods in the natural science fields were also earnestly conducted. However, as with the 1955 selection, the supplement not only had no strict regulations for the selection process, but also suffered from administrative intervention and political influences. The latter was reflected especially in the election of those scientists newly returned from abroad. 


The Development of Chinese Terms for Ammonia, Ammonium, and Amines
ZHANG Hao
(Center for General Education, I-Shou University)


Abstract: The aim of this paper is to research the formulation of Chinese terms for ammonia, ammonium, and amines. Before the twentieth century, these terms were always transliterated. In the period of the General Committee on Scientific Terminology (1915-1927), they were translated as 、铔 and 基. Today, however, three other Chinese terms are used, namely: 氨, 铵 and胺. These terms were determined by the Education Ministry during its 1932 Chemical Forum.

On the Treadle Winnower in Ancient China: Textual Research and Reconstruction

WANG Xingguang, CHAI Guosheng
(School of History, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou 450052, China)

Abstract  Descriptions and depictions of the treadle winnower first appear in Wang Zhen's Book on Agriculture. It is a semi-opening deflector bellows and foot accelerator winnower used to remove bran and extraneous materials after threshing. It represents the only shaped treadle winnower in ancient China so far known. This paper discriminates errors in ancient and modern interpretations, explains its structure and function, and reconstructs its appearance. Finally, this paper has analyzed the reasons for the disappearance of the treadle winnower from agricultural production, including the limitations of its design and structure.


The Early Development of the Ordinary Differential Operators Theory in China — An interview with Professor Cao Zhijiang
XU Meizhen,
(Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Inner MongoliaNormal University, Hohhot 010022; Inner Mongolia University of Technology, Hohhot 010051, China )
WANG Wanyi
( Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Inner Mongolia Normal University, Hohhot 010022; College of Mathematics and Science,Inner Mongolia University,Hohhot 010021, China)

Abstract  Cao Zhijiang was the first mathematician to introduce the deficiency indices theory of ordinary differential operators systematically. More specifically, he gave a new description of the self-adjoined domain of singular symmetric differential operators, which had a great influence on the field of ordinary differential operators theory. Based on interviews with Professor Cao, this paper discusses the early development of ordinary differential operators theory in China.

A Review of the Research on the History of Chinese Science and Technology at Nankai University
WANG Jing
(School of History, Nankai University, Tianjin, 300071,China)


Abstract  As one its “Four Pillars”, Nankai University excels at historical research, where it is also a National Level Key Subject. In recent years, the School of History has focused on research into the history of Chinese science and technology. With the establishment of the “Nankai University Research Center for Ecological and Environmental History”, we are devoting ourselves to the social history of the environment , disease and health care, and have already achieved considerable results.


Review of Debates Concerning Paper History During the Last 30 Years in China
PAN Jixing
(Institute for the History of Science, CAS,Beijing 100190, China)

Abstract  Who was the inventor of paper, the eunuch Cai Lun (Ts’ai Lun, 63—121) of the Eastern Han (25—221), or craftsmen of the Western Han (-206 to +24). This is an academic problem worthy of discussion. Debate on the issue was conducted in an atmosphere of free discussion during the period 1949-1979. However, since the Ministry of Light Industries and its Bureau of Papermaking intervened in this academic debate after 1979, it has skewed away from the normal track of academic discussion. The government organization has imposed its official view using its power and administrative resources, and regarded the theory that Cai Lun invented paper as a “final historical conclusion”. They have set up an academic forbidden zone in the name of “patriotism and defending the honor of the homeland”, and attacked any differing opinions. They distort the facts, producing counter-examinations and counter-dating of unearthed ancient paper fragments, in order to support their theory, finally making the “final adjudication on the debate of paper history” in the form of an official order. After a veto was put on their requests by the central authorities they still did not restrain themselves. The author, as an eyewitness who has taken part in this debate during the recent 30 years of controversy, reveals some facts about the real situation for consideration by Chinese and foreign readers who are concerned with this matter. Many first-hand materials are provided.