Chinese Academy of Sciences

The Chinese Academy of Sciences

The Chinese Academy of Sciences was established on 1 November 1949 in Beijing. This date, of course, is highly significant for 1949 was the year that the civil war was won by the Chinese Communist Party in mainland China and the Nationalist government moved to Taiwan. On 1 October 1949 Mao Zedong declared that mainland China was now the People's Republic of China. The Chinese Academy of Sciences was quickly established and the quick establishment was possible since it was built on the Academia Sinica which had been founded in 1927 to promote and undertake scholarly research in sciences and humanities. There was another academy which was also founded in the 1920s which became part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, namely the Beijing Academy of Sciences.

In fact the beginning of strong scientific policy in China goes back to 1911 when the last emperor gave way to the establishment of the Republic. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), the first leader of Republican China, was a physician and philosopher who believed strongly in science and this led to the founding of learned societies, scientific journals and science departments in several universities. The Academia Sinica, also known as the Central Academy of Sciences, and the Beijing Academy of Sciences were both consequences of this move towards science. Academia Sinica, first proposed in 1922, was actually established in July 1927 but did not hold its first meeting until 9 June 1928. Four Institutes were established in January 1928, five more in 1929 and by 1947 it had thirteen research institutes. From its founding in 1949, the Chinese Academy of Sciences built on these earlier academies and initially developed following the model of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences [2]:-

... was formed from several existing scientific institutes and soon welcomed over 200 returning scientists who contributed to the Chinese Academy of Sciences the high-level expertise they had acquired abroad. Since its early years, the Chinese Academy of Sciences has been key to China's science and technology planning. In 1956, the central government asked the Chinese Academy of Sciences to oversee preparation of the country's first 12-year national programme for science and technology development, which propelled China's drive for modernisation of science and technology. Since then, it has participated in the preparation of all national science and technology development plans, serving as a national think tank.  With the launch of China's reform and opening-up programme in the late 1970s, the Chinese Academy of Sciences assumed a key role in reforming the country's science and technology efforts by encouraging academic openness, scientific collaboration, a multidisciplinary approach and the intensive cultivation of talent. The Chinese Academy of Sciences proposals have resulted in the launch of a number of key national scientific programmes including the "863 Program" in 1986, which has propelled China's overall high-tech development, and the "973 Program", or National Basic Research Program, in 1997, which called for the development of science and technology in various fields. Its goal was to align basic scientific research and innovation with national priorities in economic and social development. In its early years, the Chinese Academy of Sciences contributed to China's economic construction and recorded several important scientific achievements ... . It also made other breakthroughs in basic research at an international, advanced level, such as the development of the function theory of several complex variables in classical domains, the study of the Goldbach conjecture, and engineering control theory. The Chinese Academy of Sciences also took credit for the award of the first Ph.D. in China.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences today is a vast organisation with over 100 research institutes and there is no way that we could give a reasonable overview of so vast an organisation. If the reader wants more details about the Academy in general we refer them to the 276 page overview given by [1]. Rather than attempt to summarise that document we will give details of mathematics within the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The Institute of Mathematics was organised in March 1941 under the directorship of Li-Fu Chiang as part of the Academia Sinica before the founding of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Because of the difficulties in recruiting personnel and obtaining equipment during war time, it was formally established only in July 1947. At this time Lifu Jiang (1890-1978) helped found this Institute and became its first director. The other major figure in founding the Institute was Shiing-shen Chern who had returned to China from the United States in 1946. He briefly acted as director of the Institute of Mathematics but left China for the United States in 1948 when life became difficult due to the civil war. After the Chinese Academy of Sciences was founded, the Institute of Mathematics was founded as part of the new Academy in 1952 [4]:-

In June 1950, the Institute of Mathematics was under preparation soon after the Chinese Academy of Sciences was founded, and many things were waiting to be done. The preparation office was located at No 3 Wenjin Street in Beijing. The well-known mathematician Su Buqing was the director ... The central government of the country attached great importance to the founding of the Institute. In January 1951, the State Council approved the appointment of Hua Luogeng as the director of the Institute of Mathematics yet to be founded. On 1 July 1952, the Institute was established and located on the campus of Tsinghua University. The Institute decided to focus its research on coordinated development of pure mathematics and applied mathematics. The first research groups were set up to study number theory, differential equations, mechanics, computer development, probability and statistics, algebra, and topology. In the first half of 1953, there were 32 researchers in the institute [among whom] 17 were elected academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 1956, the state formulated the 12-Year Program for the Development of Science and Technology. While ensuring a coordinated development of major aspects of mathematical research, the Institute of Mathematics prioritised the development of differential equations, probability and statistics, which were closely related to the national economy and national defence. It also set up the research groups on functional analysis and mathematical logic to intensify the theoretical study of relevant subjects. In 1957, Professor Xiong Qinglai, who returned from France, founded the research group of the theory of functions. In this period, the research work related to mechanics, and computer development managed affairs on their own to build the Institute of Mechanics and the Institute of Computing Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The Institute was temporarily moved to the Xiyuan Hotel in 1957. In the next year, it was moved to Zhongguancun (the northern building of the Institute of Computing Technology). In 1961, research divisions were set up according to subjects, including "four branches" (number theory, algebra, geometry, topology), function theory, differential equations, functional analysis, mathematical logic, theoretical physics, probability and statistics. After the "cultural revolution" started in 1966, all research stopped. In 1972, Premier Zhou Enlai gave instruction on intensifying basic research, so mathematical research started again. In 1973, Chen Jingrun made public his result on the Goldbach conjecture. In 1975, Yang Le and Zhang Guanghou published their result on the value distribution theory. The finite element algorithm, founded by Feng Kang et al. in the early 1960s independently of the West, was applied widely in many branches of the national economy and national defence. These were the symbolic achievements of mathematical research of our Institute's scientists who had been working at an extremely difficult time. After the "gang of four" was smashed in 1976, especially after the National Science Congress was held in 1978, China greeted a springtime of science. At such a time when knowledge is respected and talents are honoured, the researchers of the Institute spared no efforts to keep up with the latest development of mathematical study, making rapid headway in pure and applied mathematics and pushing China's mathematical study onto a track of healthy development.
Over the years the Institute of Applied Mathematics, the Institute of Systems Science, and the Institute of Computational Mathematics and Scientific/Engineering Computing were split off from the Institute of Mathematics but all these Institutes worked closely together. In 1998, however, they were brought together in an Academy, the Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science, still part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences [3]:-
The Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science was founded in 1998 upon the merger of the Institute of Mathematics (founded in 1952), the Institute of Applied Mathematics (founded 1979), the Institute of Systems Science (founded 1979) and the Institute of Computational Mathematics and Scientific/Engineering Computing (founded in 1995). These institutes continue to exist as subdivisions of the Academy. ... The Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science is a national comprehensive academic research centre for mathematics and systems science. It aims to conduct important, original and pivotal research as well as cultivate academic talent in the field of mathematics and systems science, while gearing our research to international scientific frontiers and national strategic demands. The goal of the Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science is to become a globally influential research centre in the field of mathematics and systems science. The Academy also seeks to become an important centre for advisory services regarding national economic and defence issues. ... The Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science has about 370 staff members, including more than 249 researchers. Among them, 18 are Chinese Academy of Sciences members ... The Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science is authorised to confer advanced degrees in 18 academic disciplines. It has more than 400 graduate students and about 50 postdoctoral fellows. ... Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science researchers make about 300 foreign trips annually for academic purposes and the Academy receives about 300 international visitors each year. ... The Chinese Mathematics Society, the Operations Research Society of China ... among others, are subordinated to the Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science, which also sponsors 13 academic journals.

List of References (4 books/articles)


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JOC/EFR September 2018 School of Mathematics and Statistics
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