The Chinese mainland’s Future Science Prize, modeled after the Nobel Prize, announced a new mathematics and computer science category after award's first ceremony crowned two Chinese scientists in physical and life sciences on Jan. 15.
According to Tian Gang, a committee member of the Future Science Prize, the new category aims to attract more public attention and support for the study of mathematics, which, in the words of Tian, “requires extraordinary patience and perseverance, as well as the courage to endure solitude.”
Tian is also the chair of the mathematics department of Peking University. He said at the awards ceremony that the new prize gives him hope that more young scientists with prominent achievements can help lay a foundation for greater scientific development. Another committee member, Li Kai, said he hoped the new prize could encourage younger generations to be more innovative, especially in computer science.
(Left: Professor Xue Qikun; Right: Professor Dennis Lo Yuk-Ming)
The new prize is funded by four entrepreneurs, including Tencent CEO Ma Huateng. Each prize laureate of the Future Science Prize receives $1 million.
The first prizes for life science and physical science went to Yuk-Ming Dennis Lo from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Xue Qikun from Tsinghua University. The awards recognized their contribution to a widely used, noninvasive prenatal test of fetal DNA in maternal blood, and groundbreaking discoveries about novel quantum phenomena using molecule beam epitaxy.
Established in 2016, the Future Science Prize was jointly established by scientists and entrepreneurs in the Chinese mainland. It aims to recognize scientific breakthroughs and innovations, primarily in the Greater China region but independent of citizenship. It will effectively supplement government efforts, according to the prize’s official website.