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A woman winning science award will promote gender equality

China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-10 07:38

Chinese scientist Tu Youyou, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize for the discovery of artemisinin, at her home in Beijing. [Photo/Xinhua]

IN ORDER TO MAKE THE FUTURE SCIENCE PRIZE "CHINA'S NOBEL PRIZE", the Chinese science prize committee should adopt a more open and inclusive attitude toward researchers and encourage scientific innovation. Beijing Youth Daily comments:

The winners of the 2019 Future Science Prize were announced on Saturday. They are Shao Feng, a professor at the National Institute of Biological Sciences, Peking University, for life sciences; Wang Yifang, a professor at the Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Luk Kam-Biu, a professor at the Physics Department, University of California, Berkeley, for physical science; and Wang Xiaoyun, a professor at Tsinghua University, for mathematics and computer science.

A group of scientists and entrepreneurs established Future Science Prize in 2016 with the aim of making it "China's Nobel Prize". The prize worth $1 million is given to scientists for original and innovative research in life sciences, physical science, and mathematics and computer science irrespective of their nationality.

Although the Future Science Prize amount is higher than that of the Nobel Prize, which is 9 million Swedish kronor ($930,000), the prestige associated with the latter is unrivaled in the world. In its 118-year history, the Nobel Prize committee has awarded the Nobel science prizes for pioneering and innovative work.

It will take time for the Future Science Prize to become "China's Nobel Prize". But it is good to see the Future Science Prize being awarded to a female scientist, Wang Xiaoyun, for the first time.

Scientific research should be a global undertaking without borders, without gender bias. Still, only a few female scientists have been awarded science prizes. Among the 604 Nobel Prize winners for Physics, Chemistry and Medicine, only 19 have been women, accounting for only 3.1 percent of the total. So the Future Science Prize committee's decision to award the mathematics and computer science prize to Wang Xiaoyun is a welcome change, which may contribute to gender equality in the field of science.

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