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Drawing inspiration from science

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-05 09:11

[Photo provided to China Daily]

One of his works that carries distinctive Chinese elements is a composite image, depicting a scientist as the folk goddess Nyuwa, carrying her newly discovered compound to fill a void in the sky. The work made the cover of the Chinese Journal of Chemistry in April 2020.

When asked if he has ever had regrets about choosing academic graphics over chemistry, Wang says he hasn't, and considers his job very important.

"Every scientific paper is innovative, and graphics are an essential part of scientific papers," Wang says, adding that what he tries to achieve is an explanation of models or methods, to showcase experimental results, visually process data or compare differences among experiments.

"The goal is to effectively convey research findings and enable readers to gain a deeper understanding and evaluate the research content," he says.

In 2022, China overtook the United States as the country with the most papers published in influential global journals, specializing in nearly 180 disciplines, according to a September report by the Ministry of Science and Technology's Institute of Scientific and Technical Information.

It was based on an analysis of papers published by Chinese scientists at home and abroad in 2022, when a total of 54,002 papers were published in 159 of the world's most influential journals covering 178 disciplines globally, and Chinese scholars contributed 16,349 papers, accounting for 30.3 percent, exceeding the US for the first time.

[Photo provided to China Daily]

China is also leading the world in six scientific fields in terms of the total number of citations generated by the country's academic papers in the past decade.

The fields are agricultural science, chemistry, computer science, engineering technology, materials science and mathematics, according to the report.

The performance of Chinese papers in the world's high-quality journals indicated that China has become one of the leaders in scientific and technological innovation, says an analyst from the institute.

Alexandra Vance, CEO of the American Institute of Physics Publishing, says the international scientific community benefits from access to China's rapidly advancing research landscape, which covers an increasingly wide spectrum of disciplines, particularly of physical science.

The rapidly rising number of Chinese scientific papers has resulted in increased demand from Chinese scientists who want illustrations for their work to carry distinctive Chinese elements.

"Most popular cultural elements include tai chi, peony flowers, as well as the Monkey King and other figures from classic Chinese literature works," Wang says.

Since many Western editors or paper reviewers might not be familiar with some Chinese elements, Wang has recommended that his clients submit certain introductory words explaining the drawings, such as how they are associated with the science.

"It's fulfilling, whenever we pull off a special piece of work that combines cutting-edge scientific findings, traditional Chinese culture, and meets the expectations of the client," Wang says.

With an eye on the future, Wang is planning a book that popularizes the art of his trade.

"I think it will be good for the whole industry, helping to set business standards and gaining the attention of more customers," he says. 

[Photo provided to China Daily]
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