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Chinese mourn ‘backbone of the nation’ scientist

Nov 19. 2018
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MANY PEOPLE expressed their condolences following news reports on Sina Weibo and WeChat, the most popular social network platforms in China, that prominent scientist Cheng Kaijia had died.

Cheng, who helped China enter the atomic age, passed away on Saturday in Beijing at the age of 101.

A great number of people wrote that they will always be grateful to Cheng for his contribution to the nation and its defence. One microblogger who goes under the name of Dandingchaogupiao called Cheng “a hero and backbone of the Chinese nation”, while DiqianQueen wished to tell Cheng: “When you were born to the motherland, she was miserable and desolate. But when you left today, she has become beautiful and magnificent.”

Born on August 3, 1918, in Wujiang, Jiangsu province, Cheng went to a middle school in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, in 1931.

He studied physics at Zhejiang University in 1937 and became an assistant lecturer there in 1941 after his graduation.

In 1946, Cheng went to the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, obtaining a PhD in 1948 under adviser Max Born, a distinguished German physicist and mathematician.

In 1950, the young physicist returned to China and performed research in physics at two universities.

The career path of Cheng was transformed in the summer of 1960 when he was summoned to China’s nuclear weapons programme .

Cheng was named chief designer of China’s nuclear test technology in 1962 and personally designed the explosion test method of the country’s first atomic bomb, which made China the world’s fifth nuclear power in 1964.

Later the scientist took part in more than 30 nuclear tests and worked at a nuclear test base in northwestern China for more than 20 years until he was named a top defense technology adviser |and returned to Beijing in the mid-1980s.


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