SHENZHEN, China, Nov. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On Nov. 6, the 10th Tencent Science WE Summit was held and live streamed to a global audience. Seven scientists from China and abroad have graced the event as speakers. Among them are two Nobel laureates, including senior project scientist of the James Webb Space Telescope John Mather and the "Father of DNA Repair" Tomas Lindahl, four key figures in the technological development and operations of China’s world-leading scientific equipment, including academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and head of China’s "Artificial Sun" Program Li Jian’gang, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, professor at the China Academy of Space Technology, CASC and chief designer of China Space Station System Yang Hong, chief engineer of China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope Jiang Peng and chief designer of China’s "Fendouzhe" deep-sea manned submersible Ye Cong, and also paleoichthyologist and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Zhu Min who has made groundbreaking findings concerning the evolution "from fish to human". Viewers have a chance to immerse themselves in the latest scientific breakthroughs and discoveries in the fields of future energy, space and ocean exploration, life science and more.
"At the very first WE Summit ten years ago, Pony Ma planted a ‘seed’ in the hope of growing the public’s interest in basic science. The annual WE Summit is committed to sharing the greatest scientific achievements of humankind and over the past decade, we’ve witnessed China’s unprecedented development of science and technology." Leon Guo, Senior Vice President of Tencent (0700.HK), announced that in its new headquarters in Qianhai, Shenzhen, Tencent is building a public science and technology museum where a "Human Tech Tree" is being built in partnership with leading scientific research institutions and technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Immersive Convergence will be applied. With basic science as its roots and various disciplines as its branches, the "Human Tech Tree" will exhibit systematically great history and achievements of human science and technology over the past centuries. This will be a place where visitors can enjoy an immersive experience while they embrace science. With its open mechanism, Tencent will engage scientists and related experts in building this "Human Tech Tree" together, making it a "recorder" of scientific and technological developments. "By building this ‘Human Tech Tree’, we’ve also deepened our understanding of ‘Tech for Good’, a philosophy that Tencent firmly adheres to. Just like plants growing towards the shining sun, science and technology should always serve the welfare of our society. This ‘Human Tech Tree’ should grow towards a brighter future of human civilization," he added.
Powered by graphic engine rendering and virtual production solution of Tencent CDD (Content Development Department) which are both derived from gaming technology, this year’s WE Summit has created a cinematic-level visual effect, presenting the scientific speeches and the "Human Tech Tree" as a "fiction movie". Audience can take a close look at the great scientific equipment in a 360°, panoramic view, such as the "Artificial Sun" and China Space Station, or start a virtual journey to "complete an extravehicular task on China Space Station" or "dive to 10,000 meters under the sea" alongside speaker’s introduction. Plus, it is the first time that a "Hyper Reality Studio" is set up on QQ instant messenger. Here, young people can engage themselves via the features of "Super QQ Show", traveling in the virtual studio and watching the event in this digital, interactive and social environment.
Supported by Tencent Cloud’s audio and video live-streaming technology, the WE Summit is broadcasted to more than 70 online media outlets, such as WeChat Channels and Tencent Video. Also on QQ Browser, users can visit the official zone or the official website of the WE Summit via the search bar’s default keyword or just by typing "WE Summit", to access historic videos of the event over the past decade. In the meantime, China Science Daily has engaged as academic advisor on communication of the scientific content, helping the public better understand those great breakthroughs.
Tackling Earth Resource Challenge
"From horrendous floods to punishing heat waves, tropical cyclones and droughts, there’s almost nowhere on the planet now that isn’t witnessing the affects of climate change unfolding before their eyes," pointed out David Wallerstein, Chief eXploration Officer of Tencent, in his opening speech, "More than ever, we are going to need smart science to guide human responses to protect our planet and make our ecosystems more resilient." We need to improve resource efficiencies to secure the fundamental buildings blocks on modern civilization.
Can we build a "sun" on Earth which can continuously provide clean energy as an alternative to fossil fuels being exhausted? Li Jian‘gang, plasma physicist and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, shared China’s cutting-edge breakthroughs in terms of "controllable magnetic confinement fusion" research. China’s Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak, or EAST, a so-called "artificial sun", is the world’s first fully superconducting Tokamak for nuclear fusion reaction. Last year, EAST set a new world record twice that it has achieved repeatable plasma operations for 101 seconds at 120 million degrees centigrade and for 1,056 seconds at 70 million degrees centigrade. "Our next goal is to realize nuclear fusion reaction for more than 1,000 seconds at over 100 million degrees centigrade and even indefinitely, in order to lay a solid foundation for power generation in the future. Besides, we’re also facilitating the construction of the China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor (CFETR). Together, we’ll work with global peers to make our dream of ‘ultimate energy’ come true."
"The enormous space is a huge treasure for us and manned spaceflight is a bridge connecting to this treasure." Yang Hong, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, professor at the China Academy of Space Technology, CASC and chief designer of China Space Station System, shared the story of key technology developments of China Space Station over the past 10 years. Upon its successful repositioning maneuver, Mengtian, a space lab module and a component of China Space Station, finally docked with the combination of the Tianhe core module, Wentian lab module, Shenzhou-14 manned spacecraft and Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft, marking the completion of the assembly of the T-shaped China Space Station. "The unique three-module fixture can integrate and restructure multiple modules and space vehicles, greatly improving the reliability of general operations while allowing future expansions," said Yang Hong. "China Space Station is an open space laboratory. We welcome proposals from scientists around the world to carry out scientific experiments in the fields of biology, basic physics and more. Let’s join hands in developing space resources to benefit all mankind."
Two Most Advanced Telescopes
What happened after the Big Bang? The most powerful and the costliest infrared space telescope ever, the James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST, is now out there at the "Lagrange Point 2" 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth looking for the answer. It is designed to help uncover the secrets of the early universe. John Mather, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006 and senior project scientist of JWST, introduced some of the significant discoveries by JWST. About exploring the most distant universe, he said, "It is similar to the concept that the ‘Human Tech Tree’ conveys, ‘Root in the Past and Grow into the Future’. JWST will help us further understand how the universe was born and how it has evolved, and thus, better tell what its future would look like."
Also known as "China’s Sky Eye", the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope, or FAST, is now the world’s largest and most powerful single aperture radio telescope. It explores the origin and evolution of the universe mainly by receiving electromagnetic signals and detecting interstellar molecules as well as interstellar communication signals. "Realizing both the super-large size and the millimeter-level dynamic control precision had been the major technical challenge during the construction phase," said Jiang Peng, chief engineer of FAST, when talking about their key technological breakthroughs. In his introduction of some of the major discoveries by FAST, such as the largest atomic gas system and more than 660 new pulsars, he shared his outlook about future development, "There’s a lot of uncertainties, but nothing will better hurdle the birth of a next-generation radio telescope to further expand and extend human sight."
Recently, John Mather was joined by professor at the National Astronomical Observatories under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) and project scientist of the optical facility of China Space Station Telescope (CSST) Zhan Hu, professor at NAOC Gou Lijun and game AI expert & Tencent’s principal for the Chasing All Transients Constellation Hunters (CATCH) program Deng Dafu in a dialogue on future possibilities of space exploration. This included the engineering breakthroughs and work plans of JWST, CSST and CATCH as well as how to apply game AI technology to empower space telescopes in observation and data processing.
Uncovering the Secrets of Life
In 2015, Tomas Lindahl shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for "mechanistic studies of DNA repair". The "base-excision repair" he discovered has opened a new window for understanding the causes of cancer as well as developing cancer prevention and treatment methods. In his speech, he introduced his latest work on cancer treatment research, "We try to switch off ‘DNA repair’ for perhaps a few hours and expose DNA to damaging agents that usually wouldn’t do very much to have better treatment results." He also reviewed the milestones of the origin and evolution of life and called for scientists to explore the earliest signs of life on Earth, "There’re still too many secrets about life and nature for us to uncover. We need to think and seek if there’re other forms of life. This will be huge for life science studies."
"We are able to understand today and explore into the future only if we know about the past," Zhu Min, paleoichthyologist and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, expressed a similar idea to Tomas Lindahl when he explained his latest findings about the evolution "from fish to human". "Based on fossil records dating back hundreds of millions of years as well as interdisciplinary studies, we’ve rebuilt the world of life in primitive times, allowing us to deepen our understanding of the evolution of key organs and body structure of jawed vertebrates and possibly identify, in addition to environmental factors, the impact of the interactions of creatures on the rises and extinctions of major species. This is an essential way to understand the rules of coordinative evolution of today’s creatures and the environment." At the end of September, the Nature magazine released four papers by Zhu Min and his colleagues and their findings also appeared on the cover. What they have found about the origin and early evolution of jawed vertebrates has disrupted existing knowledge of the rise of jawed vertebrates and provided concrete evidence that traces the origin of some parts of human body structure back to fossil fish 436 million years ago.
Today, over 80% of the new species discovered every year come from the sea. Ye Cong, chief designer of "Fendouzhe" deep-sea manned submersible, showed China’s independent development of deep-sea submersibles as well as significant scientific discoveries. Beginning with "Jiaolong" manned submersible, China has developed a complete set of manned submersibles. "Last year, ‘Fendouzhe’ collected water, sediments, rocks and creature samples from the bottom of the sea. The participating scientists had proposed the Mariana Trench Consensus and embarked on the ‘Mariana Trench Ecological Environmental Research Plan’ which aims to engage global scientists to carry out scientific investigations down the Mariana Trench of more than 10,000 meters deep, such as the formation and evolution of deep-sea geological system, origin and environmental adaptation of life, diversity of life and climate change etc." According to him, "Now, we’ve provided scientists with more than 1,000 pieces of data regarding ocean environment and life, likely being the largest abyssopelagic database in the world."
Over the past decade, WE Summit has been committed to communicating the most significant scientific findings and the latest scientific thoughts to the general public. 87 leading lights from global science community had spoken at this event, such as Stephen Hawking, Sir Roger Penrose, Pan Jianwei and Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, with topics ranging from cosmology and theoretical physics to life science and information technology, and many more. In total, the annual WE Summit has engaged the public almost 100 million times online and offline.