Get ready for China’s domination of science
- 06 January 2010 by Jonathan Adams
- Magazine issue 2742
SINCE its economic reform began in 1978, China has gone from being a poor developing country to the second-largest economy in the world. China has also emerged from isolation to become a political superpower. Its meteoric rise has been one of the most important global changes of recent years: the rise of China was the most-read news story of the decade, surpassing even 9/11 and the Iraq war.
Yet when it comes to science and technology, most people still think of China as being stuck in the past and only visualise a country with massive steelworks and vast smoking factories.
That may have been true a few years ago, but it is no longer the case. Very quietly, China has become the world’s second-largest producer of scientific knowledge, surpassed only by the US, a status it has achieved at an awe-inspiring rate. If it continues on its current trajectory China …