Retrospect and Prospect: History of Science and Technology in China
A Brief Review of Study on Ancient Carts in Pre-Qin Period of China in the Past 100 Years
The carts in pre-Qin period（Paleolithic period – 221 BC） of China integrated a variety of crafts and were comprehensive carriers that reveal ancient manufacturing crafts. The Chinese handed down classics Kaogong Ji（Book of Diverse Crafts） provides an important documentary basis for the study of ancient carts. Chinese archaeologists have so far unearthed a large number of carts pits in the Shang（about 1600 BC – about 1046 BC） and Zhou（about 1046 BC – 256 BC） and Qin-Han（April 206 BC – December 202 BC） periods, providing important material information for ancient carts.
The research on pre-Qin carts in the past 100 years mainly includes the following aspects：（1）With regard to the study of Kaogong Ji, the existing research mainly focuses on the age of the book, the source of the version, the structure of the system, the content of the craft and the geographical location of the Kaogong Ji. But the special research on cart making in the book is few, while the research and comparative studies on cart making in the book combined with archaeological excavations are also rare. （2）As to the research on pre-Qin carts, the existing work involves the structure and function of the carts in the Shang-Zhou period, the source of the ancient Chinese carts, and the shape characteristics and manufacturing technology of the carts in the Eastern Han Dynasty（25 AD – 220 AD） which can provide a good reference for the research on the manufacturing technology of the pre-Qin carts, and so on. （3）The archaeological and cultural circles also did a lot of work in the restoration and display of ancient carts. However, most of these exhibitions or restoration work lacks research on the connotation of ancient cart making technology, and the related work did not involve testing the mechanical properties and performance of the ancient cart.
It is necessary to combine modern engineering science with history and archaeology on the basis of previous studies, and combine the analysis of the ancient cart’s physical remains with the textual interpretation, through the traditional cart making crafts investigation, digital simulation and 3D printing, simulation replication experiments, to promote the research of the pre-Qin cart manufacturing technology and to reveal their scientific and technological connotations as well.
Xu Baosheng and his Curved Mold Caster
In the middle of the 20th century, the emergence of continuous casting technology, especially represented by curved mold caster, triggered a revolution in the steel industry. Xu Baosheng, the designer and manufacturer of the ﬁrst experimental unit of curved mold caster and the ﬁrst curved mold combination caster for wide slabs and blooms in the world, was honored as one of the thirteen pioneers for the development of continuous casting in the world. This paper explores the development of the design and test process for his curved mold caster, aspects of his critical innovation on designing the mode vibration mechanism, and spread of the curved mold caster technology in China.
Shi Ke and Yong Mei
Study on the Production Craftsmanship of Special Funerary Objects with Chain Unearthed from the Tomb of Princess of State Chen of Liao Dynasty
In this paper, a scientific analysis of the three special funerary objects with chain from the tomb of the Princess of State Chen, which are golden needle canister, golden purse, octagonal curved golden box. Preliminary analyze its production craftsmanship. There are mainly composed of gold and silver, and contains a small amount of copper and trace amounts of platinum, titanium and iron. The production craftsmanship is mainly thumping, carving , welding, piercing, drawing, etc. The solder composition contains a small amount of zinc in addition to gold, silver and copper. This study for the first time to reveal the technical features of the craftsmanship characteristics of golden making in the Liao Dynasty. It provides a new scientific basis for the further study of the development of golden making craftsmanship in the Liao Dynasty and the technical exchange and interaction between Liao dynasty and other countries.
Out of the Fiery Furnace: Casting Technology and Bronze Production in Late Shang dynasty China
Bronze ritual vessels are one of the most characteristic features of the ancient Chinese civilization. The intricate design and shape of ancient Chinese bronzes led early western scholars to argue that Shang bronzes were cast using the same cire perdue method known for Greek and Roman bronze sculptures. Although Karlbeck carefully studied the mold fragments and came to the conclusion that the molds were not used as models but as casting patterns in 1935, the view that ancient Chinese metal workers used section-mold rather than lost-wax casting was firmly established only in the 1960s. Li Ji and Wan Jiabao carried out important work on the Yinxu bronze casting technology; they studied the assembly of different types of vessels and were the first to use changes of the typical vessel casting assembly to deduce their chronology. Based on their studies of the bronzes from the Fuhao Tomb, one of the most important finds at the Yinxu site, Hua Jueming et al. discussed the different casting methods of various types of Shang bronzes, especially the use of the separate casting technique. From recently excavated foundry remains and some new studies，a lot of details of the section-mold casting technology was known.
The Genesis of Mao-Particle (Straton): the Chinese search for Hadron’s structure in the 1960s
The rapid increase of new particles in the 1950s and the 1960s made the particle physicists engaged in classifying them and exploring the underlying relations between them. They successively proposed the Sakata model, Eight-fold way scheme and Quark (Ace) model. Less well-known was Chinese physicists’ genesis of Mao-Particle, namely the Straton model, which was influenced by Mao Zedong’s philosophy that matter could be infinitely divided. This talk will give a brief introduction of how Straton model was constructed and its main results. Then explores how political, philosophy, diplomacy and other factors influenced the development of a scientific theory.
Review and Progress of the Origin Studies on the Compass in China
The historical studies on the Chinese compass was begun from the early 20th century. The date when the Chinese invented an effective south-pointing compass is a long-discussed and much debated issue in the academic world.
Before the twentieth century, it was generally believed that compass was invented by Yellow Emperor 黄帝 who was a mythical character in 5000 years ago. Since early twentieth century, some scholars thought that devices such as the south-pointing chariot and the sinan mentioned as existing in the Pre-Qin period were magnetic compasses, while others believed the magnetic compass should date back to the Northern Song dynasty. In 1928, Zhang Yinlin 張蔭麟 delved into the saying “When the south-directing spoon is thrown upon the ground, it comes to rest pointing to the south” (司南之杓，投之於地，其柢指南) from the Shiying pian 是應篇 (Chapter of the justifiable) in Wang Chong’s 王充 Lunheng 論衡 (Discourses weighed in the balance) of the first century. Zhang considered that what was described here was a magnetic pointer, and that the term sinan 司南 found in other ancient documents could indicate the same kind of utensil. In the 1940s, Wang Zhenduo 王振鐸proposed a program to re-create the sinan known as the “loadstone spoon bronze Earth-plate,” and produced several loadstone spoons with effective directivity. To date, most researchers have been of the opinion that the loadstone spoon is the best solution for such a re-creation, and it has even come to be seen as the symbol of ancient Chinese inventions.
These ancient texts, however, do not clearly explicate the relationship between sinan and magnetism, and no ancient loadstone spoons are known to exist or have been discovered by archeologists, while other researchers have not been able to produce loadstone spoons with effective directivity. Therefore, Wang’s re-creation and its technical feasibility has met with incredulity in some scholarly quarters. Other scholars have variously interpreted sinan as the Big Dipper or the Plough asterism (beidou 北斗), as an official position, power, destiny, or a south-pointing chariot. After then, new attempts to re-recreate the sinan have been attempted, such as the piaozhen sinan zhuo 瓢针司南酌 (a water-floating compass using a south-pointing magnetic needle installed on a tiny gourd scoop), and “magnetizing iron spoons by friction” (摩擦磁化铁勺). However, these all adopt the techniques of magnetizing iron by friction on modern artificial magnets, thus not solving the issue of whether loadstone spoons can point south.
Since 2014, an experimental research on loadstones was designed by the author to solve the following riddles by HUANG Xing 黄兴. Loadstones with high natural remanent magnetization found today resemble the magnetism of those recorded in premodern Chinese documents. By simulating ancient stoneware processing techniques, a loadstone can be cut and polished into a spoon shape. Paleo-magnetic research indicates that over the past two millennia the horizontal component of the geomagnetic field intensity in northern China underwent a clear M-shaped development. The level in the Qin and Han dynasties is approximately double that of the current day. Experiments of this sort carried out have testified to the excellent directivity of the resulting loadstone spoon, in modern or ancient geomagnetic field intensity. The comprehensive studies carried out demonstrate that the loadstone spoon is the most optimal among these diverse means for attaining magnetic directivity from the Pre-Qin period (before 221 BCE) to the Tang dynasty (618–907 CE) in view of the availability of loadstone, the state of the geomagnetic field, and existing knowledge and techniques.
Diana Saveleva and Liu Jinyan
A. Ioffe and the Society of physicists of China: a history of cooperation
In the XX century, science has acquired an international character and international cooperation has become a prerequisite for its successful development. It predetermined such forms of its interaction as international conferences, conventions, congresses. The 1950s marked a surge in international cooperation of the Soviet Union. The desire to establish broad scientific ties between scientific institutions was proposed from different countries: Canada, China, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, India, USA, France, etc. This was expressed in the adoption of cooperation programs, at the same time there were links with leading physicists around the world. Some countries, such as the SAR, Egypt, were interested simply in providing practical assistance (for example, in the operation of reactors), some, such as China, were interested in a wide range of interaction.
Of particular note is the scientific relationship between A. Ioffe and physicists in China. After the agreement between the governments of the USSR and China (1955) since 1956 in the Ioffe Institute and the Institute of semiconductors were graduate students and trainees from China.
However, even before the official signing of the agreement on cooperation and assistance in the field of science and industry, Ioffe already had a close relationship with the Chinese society of physicists. This is evidenced by the fact that just 3 days after the victory of The Chinese socialist revolution on October 4, 1949, Ioffe became an honorary member of the Chinese society of physicists and immediately after the socialist revolution, only academician Ioffe received such an honor. An interesting fact is that this happened even before his monographs were published in China: “Semiconductors” in Russian and Chinese, “Semiconductors in modern physics” and “Semiconductor thermoelements”. They were printed in China only in the 1950s and it would be interesting to know what was done by A. Joffe, the Chinese society of physicists or any of its services have been assessed as high. This question does not find an obvious solution, since the years preceding the revolution in China were years of long wars: the Second world war, which for China began in 1937 (and in fact, military action began much earlier), and then the civil war, which actually ended with the victory of the revolution. It is difficult to imagine when and on what issues this cooperation took place. For A. Ioffe himself, the end of the 1940s was a very difficult time, it is enough to recall that as a result of all the troubles in 1950, he had to leave the post of Director and even the walls of the Institute he created and built. After his resignation, he became head of the laboratory of semiconductors of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1952-1955), which since 1955 it became the Institute of semiconductors of the USSR Academy of Sciences, but even in this extremely difficult time he did not forget about his Chinese colleagues.
The last years of his life A. Ioffe on behalf of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR worked on the adoption of the communities of physicists of the USSR in the international Union of pure and applied physics. At the session of the Executive Committee of IUPAP, held in Ottawa (Canada) (12-13 September 1956), after the unanimous consent of the members of the Executive Committee to join the Union of Soviet physicists, the issue of participation in the Union of the people’s Republic of China was resolved. A telegram sent to Ioffe from Ottawa begins his correspondence regarding the entry of the Chinese physical society into IUPAP. This correspondence was carried out for several years, and when A. Ioffe withdrew from these cases because of illness, he asked to be sent copies of letters of the continued correspondence between the International Union and the Chinese society of physicists, because he did not cease to be interested in this. The events did not proceed smoothly, the reception was suspended due to the principled position of the Chinese side, since almost simultaneously an application for entry into this International society of physicists from Taiwan was received. This application was also approved for consideration by the members of the Committee and, in the current situation, the Chinese society of physicists refused to join the international Union.
I must say that at that time the position of the people’s Republic of China in the international arena for political reasons was not brilliant. For example, the largest International conference on the use of radioisotopes in scientific research (9-20 September. 1957, Paris) were invited only Taiwanese physicists. However, despite this state of Affairs, the Academy of Sciences of the people’s Republic of China has not changed its position. As a result, The Chinese physical society was included in the international Union of pure and applied physics only in 1984 together with Taiwan. If for China the failed entry into this Union can be somehow understood, for Taiwan such a late entry leaves the question unclear and requires additional consideration and search for documents. Perhaps this was influenced by the position of Ioffe, which was well known in the Committee and he repeatedly spoke in favor of the point of view of scientists from China.
International cooperation always brings bright and extraordinary events and significantly affects the development of science. There is no doubt that the study of unknown pages in the collaboration of different countries, will help us deeper and clearer understanding of the history of physics in national economies and globally.
This report is written on the material of archival documents in which St. Petersburg managed to find a branch of the archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as in the archives of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ioffe Institute.
The work is executed at support of the Grant of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (international scholarship of the President of CAS for the fellows. Grant number: 2017VMB0020)
The Western Influence in the Chinese Criticism of Relativity during the Cultural Revolution
This paper examines the inception and development of the “Relativity Criticism Group” in the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) during the Cultural Revolution. The focus of this investigation is on the impact of three Western physicists namely Herbert E. Ives, Herbert Dingle, and Lajos Jánossy. This paper will analyze and discuss how and why the Chinese critics became interested in these Western anti-relativists; it will also look into various impacts on the Chinese critics and their work.
From Theory to Practice: Mathematical Astronomy in Pre-modern China
The mathematical astronomy is an important part of astral sciences in pre-modern China. For mathematical astronomy, there were theoretical texts and tables to make computations. But theoretical texts and tables alone do not suffice; skills to manipulate tables and procedures to carry out mathematical practices are also needed. The “template table”, a writing format, which was designed to guide the process of mathematical astronomical calculations became widespread in early modern China. The official astronomers were very creative in inventing template table to standardize computational practices. By using such writing formats, users needed only to add and subtract, multiply and divide. There are also handbooks provided detailed instructions for the templates, outlining the procedures step-by-step. In this way, calculators had no need to suffer from the complicated underlying astronomical theories. These algorithmic practices were used in many astronomical systems (traditional Chinese, Islamic and European astronomical systems used in China); even if these traditions employed different “theories,” they shared some similar mathematical practices. This presentation shows how template tables were used as a tool in early modern Chinese astral sciences and the mathematical practices behind them.
Eun Hee Lee, Byeong-Hee Mihn and Go-Eun Choi
The astronomical exchange between China and the Islamic world during the Yuan and Ming Dynasty: Focusing on the exchange of calendrical science
Astronomical science was extensively exchanged between the East and the West from the middle of 13th century, when Mongol empire conquered Iranian part of the Islamic world. Under the active support of two Mongolia Khans, Kubilai in China and Hulagu in Iran, many Chinese astronomers took part in the calendrical work with the Persian astronomers in the Maragha observatory of Iran. Muslim astronomers, who moved into China, worked in the Islamic Astronomical Bureau of Yuan dynasty. In this time, Chinese-Uighur calendar as known as Chinese Zhongxiu Daming-li 重修大明曆 was introduced to Iran. It was published as a Persian version in the Ilkhani zij. In later, it was used among the Chinese, Uighur and Turkish in the Islamic world. Whereas, Persian zij based on the new observations was compiled by the co-operation of Muslim and Chinese astronomers in the Beijing observatory, and it was used among the states of Mongol empire. In the early Ming China, it was translated and compiled as a Chinese-Islamic calendar, Huihui-lila 回回曆法 by the contribution of Muslim and Chinese astronomers. It’s new revised version was published by the official astronomers of Joseon Korea in 1444. In this study, we introduce the Chinese-Uighur calendar which is found in the Islamic zijes such as Maghrib zij and Sultani zij so on. As well, we present and discuss the mathematical evidences by the Chinese and Islamic influence which are mutually discovered in the Shoushi-li 授時曆 and Chinese Huihui-lifa compiled in Yuan and Ming dynasty.
The study of the history of mathematics in China in globe perspective
This paper first provides a description of research of history of mathematics in globe perspective. The systematical research of history of mathematics in China began at the end of 18th century. From the beginning, how to establish mathematics in China in a worldwide picture was already in the mind of historians. In the context of the transmission of European mathematics to China and the rediscovery of early mathematical books and achievements in China, Ruan Yuan and Li Rui argued that mathematics was originally developed in China, and was transmitted to the West and Arabic areas. And at the same time, they supported the theory that mathematics developed in progressive mode, and thus paid great attention to new achievements of mathematicians based on their very limited information about the history of mathematics outside of China. From 1920s, with the process of the internationalization of mathematics in China, historians tried to build the progressive outline of mathematics in China in the framework of modern mathematics. Even detailed researches on Chinese mathematical books or concrete achievements are mostly coordinate into global development of mathematics in some extant. In recent years, there are two new approaches of global history of mathematics relating to history of mathematics in China are developed. The first is globe history of mathematics and the second is the comparative research of transmission of mathematics in China as well as in the world. Both intend to regard the development of mathematics in different regions and circles as organic part of its globe history and provide more comprehensive and deeper historical understanding of mathematics in globe perspective. Relying on such an overall study, I argue that the study of history of mathematics in China in globe perspective has different approaches, and each has its own contextual significance and characteristics.
Who was the protagonist? Rethinking the history of mining and metallurgy technology in 19th-century China
Technological transfer was a popular topic in the field of mining and metallurgy technology’s history of early modern China in the last 20 years. A series of case study have been carried out by Chinese scholars, showing a complicated situation of Chinese modern technological transfer, especially in the second half of 19th Century to the beginning of 20th Century. This presentation will give a deep insight of two or three old cases of the mining and metallurgical technology transfer in China in the late 19th to the early 20th century, which were studied by us in the last 15 years. In this time, we mainly focusing the role of different groups of actors played in the process of the importing western technology into China, so as to provide an opportunity to rethink the complicative scene in 19th-century China and the obvious un-independent characteristics of the process the technological transferring in China.
A Review of the Reconstruction of the Astronomical Clock-tower
In 1092, Su Song and Han Gonglian succeeded in the construction of the water-powered armillary sphere and celestial globe tower, namely, the astronomical clock-tower. Such historians of science and technology as Liu Xianzhou and Joseph Needham made studies of Essentials of Method of Constructing the New Armillary Sphere and Celestial Globe, and made theoretical analyses of mechanisms of the astronomical clock-tower, especially its escapement in the 1950s. Wang Zhenduo and his co-workers accomplished the construction of a one-fifth scale model of the astronomical clock-tower in 1958. John H. Combridge improved the reconstruction of water-receiving scoops in 1961, and Hideo Tsuchiya made a new explanation of the upper stopping device in 1993, so that the Chinese escapement, which consists of such parts as water-receiving scoops and the upper stopping device, was fully understood. Based on the above-mentioned studies, several teams have already constructed different scale models of the astronomical clock-tower, including full-scale ones.
The Chongzhen-Reign Treaties on Calendrical Astronomy and Beyond
In the late Ming dynasty, the Jesuits used science as an aid to their religious mission in China and introduced scientific knowledge from Europe into this country. The year 1629 marks the first climax of their efforts, because it was in this year that the Ming government decided to reform its long outdated system of calendrical astronomy through an systematic introduction of European astronomy and thus inaugurated an official project for the compilation of the Chóngzhēn lìshū 崇禎曆書 (CZLS), the Chongzhen-Reign Treaties on Calendrical Astronomy, an encyclopedic series of treatises on European mathematical astronomy. This was the first time for European science to climb onto the official stage in China, which has also become a landmark in the history of Sino-European relationship. As Confucianism was the predominate ideology in China of the time, the introduction and dissemination of European sciences through a work like the CZLS not only exerted strong impact on Chinese men of science, it also triggered a complex process of conflict and dialogue between the so-called Xīxué西學, Western Learning, and Confucianism. This makes the interaction and accommodation between science, Western Learning and Confucianism an important cultural phenomenon in history. Studies of this phenomenon is a key to our understanding of this special period, whereas an exploration of the relationship between science and Confucianism in all related historical periods is also pertinent and necessary in enhance this understanding in both depth and width. The year 2019 is the 390th anniversaries of the compilation of the CZLS. To commemorate such a historic event, this paper will provide a review on the cultural and scientific contexts, compiling process, contents, and dissemination and influence of the CZLS that are based on new materials and new analyses.
Researches on the history of Chinese anatomy in the last 100 years
Anatomy is the foundation of modern medicine, and its history is important for study of history of medicine. Ancient China did not generate modern anatomy, but traditional Chinese medicine do possess many knowledge about anatomy. Until late Ming dynasty(1600 to 1644 AD),western medicine was introduced in China. By the 20th century, it marks China has fully accepted Western medicine that anatomy became the foundation course of China’s medical education. The diffusion of western anatomy has a great impact on traditional Chinese medicine. Hence, it’s meaningful to focus on development and influence of anatomy in China. There are three basic subjects of researches on history of Chinese anatomy in the last 100 years:
1. Research on ancient Chinese anatomy. This includes collection and collation of historical materials, study of knowledge about anatomy in ancient Chinese medical books like Huangdi Neijing(Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor, 黃帝內經) and Huangdi Bashiyi Nanjing (The Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Eighty-One Difficult Questions,難經);research on cases of dissection from the Xin dynasty(9 to 23 AD) and Song dynasty.
2. Study on anatomy introduced from the west. There is research on translated anatomical books in 17th~19th century, including investigation on its original work and content, and comparison with anatomical works of the same period in the West, etc.
3. The spread of modern anatomy in China. This includes studies on education, law and regulations, terms of anatomy from 20th century.
Currently, there are sufficient studies of ancient Chinese anatomy, and also the anatomy introduced from the west. But there are still many issues to be explored: Research on modern anatomy, especially anatomy after 1950s,is basically blank, and studies on the relationship of anatomy between literature, religion and art are also rare.
The 3 stages of studies on the history of scientific and technological trans-cultural diffusion by Chinese scholars
The history of science and technology trans-cultural diffusion has been a high expectation area for Chinese scholars since the establishment of the subject of the history of science and technology in China. However, the development of study in this field was not going smoothly until several years after the new millennium. Of course, academic research is always affected by the political and economic context, the author is more inclined to summarize the studies into 3 stages in the perspective of the methodology employed by the scholars.
The first stage started from the very beginning of the discipline in China. Some pioneers of the history of mathematics, astronomy and physics, paid attention to the science and technology knowledge’ diffusion in the pre-modern world even before the PRC’s establishment. Obviously, the political leaders after 1949 were willingly to see the advancement of the ancient Chinese civilization and nationalistically expected the achievements can stimulate Chinese to create a new flourishing country. J. Needham (1900-1995) ’s massive writing plan promoted this field positively. His good relationship with Zhou Enlai, the long-term premier minister of PRC, was revealed in his “The gunpowder epic”, the 5-7 part of his SCC. Coincidently, the knowledge of gunpowder, one of “the four great inventions in ancient China”, became one of the main topics of discussion of Chinese science and technology’s influence abroad.
Needham’s monumental work set a good example to Chinese scholars, as one of its characters, the attention on the comparison of ancient Chinese knowledge with other parts of the world, gained wide praise, especially from Chinese scholars. His methodology was followed by the latter, meanwhile, his trans-cultural sources collection was difficult to be matched by Chinese scholars. As a result, the trans-cultural study was hard to develop before the 1980s in China due to the blocking national policy.
Despite the rough condition, some Chinese scholars still tried to work in this field. One of them was Pan Jixing (1931-) who exemplified the Chinese influence in Charles Darwin’s work as early as the 1960s. Pan mastered several academic languages such as Russian, French, English and French, so he seized the opportunity when the nation re-opened in the late 1970s. Just like Needham, Pan also had a chemistry background, therefore, his arguments were quite similar to Needham. In his works, the discussion on ancient mathematics, astronomy and agronomy were far less than ancient chemistry and craftsmanship. The key problem’s solving was important for Pan, most of his arguments were occupied by the origination and diffusion of “the four great inventions in ancient China”. In Pan’s conclusive book published in 2012, the proportion’s imbalance about different topics was prominent.
On the other hand, Pan’s feature was outstanding in the scholar group of his age. He contributed the volume “paper making and printing” in which the space devoting to the technologies’ trans-cultural diffusion was the largest among the 28 volumes of “History of Chinese Science and Technology”. The sources and second-hand arguments in foreign languages were listed more than the Chinese works in his 2012 book. Pan even cited some Arabic materials, although most of them were quoted secondary sources. From any aspect, Pan’s courage to explore the outbound knowledge from China was laudable and uncommon even in today Chinese scholars.
Among the contemporary scholars with Pan, there was another tendency to deny the foreign influence in the core aspects of Chinese civilization, in spite of they accepted the Chinese culture (including the science and technology achievements) could influence other cultures. The difference between “independent invention” and “foreign influence” cannot be interpreted in the perspective of anthropological debating between diffusionism and inventionism.
Another tendency in the first stage was eager to compare ancient China to the western world directly and to find some primacy elements in ancient China. The Chinese influence to the western world such as Roma was exaggerated.
Overall, the first stage studies were mostly based on textual studies. Many scholars put the Chinese sources in top priority, at the same time the foreign pieces of evidence were mostly second-handed because they were difficult to obtain, many scholars can read foreign sources neither.
The second stage was quite different and still popular in these years. It can be traced to the overflowing of scientific analysis methods and human resources, especially the archaeometry. The skills of age-dating, composition analysis, computer simulation, microscopy examine and data statistics help the scientists who work in laboratories, although the titles of which often contain “archaeology”, to do lots of work of archaeologists even historians. The huge amount of archaeology discovers and the easily acquired literature made them be able to employ the “big data” analysis so that very attractive diffusion prospects are drawn by them. The amount of arguments by the second stage scholars is still growing rapidly.
However, the scientists-historians of sciences and technology are faced with the limitation of materials and disciplines. They can not get rid of the imbalance of evidence unearthed, and the academic interests of many scholars are just similar to archaeologists, i.e. prefer to discussing objects at remote epoch. That means the power of interpretation to social life can be controlled by them much more than the later periods. In addition, the scientists-historians cannot answer all questions, especially about the know-how knowledge, although they have done very exciting work in the fields such as diffusion of crops, glass and pottery, metallurgy and textile product.
For no reason, the history of science and technology could be equal to archaeometry. In such situations, the study on the history of scientific and technological trans-cultural diffusion need to enter the 3rd stage. In this stage, the scholars should be familiar with multiple skills such as linguistics, scientific knowledge, diffusion theory and historical critical thinking, which aim to build a bridge among the multiple fields, but not solve all questions solo. In recent years, some Chinese scholars have started some research project, and the international cooperative study would push this stage forward substantially.
Women’s Magazine and the scientific enlightenment for women in the Republic of China
In period of the republic of China, scientific discourse and gender discourse widely emerged in mess media and they often penetrated to each other. The related narratives in newspapers and periodicals from 1912 to 1949, especially focusing on three types of texts talking about “the necessity of scientific enlightenment to women”, “the scientific explanation of gender differences” and “contributions of women scientists”.
As far as the first point is concerned, almost all of the texts from different periods and positions insisted that women should accept scientific enlightenment and education. Because they have to be “new type of an understanding wife and loving mother”, or were expected to be qualified as “female citizen contributing to national revival and prosperity”, or wanted to be “independent women who conform to the trend of the times”.
In this context, as one of the most popular women’s best sellers in modern China, Women’s Magazine had published more than 1500 articles about scientific and technological knowledge, and it had become one of the most important fields of scientific enlightenment for women in that time. Specifically, it focuses on family medicine and practical technical knowledge, and it has undergone three stages of development ( “conservative reform”, “radical revolution” and “return to the doctrine of the mean” ), with the change of the editing group and the transformation of gender culture in society. In a way, its scientific enlightenment for women can be regarded as a kind of way of influencing of science and technology on the social marginal group and even their daily life, and it also reflects the mutual shaping of science and gender in the period of the Republic of China.
Problems and progress in the Research on the History of China’s Modern and Contemporary Military Technology
To study the evolution of military technology over the past fifteen decades or so, i.e., from 1840 to 2000, is one of the best perspectives from which people can understand modern China. During this period, the Chinese history was very complicated, including a series of central governments, namely, the late Qing dynasty (1840 – 1911), the Beiyang Government (1912 – 1928), the Nationalist Government (1925 – 1948) and the Communist government (1949 – ), as well as dozens of local warlords and military governments. Over this period of more than 150 years, the military technology and the defense industry remained two key factors in China’s development.
China’s military technology was closely connected with the country’s defense industry, while the two also supplemented one another. The Chinese military technology benefited from a continuous technological introduction from abroad into the country for a long time, while all Chinese governments, regardless of their eras, stressed the importance of developing an independent defense industry system. The Chinese spent huge amounts of money buying weapons, machines, equipment and related raw materials, which were mainly medium- and low-end products though, from almost all major industrialized countries. China’s technologies of manufacturing guns and ammunition, and even some large equipment, such as tanks, vessels and airplanes, derived primarily from the products and technologies from Europe, the U.S. and the Soviet Union. In the 1960s, symbolized by the successful development of the “nuclear bombs, intercontinental missiles and artificial satellites”, China’s military technology gradually made innovations and breakthroughs in a number of key fields, while the country’s independently established defense industry system also gradually grew stronger and matured. Since the Cold War, the development of China’s military technology and defense industry has increasingly attracted attention and concerns both at home and abroad. The aforementioned opinions can generally be considered a consensus among researchers.
Particularly over the past three decades, although having preliminarily clarified the origins, the context, the causes and the effects of China’s modern military technology, scholars adopted different research approaches and viewpoints. Most academic achievements can be divided into different categories in terms of research perspective, writing purpose and information source: (a) Some studies focus mainly on achievements, while others emphasize on issue analysis. Because the development of the Chinese military technology went through a process along which it grew out of nothing and from weakness to strength, many Chinese scholars carry out their studies with the emphasis of demonstrating progress and achievements. Representative works consist of History of Science and Technology in China: Military Technology (Modern Times) (1998), which features a strong academic nature, Contemporary China: Scientific and Technological Undertakings of National Defense (1992) and Contemporary China: Ordnance Industry (1993), which reviews the history of the industry by governmental agencies. When it concerns the so-called “gloomy” late Qing dynasty and the Republic of China period, mainstream academic perspective kept criticizing China’s defects and shortcomings for quite some time. According to quite a number of European and U.S. academics, even in the latter half of the 20th century, in which China developed rapidly, there still exist lots of doubts between the real capacities and the achievements of the Chinese technology and the country’s industries, e.g., “Can the Chinese defense industry makes what the PLA needs?” (b) Some researches favor the government’s strategic decision-making, or the relations among military, technology and politics, e.g., China’s Techno-Warriors (2003) and China’s Military Modernization and Security Policy (1993). Other researchers pay more attention to what scientific and technological changes emerged in certain knowledge or objects, and how such changes occurred. Representative works include The Rise of the Ordinance Industry of the Qing Dynasty (1978, 2009) and A Draft History of Space Technology in China (2006). Comparatively speaking, the latter are mainly written by Chinese scholars and boast more “specialized” contents. (c) Given different sources of historical materials, some studies are almost entirely based on secondhand publications. Such studies that lack primary historical materials and evidence often appear “lame”. In contrast, some other researches aim at collecting, verifying and compiling historical materials. For example, such outstanding works as Archival Historical Materials of the Chinese Modern Ordnance Industry (1993) and series of Historical Materials of the Aviation Industry (1983~1990)can serve as rather reliable information sources for peer researchers.
At present, accessibility to reliable historical materials, which comprises both archives and objects, remains the biggest obstacle of the researches on the history of China’s military technology. On the one hand, many essential materials and objects were lost, destroyed or simply disappeared in turbulent times, while subsequent collection and compilation failed to receive adequate attention. On the other hand, due to such issues as declassification deadlines and political sensitivity, the degree of accessibility of official archives and storage facilities is considerably low in general. For the time being, researches and analyses based on adequate archives and objects are still scarce. So far, some Chinese scholars have attempted to address issues in the Chinese history based on historical materials from abroad, which will serve as an important and feasible approach going forward. Besides, the compilation and publication of historical materials are important as well. Rich historical materials will boost detailed and in-depth monographic researches and comparative historical studies. Based on this, we can also broaden our horizon beyond “China” and “military technology” to answer more questions relating to Big History.
The historiography of the Russian Orthodox mission history in Beijing in 19 century
From the beginning of the 18th century the Russian Orthodox Mission (ROM) was founded in Beijing (China). The Mission existed until 1955. The Russian scientists could work in Beijing, in China, only with ROM because China fierce self-isolation. The Mission performed an important role in the development of the Russian–Chinese relations. It also became the center of China academic studies and the first training school for Russian sinologists. From its very beginning it was considered not only as the church or diplomatic mission, but it constantly conducted research in close cooperation with the Russian Academy of Sciences.
ROM history has attracted many researchers, but mostly as an example of the Orthodox community existence outside the Russian Empire. A great deal of attention has been paid to its diplomatic function. At the beginning its history was studied by the priests. The most famous authors about the problem were Aleksander Khokholov, Petr Skachkov and Vladimir Myasnikov, Albeit Parry, Jin Yunlong. Linguistic, anthropological, cultural aspects of Mission members’ work have been well-documented (Vladimir Datsyshen, Svetlana Andreeva) in Russian historiography, but the scientific research work has not been analyzed in Russian and foreign literature. For example, the history of the Beijing Magneto-meteorological observatory as the part of the Russian Academy of sciences, is specially neither noted in any research works. So the paper will fill full this gap in the historiography by linking European and Asian scientific interactions in the early modern period.
The Exchanges of Agricultural Knowledge between America and China – A Case Study of Franklin Hiram King and His Works
Western agrology was introduced into China systematically after the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. Franklin Hiram King (1848-1911), a famous American agronomist, played an important role in the exchanges of agricultural knowledge between America and China. He is the author of Nongwu Tuzhi Lun, the first Chinese translation of American agrology. After his visit of China to study agricultural knowledge in 1909, he wrote a book entitled Farmers of Forty Centuries, which had a great influence on the field of agronomy in Western countries. This paper analyzes the content, translation background and feature of Nongwu Tuzhi Lun, examines the Chinese traditional soil and fertilizer knowledge he acquired during his travel in China and finally reveals his important impact on the exchanges of agrology between America and China.