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Top 10 Advances in Science and Technology in 2004

In January 2005, 584 CAS and CAE academicians voted these accomplishments as 2004's Top 10 Advances in Science and Technology:

1. The 10,000 Gigaflop supercomputer, one of the world's top-10 supercomputers.  Developed by the CAS Institute of Computing Technology, the Dawning Corporation and the Shanghai Supercomputer Center, the Dawning 4000A went into operation on 15th November 2004 in Shanghai, making China the third country to develop commercial 10,000 Gigaflop supercomputer capability.  

2. The first totally Chinese commercial nuclear power plant. The first such plant to be designed, built, managed and operated with exclusively Chinese resources-- Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant Phase 2, Unit 2 -- formally went into commercial use on 3rd May 2004.  

3. Commercial operation of the West-East Gas Pipeline. On 30th December 2004, after more than four years in construction, the 4,000 km-long channel conveying natural gas from West to East China went into commercial use. The delivery of this facility involved over 7,000 scientific and technological challenges, and deployed many high-tech techniques and facilities.

4. Opening of the first trunk net of the next generation Internet. On 25th December 2004, the trunk net of the CERNET 2 of the China Next Generation Internet (CNGI) was officially opened, signaling the start of the all-around construction of the next-generation Internet.

5. Realization of the Double Star Satellite Program with the successful launch of the TC-2 satellite. On 25th July 2004, China launched the TC-2 satellite from the Long March II C Carrier Rocket from Taiyuan Launch Center, thus completing the Double Star Satellite Program proposed in 1997. The program, together with European Space Agency's Cluster II Program, is the first ever to probe geospace three-dimensionally from six points. 

6. Manufacture of "super-switch" nano materials. The CAS Chemistry Research Institute achieved reversible transformation between super-hydrophobic and super-hydrophilic surface materials of nanometer structure by adjusting "light" and "temperature", and produced "switch" materials, a major research advance in the field of functional nanometer interface materials. 

7. Manufacture of a high accuracy underwater positioning navigation system. Developed by the China Topography Research Institute and other organizations, at 45 meters under water, its level positioning precision reaches 5 cm, and its sound precision 30 cm. China is one of the few countries to have mastered this technology. 

8. Solution of the membrane protein crystal structure problem.  In the field of photosynthesis mechanism there was great progress in the work on "crystal structure of the main complexes for catching light in spinach (LHC-II)". This is the first important photosynthesis membrane protein crystal structure, determined by Chinese scientists through six years' work and solving an acknowledged problem in leading edge technology.

9. Important breakthrough in quantum information experimentation. The University of Science and Technology of China realized stealth transformation of cinque-particle entanglement and open-ended quantum states, showing that China has entered the international advanced level in multi-entanglement research. 

10. Breakthrough in oil and gas resource strategic investigation. Preliminary figures from all-around strategic investigation into oil and gas resources within China's territorial waters estimate them at over 40 billion tons oil equivalence -- particularly in the huge areas of heavy Mesozoic layer found in deep water areas of the South China Sea, with a sedimentary layer over ten thousand meters deep. This points the way for further oil and gas prospecting in deep water areas.

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