Wacky award inspires serious science
Updated: 2013-04-10 14:17
By Yan Yiqi (China Daily)
"I don't think science should be high in the sky so that people have to look up to it. Science can be discovered and understood through everything around us. The door to science is the ability to link theories with phenomenon," he says.
Daniel Shechtman, 2011's Nobel Chemistry Prize laureate, says the awards focused on creativity. "The awards share the same spirit as the Nobel Prize, which is to stimulate people's curiosity towards science," he said in a speech at the awards launching ceremony.
However, not all winners were happy to receive the award. Four of the nine winners did not attend the ceremony and refused to accept the honor.
One reason for their reluctance may be the controversial award given to China's official train ticket booking website, which has been criticized for its poor service. The awards honored the much maligned website with a Pineapple U award because it inspired Chinese netizens to design plug-in software to make ticket purchasing easier.
Though humorous, the ironic award has offended some winners who are focused on serious scientific research.
Wei from Sichuan University says some scientific researchers believe science should not be a source of ridicule.
For Zhao, the award for his portable nasal mucus pump is encouraging.
"When you catch a cold and mucus keeps running out of your nose, you really want a piece of equipment to take it out," Zhao says of his invention.
He is now looking for investment to manufacture his invention in a large scale.
The awards also aim to bring science to the public.
A two-day science fair was held inside Zhejiang Science and Technology Museum last week to showcase scientific findings in a fun way. Attendance was free.
Twenty-three stalls, including power generated through a pineapple, a 3-D printing machine, a picture painted with magic cubes and a flying machine controlled by the mind, demonstrated the diverse and exciting world of science.
Zhao Jinyuan, 4, went to the show all the way from Ningbo with his father. He was impressed by a fruit piano, which links fruits with wires that make a sound when you touch them.
The boy played Happy Birthday with the help of his father.
"I hope to inspire his curiosity for science and the world in an interesting way. This event provides a platform for him," says father Zhao Kai.
About 700 people visited the fair on its opening day within the first four hours.