Scientific Background in China


    RECENT reports of the British Counuu, in describing the work of its Cultural Scientific Office in Chungking, have given some account of the position of science in China, and still more factual accounts have been given by Dr. J. Needham in Nature (157, 175 ; 1946, and 156, 496 ; 1945). In “Chinese Science”(London: Pilot Press, Ltd., pp. 80), Dr. Needham presents the background and setting in which scientific work is carried out in China, and the vivid contrast of old and new. There is little here to indicate research actually in progress in China or the results so far achieved by Chinese workers ; there is much to indicate how important will be the future contribution from workers imbued with such resourcefulness and determination to overcome the handicaps under which they have been compelled to work. Few who read this admirably illustrated little volume can doubt that under the organisation already established, and which Dr. Needham outlines in his preface, Chinese research workers will speedily be making unique contributions in fields of their own, and that urgent as may be China's needs for equipment and supplies, even now the traffic will not be only one way. Four profusely illustrated chapters describe the position of scientific and educational institutions in Szechuan, in the northwest, the south-east and the south-west, and if the emphasis is on the workers and conditions rather than on the work being done, that may well enhance the appeal to the general reader to whom, rather than to the man of science, it is obviously addressed.

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    Scientific Background in China. Nature 157, 509 (1946).

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