Nanotechnology research:
A better picture of work in China

by Eric Drexler on 2009/11/01

The previous post, “Nanotechnology research papers: The world’s most prolific authors”, had statistics that suggested (but didn’t directly indicate) a large global role for nanotechnology research in China. This was discussed in the comments, where Patrick, in particular, noted some of the relevant questions and difficulties with the analytical categories.

I pointed to a source that addresses the topic more directly, and Patrick pointed to another. Regarding the first:

Questions of quantity and quality are addressed in a 2006 paper, “The Emergence of China as a Leading Nation in Science” [pdf], which is more strongly focused on nanotechnology than the title would suggest. (Note: the paper has one Chinese and one EU author.) To quote from the abstract:

China has become the fifth leading nation in terms of its share of the world’s scientific publications. The citation rate of papers with a Chinese address for the corresponding author also exhibits exponential growth. More specifically, China has become a major player in critical technologies like nanotechnology. Although it is difficult to delineate nanoscience and nanotechnology, we show that China has recently achieved a position second only to that of the USA.

Patrick pointed to an a set of ongoing research projects at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at UC Santa Barbara. From the web page:

Chinese Nanotechnology Publications

China’s top-down and government-centered approach toward science and technology policy is succeeding in driving academic-publications output. By 2005 China had equaled or possibly surpassed the U.S. in terms of total output for academic/peer-reviewed publications, with a substantial increase in publication rate from around 2003. While others have illustrated that numbers do not translate into high impact, Esther Levy — editor of the journal Advanced Materials — indicated in an interview at the IMMA meeting at Fudan University (Shanghai) that the level of Chinese scholarship was improving, attributable in part to international collaborations as well as to the growing number of returning overseas Chinese. We examined US and Chinese nanotechnology trends in the scientific literature and found that Chinese nanotechnology output is growing rapidly and will likely US output in terms of quality as well as quantity within a decade or less (Appelbaum & Parker 2008).

“Nanotechnology”, of course, comprises a vast network of loosely affiliated fields of research. In exploring the literature on topics relevant to my studies, I’ve found that the field of nanoparticle synthesis, in particular, has a very large proportion of papers from China, including some that strike me as among the most innovative and important.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Patrick McCray November 4, 2009 at 10:38 am UTC

Very interesting…I remain curious as to how researchers in countries like China, with rapidly developing scientific communities, choose which topics and applications to focus on – nanoparticles, for example. It’s a really important topic, not just sociologically, but also in terms of formulating research policy.

Toll Manufacturers November 17, 2009 at 5:36 am UTC

Now a days China is becoming a major player in critical technologies like nanotechnology.It’s just behind of USA…..

Gordon Gregory Knight November 29, 2011 at 8:41 pm UTC

November 30, 2011

Dear Sirs,
My name is Gordon Knight. I am a technical illustrator and design draftsman with more than 30 years of experience. I use computer assisted technology (CAD-CAM) to produce pictures of things or ideas which are difficult to communicate.

My cognitive orientation is formally scientific and my work is respectful of those bounds.
My interests are in nanoscience and nanotechnology. This as a result of my current dissatisfaction with my understanding of the nature of both matter and energy. Pursuant to an improvement of that condition I have been reading everything I could get my hands on which treats the latest thinking in the field. This is what brought your name to my attention.
What I wish to offer is my assistance in the creation of graphical representations of objects or conceptions which would contribute to the clarity of ideas being developed.
My methodology is as follows:
1. I listen.
2. I say what I think you said.
3. I think.
4. I go to a large whiteboard and begin drawing various size circles, naming them, and relating them to one another.
5. This goes on until both you and I have some indication that I understand what you are talking about.
6. We both explore changing the circles and indications of relativity into something more representative of what you had in mind.
7. Step five repeats itself.
8. I go to my computer and block out a layout of what we have accomplished, including the first detailed representations of the elements.
9. With you looking over my shoulder the detailed representations are improved.
10. When all elements are correctly represented, I adjust the imaging to reflect graphic and communicative sensibility.
11. The resultant picture is submitted to you for approval.
12. You tweak it as you see fit.
13. The image is rendered into the form required for publication and we are done.
I look forward to the possibility of my being able to be of help to you. I may be reached through the following avenues:

Mailing address:
Gordon Gregory Knight
8393 Foothill Boulevard, No.1
Rancho Cucamonga, California 91730



I thank you for your consideration.

Gordon Gregory Knight

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