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SJTU and Science/AAAS Released 125 Scientific Questions of the World

April 14, 2021      Author:

To celebrate the 125th anniversary of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, on April 10th, "SJTU & Science 125 Questions Release and Future Science and Technology Forum" was held at Minhang Campus of SJTU. SJTU and Science/AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Sciences) jointly planned and released the special issue titled "125 Questions: Exploration and Discovery".

Present at the forum were Lin Zhongqin, President of SJTU; Ding Kuiling, Executive Vice President of SJTU; Xu Xuemin, Xi Lifeng, Mao Junfa and Wang Weiming, Vice Presidents of SJTU; Chu Xiaoying, Director of International Cooperation of the Science/AAAS; and Michael Levitt, Vice Chairman of World Laureate Association and winner of Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2013. They were invited to the stage and press down the button to release the "125 questions of the world".

Lin Zhongqin commented that the major scientific issues is an important manifestation of the university's innovation mission and ability. The university, working together with Science, collects from and presents to the entire world these 125 scientific questions, hoping to contribute to the development of science, technology and human society.

Bill Moran, publisher of Science, sent a video to congratulate SJTU on its 125th anniversary. He reviewed the special issue of 125 Questions: What We Don't Know published by Science to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the journal's founding 16 years ago, and expressed his expectation for the new edition of 125 scientific questions.

Chu Xiaoying said that celebrating the anniversary in such an innovative way as proposed by SJTU reflected the innovative spirit of SJTUers and the sense of responsibility for the development of science and the future of mankind, which was highly consistent with the principles of Science and the mission of AAAS.

Michael Levitt said he was looking forward to a heated debate over the 125 scientific questions and hoped the efforts of all scholars and researchers would promote the development of the current studies.

The forum also witnessed the publication of the Special Journal of Scientific Problems in honor of the 125th Anniversary of Shanghai Jiao Tong University by the Journal of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. This journal is a collection of the reviews on various cutting-edge research and is aimed at stimulating discussions over emerging disciplines and interdisciplinary research alike.

Since the notice on question gathering last year, scientists, young scholars, and World Laureate Association, as well as other academic organizations actively responded to this event and proposed questions covering a wide range of disciplines, including mathematical science, chemistry, medicine & health, biology, astronomy, physics, information science, engineering & material science, neuroscience, ecology, energy science, and artificial intelligence. This opportunity also provided SJTUers with an opportunity to raise questions and seek truth with their devoted passion and vigor.

In the new edition of the 125 questions, some pay close attention to the major problems that haven't been fully answered since the last edition, such as "What is the universe made of?" and "Can we stop ourselves from aging?". Other questions try to probe into common challenges facing us all, for example, "Can we stop global climate change?", "What is the future for energy storage?", and "Is it possible to live permanently on another planet". Still others intended for edgy technology problems of our time, including "Why does life require chirality?", "Can quantum artificial intelligence imitate the human brain?", "Can DNA act as an information storage medium", "How can we develop manufacturing systems on Mars, etc.

To see the full 125 question:


Author: Xu Yan

Source: Office of Research Management, SJTU

Translated by Zhou Rong and Zhang Wenying

Proofread by Xiao Yangning, Fu Yuhe