An asteroid discovered by a Chinese observatory has been named after physicist Zhu Guangya, a leading scientist in China's nuclear program.
Premier Wen Jiabao attended a ceremony and workshop held on Sunday, at which Zhu accepted the certificate for his nominal possession of the asteroid from Lu Yongxiang, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
Participants praised Zhu for his remarkable contributions to the country over the past five decades.
The asteroid, bearing the international code number 10388, was discovered on December 25, 1996, by scientists at the Xinglong Station of Beijing Astronomical Observatory, about 180 kilometers northeast of Beijing. China has been active in the study of asteroids since the mid-1990s.
Zhu, a physicist, was one of the leaders and organizers of China's development programs for the A-bomb and the H-bomb. He also helped create the country's long-term defense technology strategy.
A member of the CAS, Zhu also served as the first president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), established in 1994, and guided its development into a top technological consulting agency and academic think-tank.
He has also been an active promoter of China's nuclear power development, urging the construction of more nuclear power plants to boost the proportion of nuclear power output to the country's total power generation.
Born in 1924 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, Zhu graduated from Southwest Associated University in 1945. In 1946 he was accepted into a physics doctoral program at the University of Michigan in the US. He obtained his degree in 1950 and returned to China, where he began working at Peking University.
(Xinhua News Agency, China.org.cn December 27, 2004)