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Chinese Dream of Popularizing Science

Xinhua News Agency, November 11, 2013 Adjust font size:

"We hoped that people would think of Guokr while talking about science, and think of science while talking about Guokr. We have made it!" proclaimed Ji Xiaohua as the media business he founded celebrated its third birthday this weekend.

At a gala on Saturday in Beijing, he addressed hundreds of fans from around the country, many of them squatting without seats. The mood was testament to Guokr's success in promoting popular science by making technical knowhow fun and accessible for ordinary people. to date holds just over 10,000 original posts, with topics ranging from whether radiation from electric appliances is harmful to human health to one of its most timely -- an article posted minutes after deadly explosions in north China's Shanxi Province on Wednesday morning.

Typical of the website's application of scientific theory to practical life and current affairs, it advised that the key to spotting suspects is looking out for those in oversized outerwear with their hands in their pockets, and that throwing yourself prone on the ground is the best thing to do in case of an explosion.

The week capped a remarkable three years for this start-up enterprise. The website has accumulated experts from different fields for lively discussions on science-related issues, garnering 3.75 million daily page views and 1.7 million registered users.

More importantly perhaps, it seems to have corresponded to an uptick in interest in science in China.

"A few years ago, we seldom found popular science topics in the media, except for the science magazines. Nowadays, we see these discussions across the media landscape. But I am looking forward to a bigger one," Ji told Xinhua.

The 36-year-old, also known as Ji Shisan, still considers science enthusiasts a minority group after he joined the scene himself 20 years ago. His ambition is to make science a daily topic of conversation among common Chinese people.

A student of biology for 11 years, Ji believes science and technology have come to occupy a place in the nation's psyche, as people realize it is easier to find jobs with scientific or technological skills, and society sees the necessity of science in pushing forward development.

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