Stephen Chen

Stephen Chen

Senior Reporter, China

Stephen is a contributor to Inkstone. He covers science and its impact on society, as well as the environment, military, geopolitics and business for the South China Morning Post.

Location
Beijing
Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
China science, research, innovation
China is planning to build a ‘paradise for physicists’
Scientists in southern China are planning to create machines that will be used to unravel the mysteries of the building blocks of the universe. They said two ring-shaped electron-ion colliders – one 1.2 miles long – will be built in Huizhou, a city in Guangdong province, beginning in 2025 and they will be designed to accelerate electrons to close to the speed of light. The project – known as the Electron-Ion Collider of China, or EICC – will see electrons being fired at the nuclei of heavy elements such as iron or uranium at high speeds. The scientists said the machines – among the biggest of their kind – would act as “cameras” when these collisions took place. This will allow them to study
China is planning to build a ‘paradise for physicists’
Where is the rogue Chinese scientist who gene-edited babies?
The whereabouts of a rogue Chinese scientist and his “gene-edited babies” remain a mystery, as the release of more of his research data triggers renewed discussions of his attempt to create the first gene-edited babies.  He Jiankui, former associate professor of life science at Southern University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen, shocked the world last year when he announced that he had edited the genes of the twin girls to prevent them from inheriting HIV from their father. The claim unleashed a storm of criticism from the international scientific community for the unsafe and unethical use of the technology. Soon after He announced his “success” in creating the world’s first
Where is the rogue Chinese scientist who gene-edited babies?
Chinese astronomers discover black hole so big that it shouldn’t exist
Chinese astronomers have discovered a black hole in the Milky Way that current scientific theory says is too big to exist. Scientists from the National Astronomical Observatory of China say the find, dubbed LB-1, has 70 times the mass of the sun, even though physics says that is impossible. “We were so shocked we could not believe what we saw,” researcher Liu Jifeng said in Beijing on Thursday. He said he and his colleagues consulted astronomers from around the world and after three years of fact-checking announced their find in an article published by the scientific journal Nature. Present theory says that stars are made up of various elements, ranging from light gas to heavy metals. Lighte
Chinese astronomers discover black hole so big that it shouldn’t exist
China’s Mars mission passes landing test for 2020 launch
China has completed a test of its Mars lander, placing the country on track for its first mission to the red planet next year. In the span of several decades, China has emerged from an economic backwater to a rising space power, with recent breakthroughs including the landing of a rover on the far side of the moon. In developing its Mars mission, China is following in the footsteps of the US, which in the 1970s successfully put the Viking landers on Mars and last landed a rover there in November 2018 in its InSight mission.  China’s space program could contribute to international efforts to understand the climate and natural resources on Mars. While it is cold (the average temperature is ab
China’s Mars mission passes landing test for 2020 launch
Seaweed is the star ingredient in new Alzheimer’s drug approved by China
The world’s first new drug for treating Alzheimer’s disease in nearly two decades, based on seaweed, was approved by the Chinese government this weekend. The drug, Oligomannate, could represent a breakthrough in the global effort to develop treatments for the neurodegenerative disorder, which has no cure and is predicted to affect 150 million people worldwide by 2050. The National Medical Products Administration, China’s drug regulator, said Oligomannate had been approved for the treatment of “mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and improving cognitive function.” As brain cells degenerate, symptoms progress from repeating words to forgetting the faces of family members. The decline in brain
Seaweed is the star ingredient in new Alzheimer’s drug approved by China
China is breeding an army of beetles to fight a ‘terrifying’ pest
Scientists are breeding millions of beetles for a battle against a weed that threatens to choke rivers across China and clog the country’s famed Three Gorges Dam. Alligator weed is native to South America but was introduced to the Yangtze River in 1937 by the occupying Japanese as a feed crop for their horses. After the second world war, it was grown across southern China for animal feed, garden greening and herbal medicine. It was not until the 1980s that researchers realized what people living along the river knew – the prolific alligator weed was a menace. Other crops such as rice could not compete with the weed for nutrients, sunlight and space, and it began to choke the life out of fis
China is breeding an army of beetles to fight a ‘terrifying’ pest
A novel way from Chinese scientists to measure how well you sleep
Insomnia is a common issue around the world. Anywhere from 25% to 40% of people in a given population deal with difficulty falling or staying asleep. But Chinese scientists say they’ve found a way to use artificial intelligence (AI) to tell how well people have been sleeping from the way they walk. Professor Zhu Tingshao and colleagues at the Institute of Psychology in Beijing have developed an accurate method of determining sleep quality through its impact on gait, with the help of a machine learning algorithm and a video game component, according to a paper published by online scientific journal PLOS One. Zhu and his team found upper body parts – such as head and shoulders – betrayed more
A novel way from Chinese scientists to measure how well you sleep
Chinese scientists develop laser device that could track submarines
Researchers in eastern China say they have developed an airborne laser device that can detect underwater objects at unprecedented depths. The technology might one day be used to track submarines. The team from the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics said the device could pick up objects more than 525 feet beneath the sea, twice as deep as devices used today. “It is the first time [to have reached that depth] … with potential for further improvement,” the institute said on its website. The airborne laser system was tested over the South China Sea in April and the results were made public this month. “It provides powerful technical support for satellite laser remote sensing,” the i
Chinese scientists develop laser device that could track submarines
China says it has developed the world’s first handheld sonic guns
China has developed the world’s first portable sonic gun for riot control, the Chinese Academy of Sciences said. The rifle-shaped instrument, which was jointly developed with military and law enforcement agencies, is designed to disperse crowds using focused waves of low-frequency sound, the academy's Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry said on its website on Wednesday. The device’s “biological effect” would cause extreme discomfort, with vibrations in the eardrums, eyeballs, stomach, liver and brain, scientists said. Studies dating to the 1940s found that low-frequency sound could, depending upon intensity and exposure, cause dizziness, headaches, vomiting, bowel spasms, involuntar
China says it has developed the world’s first handheld sonic guns
Scientists say they created E coli strain that feeds on electricity
Scientists at a government laboratory in China say they have edited the DNA of a germ, creating a bacterium that can use electrons as an energy source, perhaps opening the door to superpowers in humans. The gene-edited germ uses electricity as “food,” increasing its physical performance by as much as 70%, according to a team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology. The researchers engineered the bacterium by adding an “alien” gene to the DNA of E coli, a germ common in animal intestines. The gene helped generate a protein – a compound that serves as a worker bee within a cell – that can draw energy from free-roaming electrons from the environment. Th
Scientists say they created E coli strain that feeds on electricity