Ten Characters of the Year in Nature: Talented teenager Cao Yuan is the first, He Jiankui is the opposite.

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 Ten Characters of the Year in Nature: Talented teenager Cao Yuan is the first, He Jiankui is the opposite.


The worlds top academic journal, Nature, released its top ten scientific figures in 2018 at 0:00 Beijing time on December 19. Cao Yuan, the prodigy of graphene superconductivity, and He Jiankui, the controversial baby edited by the worlds first gene, were among them.

Cao Yuan, a 22-year-old gifted teenager, ranked first on the list. On March 5, 2018, Nature published two heavy graphene papers by Cao Yuan as the first author. The graduate of the junior high school of science and technology, a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that when two layers of parallel graphene were stacked at a delicate angle of about 1.1 degrees, a magical superconducting effect would occur. This discovery has stirred up international academia and directly opened up a new field of condensed matter physics. Nowadays, countless scholars are trying to repeat and expand his research.

Cao Yuans pictures are from the Journal Nature.

In the relevant close-up articles, Cao Yuan said that he was not special and that he had spent four years in university, only skipping some boring things in middle school. His Massachusetts Institute of Technology mentor commented that Cao Yuans experimental skills were crucial in the research. Cao Yuan is a repairman deep in his heart. He likes to disassemble and reassemble things. The office is full of computer and self-made telescope parts, which are messy.

Although every year the cover pictures of the top ten characters in Nature are a huge number of 10, the specific style and background will be integrated into the hotspot of science and technology for design. For example, the 2016 cover image is rippled, suggesting the discovery of gravitational waves, the largest scientific achievement of the year. The cover image of 2017, which was rated as the first year of artificial intelligence by the outside world, incorporates elements of computer code.

This years cover image clearly points to Cao Yuans achievements. The 0 in the number 10 is treated as a regular hexagon, just like the carbon ring structure of graphene. Look carefully again, the whole number 10 is filled with two layers of small honeycomb-like regular hexagons, red and blue respectively. There is a small angle between the two layers, which makes the image appear double. This leads to the magic angle that gives graphene superconductivity.

Cover picture hints at Cao Yuans discovery of graphene magic horn

It is worth mentioning that the top ten figures of the year in Nature only select those who had the greatest influence on the scientific community, not necessarily positive images. A villain appeared on the 2017 list, Scott Pruitt, the director of environmental protection appointed by President Trump. The climate change sceptic broke up a series of environmental legacies of the Obama administration when he took office. The villains in this years list were led by He Jiankui, an associate professor of Nanke University and the leading actor of the Gene Edited Infant incident.

He Jiankui announced the birth of two twin girls with CRISPR edited genes in November. Although modern assisted reproductive technology is enough for fathers with AIDS to have healthy children, He Jiankui is determined to use the method of editing embryo genes to try to achieve the goal of immunization against AIDS. There is widespread concern that the lives of two children will be shrouded by unknown health risks. Opening the Pandora Box of Gene Editorial Ethics makes the international scientific community more heated.

He Jian Jian

However, the half-baked geneticist no longer spoke in the media. He appeared on the world stage in a hurry and disappeared in a hurry. A close-up article in Nature writes. The title of this article is CRISPR Hooligans.

In addition to two Chinese, archaeologist Viviane Slon is also on the list. She found the skeleton of a half-breed 90,000 years ago: the prehistoric girls mother was Neanderthal and her father was Denisovan.

Viviane Slon

Physicist Jess Wade worked for equal rights in science, creating Wikipedia entries for hundreds of women scientists.

Jess Wade

Robert-Jan Smits launched Plan S, a bold initiative to promote open access to scientific research papers, which set off a huge wave in the science publishing industry.

Robert-Jan Smits

Barbara Rae-Venter used open-source DNA data to identify dozens of Golden State killers who committed sexual assaults and killings in the 1970s and 1980s.

Barbara Rae-Venter

Astronomer Anthony Browns team has released a data set of billions of stars tracked by the Gap Asia-Pacific Space Telescope, rapidly changing human perceptions of the evolution of the Milky Way.

Anthony Brown

Japan Aerospace Research and Development Agency (JAXA) scientist Yoshikawas Falcon 2 probe will go to dumpling-shaped asteroid Dragon Palace to sample and return to Earth.

Kyrgyzstan

Climate expert Valrie Masson-Delmotte issued an important survey report under the leadership of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warning that in a few decades, the Earths temperature will come to a turning point in changing ecosystems and that coral reefs will face extinction.

Valrie Masson-Delmotte

Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysias Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, Environment and Climate Change, has taken the lead in advocating reducing the use of disposable plastics.

Yeo Bee Yin

This list includes the main characters in this years science news, from the discovery of superconductors to the critically edited baby gene, said Rich Monastersky, close-up editor of Nature. The stories of these ten people epitomize the most unforgettable scientific events of 2018. They force us to face up to some difficult questions: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?

The following is a close-up of Cao Yuan in Nature. The original text is in English and translated by journalists from PengMei News (www.thepaper.cn).

Graphene Jeans Cao Yuan: A Ph.D. student who induces superconductivity in carbon atom films

Cao Yuans adolescence was quite non-mainstream. At the age of 18, he finished his undergraduate course at China University of Science and Technology in Hefei and went to the United States for his doctorate. After that, he did not slow down: this year, Cao Yuan, 21, published two papers on the bizarre behavior of carbon atom thin films, opening up a whole new frontier in physics. Cao Yuan admitted that his situation was not common, but said that he was not special. After all, he spent four years in college: I just skipped some boring stuff in high school.

When Cao Yuan joined the lab in 2014, the Massachusetts Institute of Technologys Pablo Jarillo-Herrero team had stacked and rotated the carbon atom layer at different angles. Cao Yuans work is to study what happens when two layers of graphene are slightly deflected from each other. According to theoretical prediction, slight deflection will cause dramatic changes in material behavior. Many physicists doubt it. But when Cao Yuan set out to build a slightly deflected layer of graphene, he found something strange. In a small electric field, when the temperature drops to 1.7 degrees above absolute zero, the conductive graphene usually becomes an insulator. Thats amazing enough. We know its going to make a splash in academia. Cao Yuan said. Better yet: by adjusting the electric field slightly, the deflected graphene layer becomes a superconductor, and the current flows unimpeded. After observing the same phenomenon in the second sample, the experimental group believed it was true.

Simple rotations allow carbon atom films to enter complex electronic states. Now physicists are scrambling to create exciting behavior on other twisted two-dimensional materials. Some people even hope that graphene can reveal the mystery of high temperature superconductivity of complex materials. We can do too much. Cory Dean, a physicist at Columbia University, said. Im going to be drowned out by opportunities right now.

In order to rotate the parallel two layers of graphene into a magic angle of about 1.1 degrees, some errors need to be made, but Cao Yuan can quickly and reliably complete it. His experimental skills are crucial, says Jarillo-Herrero. Cao Yuan pioneered a method of tearing out single graphene layer to produce double-layer stacks with the same angle, then fine-tuning the calibration. He also adjusted the temperature of the cryogenic system to make superconductivity more clearly visible.

Cao Yuan loves to disassemble and reassemble things. Deep inside, he is a tinker, Cao Yuans mentor commented. For example, he would take pictures of the night sky with his own cameras and telescopes and enjoy his time. Relevant parts were scattered all over his office. Every time I walk in, its messy. The computer is taken apart and the table is full of telescope parts. Jarillo-Herrero said.

Although young and shy, colleagues say that Cao Yuans maturity is manifested in perseverance. For example, Cao Yuan missed the Massachusetts Institute of Technologys physics graduate program. He also joined Jarillo-Herreros research group through the Department of Electrical Engineering and continued to do physics. Cao Yuan was also indifferent to the disappointed results of the doctors initial stage. He spent six months studying a seemingly exciting data, only to find that it was just a coincidence in the experimental setup. He was unhappy, but he just rolled up his sleeves and went on working. Jarillo-Herrero said. Cao Yuan, 22, has no idea where his scientific career will go. We still have a lot to do about magic horn graphene, he said. However, according to Zeng Changgan, a Postgraduate Tutor and physicist at the University of Science and Technology, Caoyuan has gained more attention from universities around the world, not only postdoctoral work, but also teaching positions. In the field of condensed matter physics in China, everyone knows Cao Yuans name, Zeng Changgan said. China University of Science and Technology is happy to see him back, but Zeng Changgan expects Cao Yuan to stay in the United States at present. Its easier to see the stars there. Source: Wang Fengzhi _NT2541

Although young and shy, colleagues say that Cao Yuans maturity is manifested in perseverance. For example, Cao Yuan missed the Massachusetts Institute of Technologys physics graduate program. He also joined Jarillo-Herreros research group through the Department of Electrical Engineering and continued to do physics. Cao Yuan was also indifferent to the disappointed results of the doctors initial stage. He spent six months studying a seemingly exciting data, only to find that it was just a coincidence in the experimental setup. He was unhappy, but he just rolled up his sleeves and went on working. Jarillo-Herrero said.

Cao Yuan, 22, has no idea where his scientific career will go. We still have a lot to do about magic horn graphene, he said. However, according to Zeng Changgan, a Postgraduate Tutor and physicist at the University of Science and Technology, Caoyuan has gained more attention from universities around the world, not only postdoctoral work, but also teaching positions. In the field of condensed matter physics in China, everyone knows Cao Yuans name, Zeng Changgan said. China University of Science and Technology is happy to see him back, but Zeng Changgan expects Cao Yuan to stay in the United States at present. Its easier to see the stars there.