Famous Chinese Inventors & Discoverers

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 1 Zhuge Liang

Zhuge Liang
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Famous As: Military Strategist, Inventor
Birthdate: 0181 AD
Birthplace: Shandong, China
Died: 0234 AD

Zhuge Liang, or Kong Ming, was a Chinese strategist of the Three Kingdoms Period. Legend has it that he had supernatural powers and had invented a number of things, such as a crossbow that shot multiple arrows. His habit of living in seclusion earned him the nickname The Hidden Dragon.

 2 Cai Lun

Cai Lun
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: 0050 AD
Birthplace: Hunan, China
Died: 0121 AD

Cai Lun was a Chinese inventor who served as an eunuch court official of the Han dynasty. Cai Lun played an important role at the imperial court of Emperor He, overseeing the production of weapons and instruments for imperial use. He is credited with inventing paper as we know it today and is hence considered the inventor of modern paper.

 3 Lin Yutang

Lin Yutang
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Famous As: Inventor, Linguist, Novelist
Birthdate: October 10, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Banzai, Fujian, Zhangzhou, China
Died: March 26, 1976

Son of a Christian minister, Lin Yutang was initially supposed to join the ministry but later rejected Christianity to become a professor. His works include several Chinese and English books, such as Moment in Peking. He also introduced the concept of satire magazines in China with Lunyu banyuekan.

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 4 An Wang

An Wang
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Famous As: Co-founder of Wang Laboratories
Birthdate: February 7, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Shanghai, China,
Died: March 24, 1990

Born in Shanghai, An Wang studied electrical engineering before moving to Harvard to get his PhD. The Wang Laboratories co-founder is remembered for inventing the magnetic core memory, which was the main component of computers till the invention of the microchip. He also developed many word-processing systems.

 5 Meng Tian

Meng Tian
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Qin, China
Died: 0210 AD

Qin dynasty military general Meng Tian was also an inventor. Serving emperor Shihuangdi, Meng was assigned with the task of building a wall to fend off the attacks of the Central Asian tribesmen, resulting in the Great Wall of China. He is also credited with inventing a form of harpsichord.

 6 Zu Chongzhi

Zu Chongzhi
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Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: 0429 AD
Birthplace: China
Died: 0500 AD

Chinese astronomer, engineer, and mathematician Zu Chongzhi is best remembered for calculating near-accurate approximations for π. He rejected the then-prevalent Yuanjia calendar and introduced the Daming calendar instead. He had also worked on the mathematical theory of music, though his writings haven’t survived the test of time.

 7 Zhang Zhongjing

Zhang Zhongjing
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Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: 0150 AD
Birthplace: Nanyang, China
Died: 0219 AD

Han dynasty physician and inventor Zhang Zhongjing, also known as The Chinese Hippocrates, is remembered for his iconic treatise on the medical practice of his time, Treatise on Febrile and Other Diseases, which later greatly influenced the methods of Chinese traditional medicine. He specialized in the study of typhoid fever.

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 8 Duan Zhengcheng

Duan Zhengcheng
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: June 15, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Zhenjiang, China
Died: February 15, 2020

Chinese industrial engineer Duan Zhengcheng initially taught at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, his alma. An avid inventor, too, he studied manufacturing and automation of machinery. He was part of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He died of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, at age 85, in 2020.

 9 Qin Jiushao

Qin Jiushao
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: 1202 AD
Birthplace: Puzhou, China
Died: 1261 AD

Chinese mathematician, meteorologist, and writer Qin Jiushao is remembered for developing a method to solve simultaneous linear equations and polynomial equations, mentioned in detail in his only book, Shushu jiuzhang. Though he became the Qiongzhou governor, he was later dismissed for corruption. He had also initially served the army.

 10 Feng Dao

Feng Dao
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: 0882 AD
Birthplace: China
Died: May 21, 0954

Confucian minister and inventor Feng Dao lived during the Five Dynasties period and thus served no less than 10 emperors in his lifetime. He developed the existing block-printing process used in China and is largely believed to have been the first to make an effort to print Chinese Confucian classics.