Chinese phytochemist and malariologist Tu Youyou is best remembered for her Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the anti-malarial drug qinghaosu, or artemisinin. She is the first Chinese female Nobel laureate. A tuberculosis infection in her younger days had inspired her to step into medicine. She later studied traditional Chinese medicine, too.
Wen Jiabao is a retired Chinese politician who served as the country's head of government from 2003 to 2013. As Premier, Wen Jiabao played a major role in directing Beijing's economic policy. Nicknamed the people's premier, Wen worked towards bettering the lives of migrant workers and farmers rather than focusing on GDP growth in rich coastal areas and large cities.
Known as the Chinese Marie Curie, Chien-Shiung Wu was a Chinese-American physicist who specialized in particle and experimental physics. She is best known for her Wu experiment. A National Medal of Science winner, she was part of the Manhattan Project, too. She taught at various institutes, including Princeton and Columbia.
Chen Ning Yang is a Chinese theoretical physicist known for his significant contributions to statistical mechanics, gauge theory, integrable systems, and both particle physics and condensed matter physics. He and Tsung-Dao Lee were awarded the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on parity nonconservation of weak interaction. The men also elucidated the Lee-Yang circle theorem.
Li Ching-Yuen was a Chinese martial artist, herbalist, and tactical advisor. Li Ching-Yuen, who is believed to have lived off a diet of rice wine and exotic herbs throughout his life, is best remembered for his extreme longevity claim. According to his claim, Li Ching-Yuen lived for 250 years, although gerontologists consider that to be a myth.
Tsung-Dao Lee is a Chinese-American physicist renowned for his work on particle physics, parity violation, soliton stars, nontopological solitons, and the Lee Model. In 1957, he became the third-youngest person to be awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in the science fields; he won the Nobel Prize in Physics. He is also the first Chinese Nobel laureate.
Shiing-Shen Chern was a Chinese-American poet and mathematician. He is best remembered for making significant contributions to topology and differential geometry. Referred to as the father of modern differential geometry, Shiing-Shen Chern is widely regarded as one of the 20th century's greatest mathematicians. He won several prestigious awards, such as the National Medal of Science, Wolf Prize, and Lobachevsky Medal.
Chinese polymath Zhang Heng, or Chang Heng, was, at the same time, a mathematician, an astronomer, a geographer, a poet, a seismologist, an artist, and much more. His countless inventions include the world's first seismoscope. He documented over 2,000 stars and modified the Chinese calculations for pi.
Shen Kuo was an eleventh century Chinese statesman and polymath, best remembered for authoring Mengxi bitan. Initially employed with central government, he had a successful career before he was banished on false charges, a move that allowed him to produce several scholarly books on mathematics, music, astronomy, calendars, cartography, geology, optics and medicine, out of which many were later purged.
Su Song was a Chinese statesman and polymathic scientist. Best remembered for his contributions to various fields of study, Song was accomplished in astronomy, geography, cartography, mathematics, pharmacology, horology, mineralogy, botany, zoology, hydraulic engineering, mechanical engineering, poetry, art, philosophy, and statesmanship. Su Song is also remembered for his work on an astronomical clock tower, which implemented an early escapement mechanism.
Andrew Yao is a Chinese computational theorist and computer scientist. He is best known for using the minimax theorem to prove Yao's Principle. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Knuth Prize, the Turing Award, and the Kyoto Prize. Andrew Yao is currently working as a professor at Tsinghua University.
Xu Guangqi, or Paul, was a Chinese official of the Ming dynasty and one of the most prominent Chinese converts before the 20th century. An agronomist, a mathematician, an astronomer, a politician, and an author, he translated many Western works. He was also known as one of the Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism.
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.
Chinese pharmacologist and scholar of the Ming dynasty Li Shizhen is remembered for his elaborate compilation Compendium of Materia Medica, which offered descriptions of over 1,000 drugs and provided instructions for about 11,000 prescriptions. His book was a benchmark in Chinese medicine and was translated into several languages.
Chinese astrophysicist and activist Fang Lizhi inspired the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. The dissident was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party for his activities, but that didn’t stop his research, which took him to institutes in the US and Great Britain. He also taught at the University of Arizona.
Chinese mathematician of the 3rd century, Liu Hui lived in the Cao Wei region during the Three Kingdoms period. He is remembered for his commentary Jiuzhang suanshu, or The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art, which included his scientific writings on topics such as the Pythagorean theorem and solid geometry.
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.
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.
Chinese mathematician and astronomer Li Chunfeng rejected the existing Wuyin calendar and redesigned it later, creating the Linde calendar, using a new armillary sphere, as part of the Imperial Astronomical Bureau. He also wrote several mathematical and historical treatises, apart from contributing to music, metrology, and astrology.