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Of all the articles I"ve written during this year"s two sessions, the obituary for Stephen Hawking was the most difficult.
The globally admired British physicist, 76, passed away on March 14 after decades of battling with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease that left him paralyzed and speechless but for a robotic voice.
I typed the article with tears in my eyes. There are no words to describe the sadness of writing about the death of your childhood hero without ever having met him.
It was his insightful probing of the cosmos that awakened the science junkie in me, but it was his indomitable spirit that introduced me to the ecstasy of curiosity and the insatiable desire for knowledge.
As I typed his life story, my heart was filled with respect and admiration for the brave people who explore uncharted territories of the universe and bring back knowledge to not only expand our understanding, but also improve our daily lives.
Then, something hit me. I realized these noble goals can also be found in proposals put forward at the two sessions.
Almost all the suggestions made by lawmakers involved in science-related fields centered on two goals - pushing the boundaries through stronger basic research and innovation, and using new technologies to solve key public concerns.
Wan Gang, the former science and technology minister, said China will create more State labs and science projects, and improve policies and management for science workers, thus "creating a healthy and encouraging ecosystem to allow young and innovative scientists to conduct groundbreaking original works".
At the same time, "science and innovation should also serve the people in social security, poverty relief, environmental protection, public health and other key issues related to livelihoods", he said.
Lu Chunfang, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and general director of the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, said future Chinese bullet trains will be safer, faster and more comfortable than ever thanks to innovations.
He said Chinese engineers are building maglev rails, self-driving trains and other inventions that once existed only in science-fiction.
An appreciation for science and original innovation can also be found among local officials. Shangguan Jiqing, the mayor of Xi"an, capital of Shaanxi province, said the city will become a global hub of finance, innovation and cultural exchange - a role it played along the Silk Road during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) - by capitalizing on high-tech fields and expanding cooperation with other countries.
Wang Jinhui, a National People"s Congress deputy and director of the Heilongjiang Provincial Rural Work Office, said science has contributed to 66 percent of the province"s agricultural growth, while 96 percent of all farms are now using agricultural machinery.
"The mechanization rate far surpasses the national average," he said. "Thanks to science and engineering, Heilongjiang is leading the nation in agricultural development."
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