BEIJING, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Explosion mechanics expert Zheng Zhemin and radar engineer Wang Xiaomo won China's top science award on Friday.
They were honored for their remarkable contributions in scientific and technological innovation, according to a government statement.
Their awards were presented by President Hu Jintao at a ceremony held on Friday morning. Senior Chinese leaders Xi Jinping, Wen Jiabao, Li Keqiang and Liu Yunshan also attended the ceremony.
The government has given the annual award to elite scientists and researchers since the year 2000.
Zheng, 88, is member of both the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE).
Zheng has devoted himself to research in the areas of elastic mechanics, explosive processing and underground nuclear detonations.
Wang, 74, is a CAE member who has engaged in radar-related research and design for the past 30 years. He is regarded as the "father" of aerial warning and control systems in China.
Xi, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said at the awards ceremony that China needs to realize a growth pattern that is driven by innovation.
He encouraged Chinese scientists and researchers to follow the example set by the two scientists and contribute their wisdom to the country and the people.
Premier Wen Jiabao called for a closer integration of research entities and enterprises, as well as promised to support enterprises that wish to establish research and development centers.
Wen said the country needs breakthroughs in the development and marketing of high-tech products.
The government will devote more resources toward science and technology that are considered to be vital for China's long-term development, he said.
The government will also create an environment that promotes fair play and encourages creativity and initiative among scientists and researchers, he added.
Awards were also bestowed on a number of other scientists, as well as scientific research programs, at the ceremony.
Chemist Richard N. Zare from the United States, as well as another four foreign experts from the U.S, Canada, Denmark and Japan, respectively, received the International Cooperation Award in Science and Technology.
Chinese moon orbiter Chang'e-2, as well as another two projects, were honored with the State Special Award for Scientific and Technological Progress.
Another 41 projects received second-level prizes in the State Natural Sciences Award competition. No first-level prizes were awarded, marking the ninth time in the last 13 years that the first-level prize was not awarded.
Three projects earned first-level prizes in the State Technology Invention Award competition, while 74 others received second-level prizes.
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