Top scientist behind world's largest telescope dies

Source:CGTN Published: 2017/9/17 11:03:17

Nan Rendong, the popular astronomer in China and researcher at Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), has died from illness Friday night at the age of 72 in Beijing.

He was the leading engineer of China's Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST).

"Mr. Nan Rendong lived a simple life, with little desire for reputation," said an obituary published on CAS website.

"He made an extraordinary contribution to China's astronomy research," CAS added.

As mentioned in Nan's will, his funeral will be simple with no event held.

People on social media lit up virtual candles to show their grief.

"The FAST needs a name in Chinese. I suggest calling it after Nan," a person nicknamed "Sturman" commented, who got nearly a hundred comments.

The FAST Photo:Xinhua

Nan and the FAST

Nan is the founder and major contributor to FAST, the world's largest telescope located in southwestern China's Guizhou Province.

The telescope, launched about a year ago, is as large as 30 soccer fields and capable of detecting intelligent extraterrestrial life in remote galaxies.

As the leading engineer, he drafted the plan, monitored the building process and overcame many technical troubles for the telescope.

"He owns the giant machine," said his assistant Jiang Peng.

"Usually, one person can only master one thing. But Nan knows almost everything about the telescope," Jiang added. 

"He even knows visual art. He designed the logo for FAST."

FAST is currently under calibration and expected to go into a trial run later this year.


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