Documentary highlighting China-UK scientific exchanges debuts
Published: Nov 21, 2021 10:42 PM
Poster of <em>Joseph Needham and Ancient Science and Technology in China</em> Photo: Weibo

Poster of Joseph Needham and Ancient Science and Technology in China Photo: Weibo

A new documentary on the process that British science historian and biochemist Joseph Needham wrote about ancient Chinese science and technological developments debuted on CCTV-10 on Saturday.

Joseph Needham and Ancient Science and Technology in China, a documentary that includes six chapters such as "To China" and "The Highland of Civilisation" documents how Needham, a well-respected British scholar of science and technology visited the country during the 1940s to 1980s, when he studied the development of China's scientific and technological civilisation from a cross-cultural perspective. 

Known as "an old friend to China," the researcher spent his entire life studying Chinese science and technology in the 20th century. Among many of his works created about China, such as Chinese Science (1945) and Science in Traditional China:A comparative Perspective (1982), the book series Science and Civilisation in China is seen as the first work in the world to comprehensively introduce China's development in the area. It is also seen as a text book that encourages many scholars to be intrigued by as well as study Chinese science and technology, building a cultural bridge between the UK and China through scientific research. 

"Even though some of its views and statements now need an update, the book is still excellent because the author took a comparative approach to introduce fundamental information, such as the geographical conditions and historical features between China and the West. Writing the book like a history really helps science researchers understand the rationale behind particular knowledge," Wang Jue, a science researcher, told the Global Times. 

Beside being a science historian, Needham was also a keen Sinologist who was fascinated by Chinese culture and lived in many places across the country. 

In order to show his life experiences in China, the filming team followed his footsteps to Hong Kong and even the UK to shoot many of his rare photos, diary and notes, which will be revealed in the documentary series. 

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