Asteroid named after renowned Chinese scientist

SHANGHAI (Xinhua) – An asteroid has been named after renowned Chinese scientist, educator and outstanding social activist Qian Weichang, according to a statement by the Shanghai University.

A ceremony was held at the university on Thursday to mark the 10th anniversary of his death and to officially announce the naming of Asteroid Qianweichang, which was approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in February.

According to an IAU communique, the asteroid, coded 283279, was discovered on May 16, 2007, by astronomers with the NEO Survey Program at the Purple Mountain Observatory in east China.

Qian Weichang, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was born in 1912 and died in 2010. The founder of mechanics in China, he discovered the Qian Weichang equation and systematically developed the theory of large deflection of circular thin plates.

The scientist taught at universities in Beijing and Shanghai for decades, and once served as the president of Shanghai University.

Asteroids are the only celestial bodies that can be named by their discoverers.

The naming is recognised as an international and permanent honour.