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Academician Zhongxian Zhao Honored with 2023 Future Science Prize


The Future Science Prize announced the laureates of 2023 on August 16th. Zhongxian Zhao from the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Xianhui Chen from the University of Science and Technology of China receive the Future Science Prize in physical sciences for their seminal breakthroughs in the discovery of high-temperature superconducting materials and systematic advancements in elevating the transition temperature.

Superconductivity, the remarkable phenomenon of conducting electric current with zero resistance and complete diamagnetism in quantum materials, offers immense potential for applications in energy transmission, transportation, computation and communication. Traditionally, superconductivity has been observed at extremely low temperatures (<-230 ℃) in most materials. The discovery of high transition temperature (Tc) superconducting materials has significantly propelled these applications, unveiling fundamental and captivating physical mechanisms.

As leaders of this international pursuit, Zhongxian Zhao and Xianhui Chen have played pivotal roles. Two primary families of high Tc materials have emerged: Cuprate superconductors and Iron-based superconductors. In the Cuprate family of high Tc materials, Zhao Zhongxian led a team that independently discovered the first superconducting material above the liquid nitrogen temperature. In the Iron-based family of high Tc materials, Xianhui Chen's group was the first to raise the transition temperature above the McMillan limit, confirming the unconventional nature of these materials. Additionally, Zhongxian Zhao's group holds the distinction of achieving the highest transition temperature in bulk samples. Notably, both Zhao and Chen conducted systematic studies to unravel the underlying physical mechanisms of high Tc materials, positioning themselves at the forefront of superconductor research for several decades.

The Future Science Prize is a privately-funded science award initiated by a group of scientists and entrepreneurs. The Future Science Prize aims to celebrate the accomplishments of scientists who have made extraordinary scientific contributions.

There are three major categories at present, namely the "Life Science Prize", the "Physical Science Prize", and the "Mathematics and Computer Science Prize", with each award of 1 million US dollars respectively.

The Future Science Prize has been awarded to 35 laureates since 2016. All laureates are highly accomplished, widely recognized scientists whose research has made extraordinary impacts in life sciences, physical sciences, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science.

Source: The official website of Future Science Prize