The topic of the lecture was occasioned by China’s launch in August 2016 of Mozi, the world’s first quantum communication satellite named after Mozi, the ancient Chinese scientist and philosopher. Mozi will beam communications from space to earth with quantum technology, employing photons, which could prove to be the most secure in the world, invulnerable to hacking.
Mozi (470-391 BC), whose scientific ideas predate those of Newton and Einstein, lived 2,500 years ago during the Warring States Period, China’s golden era when it was at the peak of its intellectual prowess. Mozi propounded the theory of gravity, motion, a universe made of particles and optics. He built the world’s first pinhole camera.
Prof Tan’s lecture ranged far and wide through Chinese history and civilization, examining the ascendancy of science, technology and philosophy that made China a superpower in the ancient world. Prof Tan is a latter day follower of Joseph Needham, the leading chronicler and historian whose research revealed the originality and genius of Chinese science and technology to an astonished world.
Prof Tan studied environmental engineering at California, Berkeley. For his PhD at Cambridge University he developed the Theory of Transient Instability caused by unsteady-state diffusion in non-Newtonian liquids. The theory has been widely presented at leading forums in the US and China.