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Editorial for Chinese Annals of History of Science and Technology 

Zhang Baichun, Jürgen Renn (Editors-in-Chief) 

Chinese science and technology have interacted with other cultural traditions, both directly and indirectly, for thousands of years. The ongoing discussions of “Silk Road,” or rather “Silk Roads” are emblematic of knowledge dissemination and the global connectivity of Chinese society. Modern Chinese science and technology can be understood as the product of practical, technical and theoretical knowledge developments in China, and an exchange with Western learning and other knowledge traditions. The distinctive history of Chinese science and technology can help us to understand how science and technology emerges and evolves and how it is communicated in globalization processes. Historical sources and new archaeological discoveries in China have been intensively studied since the beginning of the twentieth century. The results of this research, however, have been published mainly in Chinese, so that the vast majority of results and historical data remain unknown to the international community.

Research on history of science and technology began to be professionalized and institutionalized in China after the 1950s. Even earlier, Joseph Needham and other non-Chinese scholars undertook pioneering studies on Chinese science and technology. International academic conferences followed, and a great number of articles were published. A variety of approaches emerged: sinologists explored science and technology with respect to Chinese culture, considering cultural, economic, social and political factors. Historians, on the other hand, attached greater importance to the discussion of methodologies and historiographical questions in studying the relation between science, technology, and society. All of the studies undertaken, both by Chinese and non-Chinese scholars, are important and, despite their different approaches, clearly complement one other. In recent years, the study of history of science and technology in processes of globalization has become a new research focus, with the development of science and technology in China attracting increasing attention from the international community. Chinese and non-Chinese scholars, however, are still unable to easily benefit from each other’s work, with one of the main reasons being a lack of joint communication platforms.

The Chinese Annals of History of Science and Technology (CAHST) has been established by the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences and the Science Press to offer a broad platform for the exchange of research results. This platform will support further research on the formation and development of science and technology in China and disseminate the results both in China and in other parts of the world. CAHST is a peer-reviewed international journal that encourages studies with different perspectives and approaches, especially interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and transnational studies on the history of science and knowledge, including issues of dissemination and transformation that go beyond the Chinese tradition. We hope that CAHST will bring to the international academic community a new understanding of the diversity and global character of science and technology, as well as introduce the varied and rich traditions of research in China.

CAHST will publish longer research papers and reviews, but also specific studies on original documents and archaeological findings. Review essays on previous research and ongoing discussions and controversies on historiography or methodology are also welcomed. We aim to make each issue of this journal thematic, with more or less homogeneous subject matter. CAHST also encourages the submission of conference reports, and proposals for special issues edited by guest editors, or by specific research teams. The International Editorial Committee of CAHST comprises historians and sinologists from various countries and includes international experts versed in history of science and technology who will take into account a wide range of disciplines and cultural traditions.

The current issue focuses on ancient Chinese history and brings together archaeological studies with the study of ancient texts. It is a combination of contributions offering new findings with invited reviews that introduce readers who are not experts in the history of Chinese science and technology to developments in particular fields. Some papers are published here for the first time, and others have been published previously in Chinese and are presented here for the first time in English. Our hope is to provide non-Chinese-speaking readers with the opportunity to access the riches of current research in China on the history of science and technology. While all papers make reference to both Chinese and Western literature, there is a prevalence of Chinese sources, reflecting the academic context in which these papers emerged. This highlights the gap that still exists between Chinese and Western academic contexts in the humanities, a gap that this journal aims eventually to close. Most of the contributors to this first issue are affiliated with the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences. We are grateful for their willingness to contribute to this pioneering effort. For future issues, the thematic scope will be widened substantially and also include papers on subjects pertaining to later history and of course we welcome all relevant submissions from wherever they may come.


Zhang Baichun, Jürgen Renn: Editorial... i

Feng Lisheng: On the Structure and Functions of the Multiplication Table in the Tsinghua Collection of Bamboo Slips... 1

Zou Dahai: An Elementary Study of the Unearthed Mathematics Book, Suanshu Shu... 24

Zhao Zhijun: Archaeobotanical Data for Research on the Introduction of Wheat into China... 59

Su Rongyu: Archaeologist-Led Studies on Bronze Casting in Ancient China: 1928-2000... 80

Li Yuanzhi et al.: The Lost-Wax Process in the Pre-Qin Period: A Bronze Appendage with Hollow Snake Patterns from the Tomb of Duke Ning of Xu... 98

Dai Nianzu: An Experiment on Releasing Water from Water Tanks by Xu Youzhen during the Ming Dynasty... 116

Style Guide... 121


Zhang Baichun, Jürgen Renn 

Editorial Board

Nadia Asheulova (St. Petersburg Branch of Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences)

William G. Boltz (University of Washington)

Francesca Bray (University of Edinburgh)

Chang Chia-feng (Taiwan University)

Chang Qing (Tongji University, Shanghai)

Karine Chemla (Université Paris 7)

Joseph W. Dauben (City University of New York)

Fan Fa-ti (State University of New York, Binghamton)

Rivka Feldhay (Tel Aviv University)

Feng Lisheng (Tsinghua University, Beijing)

Han Qi (Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, CAS)

Takehiko Hashimoto (University of Tokyo)

Hu Danian (University of New York City)

Hu Shenghua (Science Press, Beijing)

Kim Yung Sik (Seoul National University)

Eberhard Knobloch (Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities)

Wolfgang König (Technische Universität Berlin)

Alfons Labisch (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf)

Mei Jianjun (The Needham Research Institute)

Dagmar Schäfer (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)

Matthias Schemmel (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)

Shi Yunli (University of Science and Technology of China)

Tian Miao (Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, CAS)

Hans Ulrich Vogel (Universität Tübingen)

Wang Zuoyue (California State Polytechnic University)

Yeang Chen-Pang (University of Toronto)

Zhang Daqing (Peking University)

Zhang Jiuchen (Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, CAS)

Zhao Zhijun (Institute of Archaeology, CASS)


Editorial Office 

Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, CAS. 

55 Zhongguancun East Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100190, China 



Tel: +86-10-57552521 

Fax: +86-10-57552567 

Managing Editors

Chen Wei, Dong Min, Liu Yexin, Lü Xin, Yu Yueyuan 

English Editors

Lindy Divarci, John Moffett 


Address: 16 Donghuangchenggen North Street, Beijing 100717, China

Tel: +86-10-64017032