China's Understanding of the Cosmos

Ziang ChenApril 13, 2022Time and Space

In our country, China, the word cosmos in Chinese is “宇宙”. The "Qi Wu Lun" chapter of the Zhuangzi is the earliest use of the word “宇宙” in ancient Chinese books. The meaning of "宇" includes all directions, such as north, south, east, west. The meaning of “宙” includes the past, present, day, night, all different specific time. "宇" refers to space, "宙" refers to time, and "宇宙" refers to the unification of time and space.

Ancient Chinese astronomy abounds in assumptions about the structure of the universe. As far back as the early days of human society, ancient China gradually formed a simple intuitive view of "the sky is round like a pot cover, and the ground is like a chess game." In the Western Zhou Dynasty, 3,000 years ago, "Gaitian Theory" gradually came into being. Gaitian thought that the earth is not a flat square, but arched; the sky is like a bamboo hat, and the earth is like an upside down plate. Later, "Hun Tian Theory" developed. The theory's greatest achievement was to affirm that the earth was spherical and that the earth was a sphere suspended in space.

Until modern times, China had its current understanding of the universe, and at the same time, our country continued to explore the mysteries of the universe by launching manned spacecraft such as Shenzhou 13 and Tianzhou 3, and to keep carrying out scientific experiments about the universe.

Ziang Chen is a 17-year-old from Beijing, China, who is interested in innovation, entrepreneurship, and social issues around the world, as well as the beautiful landscapes and cultures of different places.