Li and Me

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Science  11 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6180, pp. 127
DOI: 10.1126/science.1251293

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During a week-long trip to China in January this year, I was invited to meet with Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing to discuss science. At first, I was in disbelief. After all, China is a nation of 1.3 billion people. Li, as Premier and Party Secretary of the State Council, has many pressing issues of national and international concern to attend to. In all my years as a scientist, including heading a billion-dollar U.S. research agency, this was the most significant invitation I had ever received to meet with a sitting national leader to hear his vision for science and discuss important global science matters. The fact that the Chinese Premier wanted to meet with me sent strong signals as to how China is seeing science as critical to its future well being.