What are China’s Pineapple Science Awards?

Chinese flag
Photo by B Mat an gelo on Unsplash

Exploring Excellence: China’s Pineapple Science Awards

China, known for its rich cultural history and technological advancements, takes a plunge into the fascinating world of science during their Pineapple Science Awards. Beginning in 2012, this event has brought to light groundbreaking achievements, innovative research and scientific marvels that have positioned the participating entities as frontrunners in the field of science. Despite wishing this award was about pineapples, as we love our Perfect Pineapples, the Pineapple Science award is not centered around Pineapples. 

China’s Pineapple Science Awards are not solely a research award. Instead, the awards were originally launched to promote science and cultivate enthusiasm among younger generations. This award encourages curiosity, imagination and creativity. 

Award Categories and Research Topics

At its origin, the Pineapple Science Award consisted of five categories including physics, chemistry, medicine, biology, mathematics and psychology. However, it now consists of ten categories ranging from invention to science events and caring for the next generation, among others. Within these categories in 2023, there were a few winners that explored topics such as: “Exercising for an additional two hours daily will not affect academic performance,” “Insects also love to play,” and “Voice spoken against the wind propagates better.” 

Past winners include the 2021 team of physicists who built a beer mat throwing machine, the 2019 winner David Hu, who researched in detail how cats use their tongues to clean themselves and the 2014 winners, a team from Zhejiang University, who developed an invisibility cloak that can make goldfish invisible in water. However, this just scratches the surface of some of the incredibly unique awards given. 

In 2015, a student from NYU won for determining that it takes 1,000 licks to finish off a lollipop that’s 1 cm in diameter. In 2020, researchers from Australia won the mathematics award for the mystery of the disappearing cycle of office teaspoons. Unfortunately, in 2017, the math prize was awarded to researchers who discovered that an average public swimming pool contains 75 liters of urine. 

All of these awards highlight the fact that regardless of the award category, being interesting is one of the most important criteria across the board.

science experiment at awards
Photo courtesy of China Daily

The Educational Impact

Beyond the recognition of scientific accomplishments, the Pineapple Science Awards is a powerful tool for fostering scientific curiosity among children and teenagers. Launched with the goal of promoting science education, the award plays a vital role in encouraging students to explore the wonders of the scientific world. By celebrating not just breakthroughs in research but also the communicators and educators who make science accessible, the awards contribute to building a foundation for future scientific innovation.

The Role of Pineapples

Pineapples, while not the central focus of the awards, were specifically chosen as they symbolize endurance and resilience—traits essential in scientific research. However, they also have a royal history, and are seen as a status of luxury.  These luxurious items, despite being strangely shaped, have a bright color and pleasing taste so the prize of this award is pleasing and nourishing, while also a little bit silly.

The awards highlight the interconnectedness of nature and science, emphasizing the importance of understanding and harnessing the potential of natural resources. Additionally, the awards serve as a platform for scientists to share their findings, fostering collaboration and pushing the boundaries of knowledge in various scientific disciplines. Pineapples may be propagated from cuttings taken from the tops of store-bought fruit, or from offsets divided off in spring


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