The rapid expansion of science in China is putting large numbers of young researchers into prominent positions as their elders retire.
China has relatively few middle-aged scientists — the result of a decade-long gap in education during the Cultural Revolution starting in 1966, when "intellectuals" were sent into manual work. More recently, the government's emphasis on rebuilding science has attracted scientists back from abroad, as well as educating a new generation.
Many welcome the appointment of group leaders still in their 30s — a contrast with countries such as the United States and Japan that have struggled to provide career opportunities for young scientists. But some are cautious about giving them so much responsibility at an early age.