Chapter 573: Ling Yun!
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Lu Zhou was the one who paid for the two cups of coffee.
After thanking Lu Zhou, Professor Keriber left the cafe and took a flight back home.
Since Lu Zhou’s body hadn’t fully recovered, he didn’t go to the airport with Keriber. However, he told Wang Peng to send Keriber to the airport.
Only time could tell what choices Keriber would make and what choices Europe, as a whole, would make.
Nine days after Chinese New Year’s Eve, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, a commendation conference was held for the successful fusion ignition of the controllable demonstration reactor. The conference opened with a brilliant speech by the host and a round of applause.
At the commendation conference, the president personally awarded the twenty-six golden 585 commemorative medals and bright red certificates to the researchers who made outstanding contributions to the demonstration reactor project. The president also expressed his gratitude to these researchers who were fighting on the front line of scientific research.
In the spring of 1958, the Institute of Atomic Energy of the Chinese Academy of Sciences1 officially established a study on magnetic confinement fusion, which began the research of controlled fusion.
Up to now, there had been more than sixty years of controllable fusion research.
It took almost three generations to finally complete this project.
The commendation conference was also a perfect ending to this vigorous scientific research project.
Academician Li Jiangang was sitting at one of the tables with a golden medal rested against his chest. He wiped his eyes as he said quietly, “Professor, we did it…”
He still remembered the year of 1982, when he graduated from Harbin Institute of Technology as a nuclear power major. His original intention was to become an aircraft carrier designer. However, his mentor’s influence completely changed his career, and since then, he had devoted himself to the field of controllable fusion research.
Forty years had passed since then. The nuclear power road used to be full of hope, but back then, he couldn’t see an end to this road. He was regretful and sorrowful. However, he persisted without hesitation and gave up his position at the Culham Laboratory in Oxford when his motherland needed him most. He returned to China to continue his controllable fusion research.
However, his mentor wasn’t able to see the glory of controllable nuclear fusion anymore.
But he believed that if his mentor’s spirit were in heaven, he would definitely be proud of the choices he made today…
Academician Wang Zengguang was sitting next to him. He touched the medal on his chest and felt a burst of emotion.
“I’ve been in the nuclear power industry my entire life. I never would have imagined that instead of seeing the glory of the fourth generation fission power generator, I was able to witness the collapse of the third generation fission power generator.”
Fission reactor was an expensive source of energy. The electricity price was much higher than that of thermal power. It was also much more difficult to deal with its nuclear waste.
After China commissioned the Pangu fusion reactor and connected the reactor to the power supply grid, there wouldn’t be any new fission reactor construction plans in China.
“Speaking of which, Chief Designer Lu isn’t an academician, right?”
Academician Li Jiangang hesitated for a bit and smiled as he said, “The year of 2019 was so busy for him, so he didn’t have time to become an academician.”
An academician had to go through two rounds of voting. The academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences would decide based on these two rounds, and this would take up a lot of time.
Since Lu Zhou was busy with the controllable fusion project for the entirety of 2019, he obviously didn’t have time to be elected as an academician.
Academician Wang suddenly had a thought in his mind.
“I’ll vote for him in next year’s election.”
“An academician in his twenties?” Academician Li hesitated and said, “Isn’t it a bit too young…”
Since his old friend was staring at him, Academician Li added, “Don’t look at me that way, I was just saying. When the election comes around, I’ll definitely vote for him.”
Academician Wang Zengguang smiled and said, “I guess there’s still some kindness left in your heart then.”
Academician Li wasn’t happy with that remark. “What are you talking about, I always had kindness in my heart. But speaking of which, it’s fine for me to vote for him since I’m in the mathematical physics department. You’re in the engineering department, are you really going to vote for him?”
Academy of Engineering frowned and said, “Why does Lu Zhou have to be a mathematical physics academician? Can’t he just join the Academy of Engineering?”
“Old man, you’re being unreasonable.” Li Jiangang smiled and said, “He’s a Nobel Prize laureate and Fields Medal winner, why the hell would he be in the Academy of Engineering!”
“Oh, you’re looking down on the Academy of Engineering? The controllable fusion project is way more impressive than the Fields Medal or the Nobel Prize!”
“They’re not the same thing! You can’t compare them like that.”
Their argument seemed to have ended up in a strange place.
The two men nearly started a fight over whether Lu Zhou should join the Academy of Engineering or the Academy of Sciences.
On the other hand, Zhou Chengfu was sitting at the front of the Great Hall of the People. He looked at the medal on his chest and felt a little uncomfortable.
Even though he was one of the heroes for controllable fusion research, he always felt like an outsider. He didn’t feel any joy from this honor. Instead, he felt he should be disdained.
It felt like he wasn’t worthy of the thing hanging in front of his chest.
Academician Pan was sitting next to him. He smiled as he said, “What now? The president gave it to you himself. Do you want to take it off?”
Zhou Chengfu didn’t say anything. He had a complicated expression on his face.
However, Pan Changhong knew his friend too well.
Pan Changhong sighed and looked at the stage.
“It doesn’t matter what you did, it’s been fifty years. You did the hard work and this honor should belong to you. No one makes perfect choices, you were just loyal to your research.
“Also, I’m not the only one who thinks like this. Even Professor Lu nominated you.”
Zhou Chengfu looked emotional…
In addition to the 26 585 medals and the 120 individual awards as well as five team awards, there was also a special medal.
This medal was about 8 cm in diameter, cast from 99.9% pure gold, weighed 527 grams, and was equipped with red and black ribbons that could be hung on one’s chest. The main body of the medal consisted of five stars, olive branches, and light rays.
Its name was “Ling Yun1“.
It was a design that never came to life. No one had ever thought that the crazy idea of a stellarator would one day come to life in the hands of a new generation of scholars. That one day, it would produce the energy of stars.
Lu Zhou couldn’t fully comprehend the significance of this medal.
After all, he wasn’t from the ’70s, and he didn’t devote his life toward controllable fusion.
However, when his fingers rubbed against this medal and he felt the delicate textures, he could somewhat feel the historical significance that was contained in this medal…