Translator:Henyee TranslationsEditor:Henyee Translations
In the interview of Martin Charlie, 2008 Nobel Chemistry Prize winner, he said that if you were lucky enough to achieve something, people would do something scary to you
After that, people would say, Oh, you might earn a Nobel Prize. Then from the first week of October, you would start losing sleep to the point that even a phone call from your neighbor might spook you.
Until the day you actually received a call from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
The main reason for this was to ensure that the winners would not show off in advance and undermined the expectations of researchers.
The call to notify the winners would come a few minutes before the announcement of the winners. Due to this, the Nobel Prize phone call was one of the most exciting phone calls one could get. It felt like bungee jumping.
Lu Zhou, who received this call, felt that bungee-jump-like-feeling.
He had not expected the Nobel Prize. The reason why he was excited was obviously not because they were calling him for the Nobel prize.
It was the Crafoord Prize.
Ok, the Crafoord Prize was not bad either.
In fact, it was very decent.
The prize was established in 1980 by the industrialist, Holger Crafoord, and his wife, Anna Greta Crafoord. The selection process was through the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Although the prize money was less than the three big mathematics prizes, in the community of natural sciences, it had the reputation of a small Nobel Prize.
Why was this the case?
The reason was that the original intention of this prize was to fill in the gaps for the Nobel Prize. Both the process, specifications, and the award ceremony were based on the Nobel Prize.
The awards were in the field of astronomy, mathematics, earth sciences, and biological sciences. All areas that the Nobel Prize failed to cover. The award was chosen once per year and rotated between astronomy, mathematics, earth sciences, and biological sciences.
This year, it was the turn for mathematics and astronomy. The award would be given to the most significant contributors of the field.
The prize money was $500,000 USD.
Like the Nobel Prize, the Crafoord Prize was also selected and awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences would usually inform the winner a few minutes before the announcement. Therefore, Lu Zhou, who was eating, was surprised by this phone call.
Actually, the main reason why Lu Zhou won this award had nothing to do with Goldbachs conjecture. It was actually because of his numerous contributions in the field of prime numbers. However, his recent thesis in Annual Mathematics certainly boosted his chances.
It was an achievement that could not be ignored.
Therefore, on the website, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences added the Goldbachs conjecture to Lu Zhous list of achievements.
Lu Zhou was nearly dizzy from the $500,000 USD award and the medal that he almost forgot how to get back to his office from the cafeteria.
He only remembered that Witten laughed and patted him on the shoulder before he congratulated him. The next thing he remembered was him sitting in his office and looking at his computer.
Lu Zhou went on the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences website and refreshed the page until he finally saw the list of Crafoord Prize winners.
His name was on there.
The two other winners were Professor Roy Kerr from the University of Canterbury New Zealand, and Roger Branford of Stanford University.
As for the mathematics prize, he was the only one.
Lu Zhou finally relaxed after he confirmed that the phone call was not some cruel joke. The knot in his heart finally loosened.
Then, Lu Zhou closed the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences website and opened another webpage.
Now that he confirmed that he won the award, he was only curious about one thing.
The $500,000 USD prize money
How much was that in RMB?
Two hours after receiving the phone call, Lu Zhou received an email from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
He did not know how they got his email address or phone number for that matter.
Then again, his email was on the page of Princeton University Professors as well as on arXiv.
In the email from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, there was an electronic invitation letter, and mainly a written retelling of what was said in the phone call.
Like the time of the award ceremony and the banquet after the award ceremony.
Also, as a celebration of the Crafoord Prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was going to hold a three-day academic exchange meeting, and they invited Lu Zhou and the other winners to do a report.
The report was one hour long.
Lu Zhou closed the mail and took out his PowerPoint from the Princeton report. Suddenly, another phone call came through.
This time it was not from a stranger. It was from Professor Tang.
Lu Zhou heard a familiar and impatient voice.
You solved Goldbachs conjecture?!
Lu Zhou was stunned and he replied.
The other end of the telephone went quiet, and Lu Zhou heard a sigh.
Nothing, Im just a bit surprised, Professor Tang paused for a second. He then said, Today, the mathematics department was in the middle of a meeting. Suddenly, an Annual Mathematics journal came in. We were still talking about this years enrollment plan, but the rest of the meeting was about you.
It was obvious that Professor Tang was emotional.
When Lu Zhou asked him about the distribution of Mersenne primes in the cafeteria, he suggested that Lu Zhou not to think about those things and focus on mathematical analysis and applied mathematics.
However, fate was a wonderful thing.
Lu Zhou achieved so much in the field of prime numbers in just a few years.
Tang Zhiwei could not help but feel proud of his student.
When Lu Zhou heard Professor Tang, he did not know what to say.
This Im embarrassed.
He thought that his thesis would at most kill off a few in-progress theses. He did not expect it to interrupt the meeting at his old school.
Professor Tang smiled and changed the topic.
Youve already finished your PhD. The school isnt in a rush to get you back, but there are some documents and certificates waiting for you. Principal Xu and Dean Lu have been asking me to ask you. So, when do you plan on coming back and get this damn PhD?
When University of Jin Ling and Princeton originally signed a joint training program for Lu Zhou, Lu Zhou agreed that he would return to the University of Jin Ling and do a report after he finished his PhD in Princeton.
Actually, there was a teaching position as well, but that seemed to have been put aside.
The University of Jin Ling was supportive of Lu Zhou teaching at Princeton.
After all, it was good politics for the leadership team.
Actually, most universities in China knew that they were no match for a world-class school like Princeton.
Whether it was the academic environment or facilities, the difference was night and day. It was like a mathematics problem where solving it took generations of effort.
Encouraging talents to learn scientific research overseas was also a talent training strategy for all major universities.
There were also government policies that encouraged overseas academic development.
This was the so-called, Go away first, then come back.
Even if one did not return, one could stay overseas and trained foreign students.
For example, if University of Jin Ling graduates were teaching at Princeton, then the University of Jin Ling would be able to send at least one student every year to Princeton. This was an unrivaled privilege.
At the same time, Chinese professors were more likely to recruit Chinese students, and this benefited the whole country.
However, Lu Zhou still had much more to learn. He had to earn his qualifications overseas. At the same time, Princetons resources would help him complete his system mission.
When the time was right, he would go back to China.
After all, he was a nostalgic man.
Lu Zhou thought for a moment before he said, I have to go to Stockholm first, but Ill be back in early June.
Stockholm? Professor Tang was stunned. He then asked, What are you doing in Sweden?
Lu Zhou smiled awkwardly.
Im receiving an award.