Translator:Henyee TranslationsEditor:Henyee Translations
On the day of the experiment, a thick gloomy cloud covered the town of Princeton, and it looked like it was about to rain.
Lu Zhou went to PPPL, and as he walked in the laboratory corridors, he suddenly felt a little strange.
It was like he wasnt in a laboratory. Instead, it was almost like he was going to a hospitals child delivery room.
Lu Zhou thought for a bit and realized that this analogy was kind of correct.
The team of He3 engineers and researchers spent countless days and nights on this seemingly impossible project.
Lu Zhou couldnt even count how many hours he had put into the project.
It was no exaggeration to say that the He3 atom probe technology was his child.
Lu Zhou walked to the control room and went inside.
The control room was messy; there were wires tangled everywhere, bunched together using plastic ropes. The computer used to control the atomic gun electromagnetic field was in an even worse state as the mainboard and wires of the computer were exposed.
After all, this was all pieced together in a hurry.
The engineers only had to ensure that there was no faulty equipment; it wasnt their responsibility to impress every visitor.
Lu Zhou look around the control room and saw Professor Lazerson.
However, there was a stranger standing next to Professor Lazerson.
When the stranger noticed Lu Zhou, he offered his right hand.
Hello, Mr. Lu Zhou.
When Professor Lazerson saw Lu Zhou, he introduced his boss to him with great enthusiasm.
This is the director of the PPPL laboratory, Professor Terrence Brog.
Lu Zhou looked at this man and shook his hand.
Lu Zhou had heard of Terrence Brog before.
Last year, the former director of the PPPL, Stewart Prager, caused a US$438 million loss for the US Department of Energy because of the NSTX-U equipment failure. Prager decided to resign and since then, Terrence Brog had taken over the director position at PPPL, thus saving the fusion energy science industry.
After taking over as director, his first course of action was to clean up the mess done by his predecessors and increase scientific research funding.
Impractical projects were cut; if the He3 project team couldnt show enough potential, they might be cut as well
Lu Zhou suddenly realized why this guy was here.
Professor Brog looked at Lu Zhou and cleared his throat. He then said with a blank face, First of all, congratulations for reaching this step.
Lu Zhou: Thank you.
Dont thank me, I didnt do anything. Plus Im not giving you any good news, Professor Brog said. He then paused for a second before he said emotionlessly, If this experiment fails, I will suspend the project. The PPPL researchers are not your personal employees, we cant waste time on projects without potential.
Lu Zhou flinched, and he said, Even though I am willing to provide funding?
Professor Brog stared at Lu Zhou as he replied, Thats right.
There was tension in the air.
Professor Lazerson noticed this and coughed. He wanted to diffuse the tension, and so, he pulled Lu Zhou aside.
Lu Zhou looked at Professor Lazerson and asked, What is his problem?
Maybe Professor Lazerson hesitated for a bit before he said in an uncertain tone, he has his eyes on the US$4 million in the research funding account
Although he didnt want to bad mouth his boss, the situation was apparent.
US$4 million? Lu Zhou was stunned. However, he was focused on something else, and he asked, Why havent we spent the US$4 million yet?
Professor Lazerson nearly choked on his breath.
Havent spent the US$4 million?
Why do you sound dissatisfied?
The US$10 million funding cost was a rough estimate. In fact, the Brookhaven National Laboratory has a good relationship with us. We are perfect buyers of their old equipment. Including the original funding that we had, we only spent an extra US$7 million
Professor Lazerson looked suspicious when he said, The problem is the remaining funds in the research account. You know, although we seem well funded, this technology is difficult to commercialize in the short term. The Congress budget committee hasnt been happy with us
Lu Zhou asked, What does this have to do with me?
Professor Lazerson said with a serious tone, Of course it does! If this project is killed, then the money can be moved onto another project with more potential.
Lu Zhou couldnt help but curse in his heart.
They can do this?
Who knew that you would send the money over so quickly, Professor Lazerson said. He then looked away as he continued, The original agreement we signed clarified the money as a donation. Therefore, we are at an advantage here But all this doesnt matter We just have to successfully do the experiment.
No one could touch the He3 research funding account, as long as the project wasnt killed. Although this wasnt ethical, it was part of scientific research.
However, just like what Professor Lazerson said, talking about this didnt matter.
If their project didnt produce results, even without the US$4 million in research funding, Professor Brog would still kill the project.
After all, PPPL had many projects with a higher potential; they couldnt spend all their resources on one project even if the project was fully funded.
Professor Brog was the person in charge, so he had to think of the big picture.
Therefore, the He3 research team needed a win to prove themselves!
After a short meeting, Professor Lazerson announced the beginning of the experiment.
Everyone was in their respective work stations as held their breath.
They were afraid that their breathing would disturb the plasma and helium-3 particle in the vacuum chamber.
Once everything was ready, Professor Lazerson didnt say anything. Instead, he merely looked at Lu Zhou.
Lu Zhou didnt speak either. He only gave him a thumbs up.
Professor Lazerson understood Lu Zhous intention, and after taking a deep breath, he then pressed the button.
All the work was complete.
All they had to do now
The liquid helium was poured into the orbit track and the ultra-low temperature conductor gradually reached its critical superconducting temperature.
The instant the orbit temperature reached superconducting critical temperature, the current in the coil began to rise. This was to prepare for the high-speed helium-3 atom.
The moment the signal 1 light lit up, the speed of the helium-3 atom reached its limit and the atomic gun was loaded.
This was all like loading a gun crisp and quick.
Professor Lazerson looked at Lu Zhou again.
Lu Zhou nodded without speaking.
This time, it was Lu Zhous turn.
Lu Zhou took a deep breath and walked to the computer. He then pressed the second button, which was the final button.
It was like a trigger was pulled; the helium-3 atom orbiting in the track suddenly broke away from the acceleration orbit and launched in a tangent line into the inner track.
There were no sounds.
No effects could be seen.
However, the moment the atomic gun fired the helium-3 atom, the helium-3 atom was like a bullet that carried a huge amount of energy as it smashed into the hot plasma.
The electromagnetic wave detector showed a series of waves.
Everything happened in an instant, but it felt like it took forever.
At this moment, whether it was Lu Zhou, Professor Lazerson, Professor Brog, or other researchers in the laboratory, they all held their breath for half a second.
The helium-3 atom nucleus penetrated the plasma and quietly slammed into the target material.
A faint wave fluctuation was captured by the probe behind the target material, and the impact data was sent to the computer.
It was like time had suddenly stopped flowing.
Then, the laboratory burst into celebration.
Professor Lazerson threw his hat into the air and waved his fist in the air.
We did it! We did it!