Chapter 490: I Want To See Who Dares To Leave?
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
As the birthplace of Chinas controllable nuclear fusion project, the Southwestern Institute of Physics had a pivotal influence in Chinas controllable nuclear fusion field.
Not only did they have a large tokamak device with a divertor called the HL-2A, but it also played a pivotal role in propelling Chinas participation in the ITER project.
Pan Changhong witnessed all of this happening; he was one of Chinas controllable nuclear fusion veterans.
Even though he had retired for quite a while, he never stopped caring about Chinas controllable nuclear fusion development.
Because of this, when Lu Zhou gave him the invitation, he agreed without hesitation.
In a country with 1.4 billion people, energy problems were always the top priority.
If the energy problem could be solved, many other problems would be solved as well.
The stellarator wasnt necessarily for the future of controllable nuclear fusion, but if the stellarator did become the future, China couldnt fall behind in this field.
Otherwise, by that time, it would take them ten or even fifty years to catch up.
Oh, its you, Academician Zhou Chengfu said when he saw Academician Pan Changhong at his doorway. What brings you here?
Good things, Academician Pan Changhong said with a smile. He then sat on the sofa.
Academician Zhou smiled. Oh, what good things? Tell me about them.
We have negotiated with the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Germany. If everything goes well, they will sell the WEGA equipment to us.
Even though Academician Zhou still had a smile on his face, his smile became somewhat unnatural.
Yes, the prototype for the Wendelstein 7-X. Academician Pan didnt notice Academician Zhous subtle smile, so he nodded and said, I didnt think Professor Lu could manage to seal the deal. Honestly, I am quite surprised.
Even though they were exchanging technology, the carbon-based superconducting magnet that the Max Planck Institute needed was of a lower engineering difficulty. Therefore, this cooperation was more advantageous to China.
After all, even though the WEGA device had been retired, but it was still the predecessor of the Wendelstein; therefore, it still contained many key technologies.
Being able to master these technologies would greatly shorten the time needed for Chinese scholars to catch up with the frontier of international stellarator research.
Academician Zhou wasnt as happy as Academician Pan, and so, after giving it some thought, he asked, If theyre willing to sell this equipment, it must cost a lot of money, right?
Academician Pan: Its not about the money. If we can buy it and study the technology, we can hopefully catch up to the frontier of international stellarator research in a short amount of time. Even if we cant catch up to Japan or Germany, we can still catch up to Australia.
Academician Zhou picked up his vacuum flask and sipped some tea. He suddenly frowned and asked, Is this necessary?
Academician Pan froze. His eyebrows began to furrow.
What do you mean necessary?
Academician Zhou put down the vacuum flask and spoke without hesitation.
Were already at the frontier of tokamak research. Instead of catching up with other peoples research on the stellarator, we should just follow our own research direction. Spending hundreds of millions to support someone elses research, is this really necessary?
Academician Pan froze when he heard this.
He didnt expect that his old colleague, who once looked forward to the triumph of controllable nuclear fusion in China, actually said something like this.
Regardless of what the media portrayed, regardless of what the public opinion was, a researcher should always stay calm and objective. They should look at the in-progress results cautiously and never become arrogant.
However, he could hear a sense of disapproval in his tone or even disdain.
Hopefully, he heard it wrong
Academician Pan stopped smiling. He then adjusted his composure before he switched the topic of conversation and coughed.
Im not here to argue with you about which technical route is superior. Regardless of whether or not the tokamak is easier to implement than the stellarator, we shouldnt put our eggs in one basket. America is doing the same, and theyre researching both technical paths. We are behind on the research on stellarators, and now that Professor Lu gave us this opportunity, we cant just let it go by.
He paused for a second before he continued, I want to organize a team to represent us and head to Germany. I want to borrow around 20 researchers from you, and I already have a list of names. I hope you can approve of it.
Academician Zhou didnt even look at the name list when he said with a poker face, The stellarator isnt in our research plan, so Im afraid I cant help you.
Academician Pan squinted and asked, You dont approve?
Academician Zhou said, We have our own plans, and we dont have to cooperate with you.
Academician Pan slapped his thighs and stood up. He then said, Okay then, Ill bring the name list to Beijing. Ill go to find Minister Wang.
Academician Zhou looked at Academician Pan and said, Old Pan, youre really going to help him and go against me?
Academician Pan looked at him with a disappointed expression.
Zhou Chengfu, youve changed. You havent advanced in academia, but youve learned to abuse your power.
Changed? I have never changed, Academician Zhou said with a blank expression. I just dont want to screw around with you guys.
He had the highest authority in the field of tokamak research. Even the higher-ups had to hear his opinions. Therefore, he obviously would try his best to ensure tokamaks dominant position in the field of controllable nuclear fusion research.
He didnt think he was selfish in doing so, and at the same time, he believed it was the right choice.
Putting eggs in two baskets might reduce the risk, but putting all of the eggs in one basket also had its own advantages.
Not to mention, he was the one that owned this basket.
The reason why China was able to surpass America and the UK in tokamak controllable nuclear fusion research and produce world record in-progress results was because of the concentrated resources put into the research and because of his leadership.
Researching the stellarator?
One could do it of course.
But one couldnt hope to get his support.
Especially Lu Zhou, a Nobel Prize laureate that came out of nowhere. When Lu Zhou suddenly announced that he would participate in controllable nuclear fusion, he was obviously trying to steal his throne.
What made him afraid the most was that the young man was able to trick the high-ranking government officials into trusting him.
Even though Lu Zhou didnt declare war with him, there were two voices in the field of controllable nuclear fusion now, and that was basically a challenge for his authority.
Academician Pan angrily said, What do you mean screw around! Are you certain your path is correct and no other path is? Youre the one who is screwing around.
Academician Zhou had his hands behind his back as he said with a poker face, I am certain my choice is correct.
Jiang Liang, who stood beside them, saw the atmosphere was getting tense. He quickly smiled and tried to break the tension.
This Academician Pan, its not that we dont want to help you; we are just unable to help you. Academician Zhou might have a temper, and his words are a bit straightforward, but as you know, were engaged in the research of tokamak. But now, youre asking us to research the stellarator. We just cant find any suitable candidates.
Academician Zhou didnt say anything. Instead, he slowly drank his tea. He didnt refute nor agree with Jiang Liangs statement.
When Jiang Liang saw this, he took the hint. He then smiled and continued, How about you try asking the people at Lu Yang? Maybe theyll spare some people?
Jiang Ling broke the tension and tried to get rid of the situation entirely.
Academician Pan smiled. He had a flash of resentment in his eyes, but he didnt become angry.
Oh, trying to make me leave I see. Since Im not welcome here, Im afraid nothing I say will do anything.
Academician Pan stared at Zhou Chengfu for a while before he turned around.
When Zhou Chengfu saw that Old Pan was leaving, he said with a blank expression, See yourself out.
After Academician Pan left, the office quieted down.
Jiang Liang looked at the closed office door and stopped smiling. He then asked in a worrying manner, He isnt really going to Minister Wang, right?
Academician Zhou snorted.
He then slammed the vacuum flask on the table and said nonchalantly, Who cares if he does? Who cares if he succeeds? Without my approval, Id like to see who dares to leave.