Pioneer of China's nuclear science passes away
Peking University, Feb. 26, 2011: Zhu Guangya, a pioneer of China’s nuclear science, passed away in Beijing on Saturday at the age of 87.
Professor Zhu Guangya (File photo/Xinhua)
Zhu Guangya has contributed to China's breakthrough in atomic bomb and hydrogen bomb technological research, and has participated in nearly all relevant research and development programs.
Zhu was born in 1924 in Yichang, central China’s Hubei province. He attended National Central University (in Chongqing) and graduated from the Department of Physics of National Southwest Associated University in 1945. Then, at the recommendation of Professor Wu Dayou, studied nuclear physics at the University of Michigan from 1946 to 1950, where he obtained a doctorate.
He returned to China in 1950 and taught at PKU Department of Physics until 1952 when he became director of teaching and research at Northeast China People's University in Changchun.
In 1955, Zhu began teaching the first group of nuclear physics students at Peking University. During the next 15 years, he studied reactor physics and also worked in the Second Ministry of Machine Building Industry.
Chen Jia’er and Zhu Guangya (right) in an oral test in 1953 (File photo)
As former PKU President Chen Jia’er recalled, Zhu was the youngest professor at the department. “But we adored him, because he had served in the Korean War, and he was a hero for us all,” said the student of Zhu during a recent interview.
From 1970 to 1982, Zhu worked on projects for the PLA and became vice minister of China’s Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense. In 1999, he was awarded a medal in recognition of his contribution to China's "Two Bombs, One Satellite" projects.
As member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the first president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE, 1994-98), Zhu served on numerous commissions and associations related to the development of science and technology. He was an organizer of the Qinshan nuclear power plant. In the 1980s, he participated in the formulation of the "863 Program," aimed at high technology development.
Zhu Guangya always kept a low profile, wrote Nobel laureate Lee Tsung-dao in a memoir about his classmate. “But Zhu is a real scientist, a scientist with a strategic vision.”
Edited by: Jacques