In 1959 Qian Sanqiang, the "Father of China's Atomic Bomb", was the designated mastermind of Mao’s A-bomb program. He was an excellent organization coordinator and chief architect of nuclear engineering. “At all times and in all countries, the achievements of human beings are due to steady efforts, a down-to-earth style and persistence.” Qian Sanqiang stuck to this simple motto and dedicated his entire life to science. Like a mountaineer, every footprint that he made was deep and stable. He had enormous passion for science and an equally undying love for his country. He made personal achievements and much more for his motherland.
Qian Sanqiang, male, Han nationality, was born on October 16, 1913 in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province. His father was Qian Xuantong, a famed scholar during that time. Qian Sanqiang graduated from the physics department of Qinghua University in 1936. He was one of the 10 students in his class who insisted on the major for graduation.
In July 1937, Sino-Japanese war broke out. In the same year, Qian Sanqiang passed the China-France Education Foundation Examination and was given a chance to study at the Radiological Institute of Paris University. In the early spring of 1937, he was recommended to study in France supported by Sino-France Education Fund. Then he went to Paris to work and study in the Curie Lab of Paris University and the Atomic Nuclear Chemistry Lab of France Academy in the field of atomic nuclear studies and obtained doctorate there. In 1939 Qian Sanqiang completed a doctoral dissertation - "collision of alpha particles and protons." In 1940, won the national doctorate in France.
In 1946, he won a scholarship awarded by French Academy of Sciences. In 11 years of study abroad, Qian Sanqiang was inspired by his love for the motherland to conquer many scientific heights of the time. Qian and his wife He Zhehui, also his collaborator, discovered that of about 300 atomic fissions, there is one that partitions into 3 blocks. The discovery of triopartion and quadripartion, first by He Zehui in the world, was regarded by the Curries as the most important work of the laboratory after the Second World War. The discovery of triopartion phenomenon in uranium deepened understanding of nuclear fission.
In 1948 Qian and his wife gave up the good jobs and rich life in France and came back to China. In August 1948, Qian Sanqiang returned to Tsinghua University after a dozen years of absence. At this time, his identity was changed from being an ordinary student to a professor of physics. November 1, 1949, the Chinese Academy of Sciences was established. Qian Sanqiang participated in the founding work of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and set about to set up the Institute of Modern Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences the following year. This is the first nuclear physics research institute in China led by Qian Sanqiang, and many researchers in the two bombs and one satellite project came out of it.
Qian Sanqiang joined the Communist Party of China in 1954. He served successively as director of the Institute of Modern Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), head of the Planning Bureau under the CAS, vice-president of the CAS, and deputy minister of Second Ministry of Machine Building which oversaw production of the nuclear industry. Qian was one of the founders of the domestic nuclear industry. He made indelible contribution to China's development of atom and hydrogen bombs and its high-energy physics and had thus been honored as "Father of China's Atom Bomb". Qian was one of the founders of domestic nuclear industry. Under his leadership, China in the 1950s built its first heavy water reactor and first cyclotron, thus launching its research work in reactor physics, reactor engineering technology, radiobiology, radioactive isotope preparation, high energy accelerator technology and controlled thermonuclear fusion.
After the Central Committee decided to develop its own nuclear forces in 1955, he became a planner and was appointed an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (a member of the academic department. In 1955, he was hired as an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
In 1956, Qian Sanqiang led more than 40 scientific workers in an internship study in the Soviet Union. Qian Xuesen, who just returned from the United States, came to visit the Soviet Union and Qian Qiangqiang together.
On November 16, 1956, the first session of the National People's Congress decided to establish the Third Machinery Industry Department (January 11, 1958, renamed the Second Machinery Department) in charge of atomic energy industry. Song Renqiong, minister of finance, Qian Sanqiang and Liu Jie, Yuan Chenglong, Liu Wei, etc., were appointed deputy minister. He was the only scientist among the deputy ministers. Nie Shuai once said to Qian Sanqiang: "Engage in atomic energy, you are an expert, would you please suggest that we should discuss the decision."
In 1958, he participated in the construction of an atomic reactor aided by the Soviet Union and brought together a large number of nuclear scientists (including his wife He Zehui). He also recommended such outstanding talents as Deng Jiaxian to the ranks of developing nuclear weapons.
June 26, 1959, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union wrote a letter refusing to provide information on the atomic bomb and teaching model. On August 23, the Soviet Union unilaterally terminated the new agreement on technology signed between the two countries and removed all experts. After the withdrawal of Soviet experts, Zhou Guangzhao convened dozens of overseas experts and students abroad and jointly requested to return to the war. After returning to China, they successively took part in the research and experimental research of theory.
After the Soviet Union ceased giving China any technological support, Qian immediately selected a group of excellent nuclear scientists and sent them to key positions in the No.2 Machinery Industry Ministry to be responsible for atomic bomb research. At the same time, he cooperated with CAS leaders to solve key problems, making great contributions to the birth of China's first atomic and hydrogen bombs.
In 1964, on the occasion of his 51nd birthday, the first atomic bomb explored in China was successfully developed. As early as 1960, he organized experimental groups to start research on a hydrogen bomb, laying the theoretical foundation for the technology. As a result, China succeeded in developing its first hydrogen bomb 32 months after exploding its first atomic bomb – an unprecedented achievement.
During the Cultural Revolution, the department was forced to stop all activities. After the "Cultural Revolution", Qian Sanqiang was appointed a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a vice president, and immediately started to resume the work of the department. Under the conditions of that time, it was unusually difficult to manage the department. Since 1957, for 22 years there had not been elections of members of the Ministry of Science and Technology, where health department members had an average age of 73 years. Therefore, the election of a new batch of members of the Department was an urgent priority for the revitalization of the Department. Qian Sanqiang personally organized the election work. After nearly a year's recommendation, deliberation, consultation and review, in November 1980, 283 new college members were elected, and the average age of academic members dropped from 73 to 65 years. Department work regained its vitality.
Qian Sanqiang was already an accomplished experimental physicist in his 30s and was recognized for his achievements in this field. However, after returning to China, he unconditionally obeyed the needs of the party and the country, abandoned his beloved scientific research work, and concentrated his energies on scientific organization. He created the conditions for others to exert their talents, and nurtured a large number of scientists and technicians.
In scientific research, Qian Sanqiang payed attention to giving full play to the initiative of young people, letting them boldly explore and give pointers to some key points. He payed attention to guiding and encouraging young people to think independently and make opinions, even if immature or sprouting. He always gave his enthusiastic support and talks together to gradually improve. He exchanged with youth with equality. He often helped young people to make fewer detours by his own experience and lessons. Every year new college students and graduate students reported to the office, where he personally encouraged the red and special road.
Those who were familiar with Qian would not forget his broad-mindedness, bravery and boldness of dignity, outstanding organizational skills, willingness to climb the ladder, modesty and simple style, and high dedication not to seek sacrifices. In Qian, science and morality reached a high degree of unity. Precisely because of this, Qian Sanqiang was greatly admired by the vast majority of young students, and had the love of scientists and the respect of the people throughout the country.
Qian died of heart disease on 03 July 1992.
In September 1999, seven years after his death, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the State Council and the Central Military Commission decided to grant him the special prize of 'Two Bombs and One Satellite Meritorious Award'. Qian had during his lifetime made indelible contribution to China's development of atom and hydrogen bombs and its high-energy physics and had thus been honored as "Father of China's Atom Bomb".
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