Yu Min is dubbed the "father of China's hydrogen bomb". China detonated its first hydrogen bomb in 1967, a little more than two-and-a-half years after the country's first atomic bomb test - much less time than the seven years and three months the United States took to develop a hydrogen bomb after its first atomic test. After solving one key problem in 1965, Yu reportedly used code to relay his breakthrough to Deng Jiaxian, another scientist who played an instrumental role in developing China's atomic and hydrogen weapons. Yu reportedly phoned Deng and told him that he "hunted a squirrel" that had an "uncommon physical structure", and "needed more manpower to help with dissection", as a hint for his new findings.
Yu Min was born in 1926 in Ninghe County, Hebei Province. In 1949 Peking University Department of Physics graduate student and assistant professor. Since 1951, he has been assistant researcher and associate researcher in the Institute of Modern Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and had been engaged in nuclear theory research. At the end of 1960 he began to engage in nuclear weapons theory.
As early as 1960, Qian Sanqiang and a few far-sighted, organization personnel quietly began the theory of hydrogen bomb technology exploration. Deng Jiaxian's friend Yu Min joined the team. One U.S. hydrogen bomb expert said: "Making hydrogen bombs is like being a child lost in the virgin forest. It is both dangerous and isolated from the outside world. Even if you have an ancient alchemist's heart, you will inevitably fall into hell and sea struggle."
Determined to lead these young explorers, Deng Jiaxian relied on the most basic principles of physics. Their weapons are a desk, a ruler, a blackboard, but they had the passion to turn their ideals into reality. They had fiery hearts and tireless brains. They were divided into three branches, using the most advanced computers in the country. Yu Min led the team to Shanghai Huadong Institute of Computing Technology.
In 1965, he transferred to the Ninth Research Institute of the Second Machinery Department and served successively as Deputy Director of the Theoretical Department, Deputy Director and Director of the Institute of Theoretical Studies, Vice President of the Research Institute, Deputy Director of the Science and Technology Commission of the Academy, and Senior Scientific Advisor of the Institute.
After 100 days of struggle, Yu Min telephoned Deng Jiaxue, who was in the northwest, and exclaimed: "Lao Deng, several of us hunted and squirmed ..." The next day, Deng Jia first took people to fly to Shanghai. He listened to Yu Min's report, excited like a big boy. Deng Jiaxian and everyone worked hard for more than a month, so that the hydrogen bomb has a relatively complete blueprint. Also called a victory, excitement, excitement Deng Jiaxian this "show" is to ask everyone to enjoy Yangcheng Lake hairy crabs. Then, together with Min, he flew back to the Northwest Nuclear Development Base. December 28, 1966, they intensively started hydrogen bomb theory test.
A series of basic problems in thermonuclear physics were solved in the breakthrough of hydrogen bomb theory, and a tentative idea was put forward, from the principle to the complete configuration. This played a key role after long-term leadership and participation in the theory of nuclear weapons research and design, solving a large number of key theoretical issues.
Yu Min's role in the development of nuclear weapons in China is of paramount importance. Not only was he personally involved in hydrogen bomb research and put forward Yu Min configuration, but also in the spirit of sacrificing self in front of the nation's righteousness. In January 1961, Yu Min was selected by the state to participate in the preliminary study of hydrogen bomb theory. He was well aware that hydrogen bomb Research on nuclear weapons was not only an arduous task but also had a strong collectivity. It also required strict confidentiality. For many years, anonymity has been extremely troublesome. But he was more aware of the needs of the country.
Yu Min recalled that in the 1970s, the weaponeers were developing new warheads and were ordered to “make increased yields and miniaturization the focus of development.” The goals were to improve “miniaturization, mobility, penetrability, safety, and reliability”. By 1975 or 1976, miniaturization research encountered difficulties, especially with ignition. He Xiantu recalled that “early on, under Yu Min’s leadership we already researched a type of theory of thermonuclear burn, but did not research an approach for achieving ignition.” Yu Min recalled great difficulty in miniaturizing the warhead’s primary, a task he had focused on since the early 1970s. He had led initial calculations, measurements, and the hot testing, but despite the successful test, by 1976 he was still concerned that the primaries were not suitable for weapons. Lewis and Xue wrote that a key obstacle to miniaturization in the 1970s was replacing the mechanical neutron initiator in the center of China’s original warheads.
China had already struggled with deuterium and tritium to “boost” its weapons, or make more efficient use of fissile material. Yu Min described the process of miniaturizing the primary as “drawing near a precipice,” due to the difficulty of determining how small the primary could be and still drive the secondary. As of 1986, Yu Min reported that despite 10 years of research on miniaturization, the weaponeers still needed to weaponize the designs. According to Yu Min, “By the end of the 1980s they had completed their assignment to break through principles of new types of miniaturized primaries.” Chinese accounts relate that there are two kinds of hydrogen bombs currently in the world, one is Teller-Ulam [TU] configuration from the United States and the other is a "hypersensitive" configuration by Yu Min, an unique original hydrogen bomb configuration. IT is said that the hydrogen bomb design named the "Yu Min configuration", compared with the United States T-U configuration, is a configuration for which the cost and maintenance costs are relatively low, so it can be said that for the hydrogen bomb, Chinese technology is more advanced. It gives China the ability to maintain H-bombs in service.
Although atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs are both nuclear weapons, the two have different storage conditions due to different principles. The atomic bombs can be stored for long periods of time in a dry, constant temperature environment. The hydrogen bombs, due to the use of fusion materials, are very unstable and have a short life expectancy. The hydrogen bombs must be inspected, maintained and maintained regularly throughout their service. China's hydrogen bombs have adopted a more advanced and stable Yu Min configuration, basically eliminating cumbersome maintenance.
Since the 1970s, Yu Min played an important role in advocating and promoting a number of high-tech projects. He won the first prize of National Natural Science Award in 1982, the first prize of National Science and Technology Progress Award in 1985, 1987 and 1989, the "May 1st Labor Medal" in 1985, the "National Model Worker" in 1987, Guanghua Award 1992 Grand Prize.
Yu Min played a crucial role in the design of China's nuclear weapons, and is one of 23 recipients of the Two Bombs, One Satellite Achievement Medal, the country's top award to scientists contributing to China's nuclear and satellite projects. Yu Min won China's top science and technology accolade on 09 January 2015.
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