New tradition and new prospects

News, 20 June 2019

On 5 June 2019, a delegation of the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE) headed by CIAE Director Wan Gang visited the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. It was the second visit of Wan Gang to Dubna. In August 2018, a meeting of CIAE and CNNC (China National Nuclear Corporation) representatives with the JINR Directorate was held at which an opportunity of organization of a scientific forum dedicated to the memory of Prof. Wang Ganchang was discussed as one of the ways of cooperation extension. This time, the delegation was represented by Director of the International Cooperation Office Zhang Jing and staff members of the Department of Nuclear Physics: Director Chen Dongfeng and senior experts Lin Chengjian, Li Xiaomei, and Han Wenze.

A meeting was held in the JINR Directorate, and the parties discussed possible ways to implement the memorandum on mutual understanding between JINR and CIAE signed in April 2018. CIAE representatives expressed their interest in cooperation in various fields, in particular, in the frames of the NICA mega-science project. The JINR party made an offer to implement this field of cooperation in the format of participation in already established international collaborations of the MPD and BM@N experiments at the NICA collider, as well as the SPD collaboration being created. The CIAE representatives showed their vivid interest in research fields of FLNP, FLNR, and LRB. The delegation visited the Laboratory of Neutron Physics and the Laboratory of High Energy Physics, and for the next two days, the guests joined the JEMS training programme for a more detailed acquaintance with the Institute. Additional working meetings were held with FLNP, VBLHEP, and FLNR heads.

In the JINR Scientists’ Club, a memorial seminar dedicated to a prominent Chinese scientist, Academician Wang Ganchang (28.05.1907 -10.12.1998), one of the founders of the Institute, JINR Vice-Director in 1958–1960, was held. The seminar was opened by JINR Director Academician V. A. Matveev. CIAE Director Wan Gang started his report with a story about his scientific centre. The China Institute of Atomic Energy was founded in 1950. 3000 staff members currently work in the Institute, 67 of whom have obtained the title of academicians in various years. The Institute is a fundamental platform for the study of nuclear physics; there are seven centres and laboratories; research is conducted on eight scientific fields.

Then, the reporter passed to a detailed biography of the prominent scientist. Wang Ganchang was born in Changshu, the Jiangsu province, on 28 May 1907. In June 1929, he graduated from the Physical Department of the Tsinghua University. In 1930, he went to study at the Berlin University in Germany. In 1934, he obtained a PhD and returned to China. Wang Ganchang worked at first in the Shandong University and then headed the Physical Department in the Zhejiang University (1936-1950).

From April 1950 to 1956, Wang Ganchang worked as a researcher in the Institute of Modern Physics (predecessor of the China Institute of Atomic Energy) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Since 1952, he held the post of Deputy Director of the Institute. From 1953 to 1956, Wang Ganchang headed the experiment on study of cosmic rays at a height of 3185 meters above the sea level in the mountain area of the Yunnan province.

On 20 September 1956, the first meeting of Plenipotentiary Representatives of the JINR Founder States was held, and Wang Ganchang attended that meeting. After the meeting, he stayed at JINR.

VBLHEP Chief Researcher V. A. Nikitin, who knew Wang Ganchang, told participants of the seminar about his work in LHE, and the acquaintance with other Chinese colleagues. In particular, Wang Ganchang took part in the creation of the propane bubble chamber, the discovery of the antisigma-minus hyperon.

On 22 December 1960, Wang Ganchang left JINR and returned to China in two days. In July 1978, he headed the China Institute of Atomic Energy. On 28 May 1998, Wang Ganchang visited the laboratory for the last time. During these years, under the supervision and with the participation of this outstanding scientist, a pleiad of nuclear physicists of China was trained, experimental facilities were constructed and modernized, and the National Laboratory of Nuclear Physics of the Beijing Accelerator was established, as well as other centres. Thus, Wang Ganchang inspired not only the CIAE-JINR collaboration but also the China-Russia one.

Then, three reports on the scientific infrastructure and the key CIAE research were presented. On behalf of the JINR party, Head of the FLNR Sector “Structure of light exotic nuclei” A. S. Fomichev put forward a proposal for cooperation in the fields of radioactive nuclei. Participants expressed the wish to hold the memorial seminar of Wang Ganchang regularly and organize the next one in the China Institute of Atomic Energy.

Galina Myalkovskaya, JINR Weekly Newspaper
photos by Elena Puzynina