Academician WAN Yuanxi was born in Mianzhu City of Sichuan Province in 1939. He graduated from Peking University in 1964, then got a Ph.D degree in 1967. Prof.Wan, formerly the head of the Institute of Plasma Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, is now the General Manager of the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) Project --- the Tokamak is a machine that produces a doughnut-shaped magnetic field capable of constraining high temperature plasma.
In 1973, WAN Yuanxi joined the Institute of Plasma Physics in Hefei and devoted himself to the study of peaceful usage of nuclear energy. After three decades of hard work, Wan and his colleagues successfully built the world's first full superconducting experimental Tokamak fusion device. It was a novel design with a non-circular Tokamak device, while other researchers worldwide favored a circular configuration. It has been nicknamed "the artificial sun" because it holds out the promise of an infinite source of clean energy and does so with processes similar to those found in the sun.
The EAST team now owns no fewer than 65 intellectual property rights in the project. At a national project evaluation workshop, the EAST project was highly commended as it "has secured intellectual property rights covering the whole device" and "the technology now leads the whole world in the fusion-energy field." In 2008, the all-superconducting non-circular section tokamak device project won a First Prize of National Science and Technology Progress, and a First Prize of Science and Technology Progress of Anhui Province. This project was also included in the major achievements exhibition on the 60th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
Wan's strenuous efforts won respect both at home and abroad. He was awarded as the “National Advanced Worker” in 2000 and "Outstanding Party Member of Anhui Province" in 2006. In 2009, his outstanding contribution to the EAST project was recognized with the prestigious award, Science and Technology Progress Award from Ho Leung. Ho Lee Foundation.Wan Yuanxi said, "In my whole life, if I can do something that really benefits my country and its people, I will be very happy."