Professor Ke Lu of the Institute of Metal Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences is the winner of the 2020 Future Science Prize for Physical Science. The prize is awarded annually in recognition of scientific breakthroughs and innovations in the Greater China region (including Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau). This year’s prize honors Professor Lu’s discovery of two types of novel nanostructures that improve copper wire’s mechanical strength without sacrificing ductility or electrical conductivity.
Professor Lu is an editorial advisory board member of Accounts of Materials Research and an author of an upcoming paper in the journal. In recognition of these achievements, Accounts of Materials Research Editor-in-Chief Jiaxing Huang reached out to Professor Lu for a discussion about Professor Lu’s approach to science and the kinds of papers and events he enjoys most.
What are the characteristics of the works that make you feel most satisfied?
I like simple works with a simple idea but distinct from the mainstream, especially those ideas that look surprising or even crazy at first glance but eventually become understandable. I appreciate the “clean” works, namely those with sufficient convincing evidence to support the key conclusions or claims without any irrelevant results.
What are the characteristics of the scientific papers you would like to read?
I prefer to read papers reporting a smart idea on an important topic of the field, better on a controversial theme under debate. It is not necessarily comprehensive, but with smooth story flow and clear-cut results or evidence.
What are the characteristics of the scientific seminars you would love to attend?
First, an interesting topic, either of current interests or a classical one. It should start with some basic concepts or well-known questions. It is important to clarify the key idea behind the story in the beginning, especially why the study is performed and what is your own “trick”. Well-organized storytelling should grasp the audience. The take-home message is robust and straightforward.