Andrej Sakarov was a physicist from the Soviet Union: he was responsible for the nuclear development program after the Second World War, but he also strongly criticized the Soviet regime and for this he was awarded with the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979. Sakarov was crucial also for nuclear fusion as de invented in the 50s the tokamak configuration which is today the most important experimental configuration to study nuclear fusion. During the Cold War all nuclear experiments were classified, including those on fusion. But in 1958 the Atoms for peace conference of the United Nations helped to make nuclear physics research open. Today nuclear fusion is still a great example of international collaboration. Iter project keeps togetehr the European Union, the US, China, India, Russia, South Korea and Japan. Italy was among the first countries which took part in fusion research. As Piero Martin tells from the department of physics and astronomy of the university of Padua, the first laboratories dedicated to fusion research were built in Rome in the 50s and then moved to Frascati, which is still today the most important fusion research center in Italy. But also Padova has been an important center since the late 50s, with the Eta-Beta experiments. The Consorzio Rfx collaboration started in the late 80s at the Cnr laboratories in Padova. The Rfx experiment starts in 1991 and its results earned the prestigious Nature Physics cover. Rfx today works alongside an even more ambitious experiment: project Prima aims at building the first protype of the Iter injector, a sort of lighter that will heat Iter’s plasma.

Project manager: Francesco Suman Shooting and editing by Elisa Speronello Subs: Anna Bellettato Location: department of Physics and Astronomy, university of Padua