AWARDEE OF EARTH SCIENCES PRIZE
Wang Pinxian, marine geologist and professor of Tongji University, was born in November 14th,1936, in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province. After graduation from the Geology Department, Moscow State University, in 1960, he joined the Geology and Geography Departments, East China Normal University, Shanghai, and then moved to the Tongji University in 1972. In 1981-1982, he was Alexander von Homboldt Research Fellow in the Kiel University, Germany. Upon returning back to Shanghai, he took the position of Head of Marine Geology Department of Tongji University, Shanghai, until 1990. He was elected into the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1991.
Since the late 1970's, Wang Pinxian systematically studied the distribution of foraminifers, ostracods and then calcareous nannoplankton in bottom sediments of the shelf seas off China, and successively used the relationships between microfossils and sedimentary environments in paleoenvironmental reconstructions in the coastal plains and continental shelves of China. This has resulted in a volume “Marine Micropaleontology of China” (Springer-Verlag and China Ocean Press, 1985). A prize from the National Commission for Education and then a National Natural Prize was given to him for the studies. He edited a Special Issue of the international journal “Marine Micropaleontology”(1997), with exclusively Chinese contributions by scientists from the both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
In the early 1980’s, Wang was the first to study paleoceanography in China. His first paper on late Quaternary paleoceanography of the South China Sea, published in 1986 in “Acta Geologica Sinica”, revealed the paleoenvirnmental amplifying affect of the marginal sea in glacial cycles. In 1989, he established the China Paleoceanographic Working Group, launched the meeting series of “Paleoceanographic Symposium of China” and published the text-book “Introduction to Paleoceanography” (Tongji University Press, 1989). In the 1990’s, he actively promoted international cooperative studies on paleoceanography of the China Seas, in result high-resolution paleoenvironemntal records have been taken from the South China Sea and the Okinawa Trough showing paleoceanographic history of the last 40000 years in a centennial time scale.
Together with his efforts for promoting China's participation in the Ocean Drilling Program, Wang Pinxian with co-proponents submitted a drill proposal “East Asain Monsoon Historv as Recorded in the South China Sea and its Global Climate Impact” in 1996, which was accepted and scheduled as ODP Leg 184 for February - April, 1999. He was invited as Co-Chief Scientist of the first scientific deep-sea drilling cruise in the China Seas.
Wang Pinxian's research interest is not limited to the China Seas. In the early 1990's, he organized an UNESCO/IOC Working Group for the Western Pacific paleoceanographic mapping project and published the first map set on the Last Glacial Maximum in 1995. He also founded the “Asian Marine Geology Conference” series, with the first Conferecne held in 1988 in Shanghai. In 1998, he set up the SCOR/IMAGES Working Group on “Asian monsoon evolution in marine records (SEAMONS)” and convened the first meeting in Shanghai. During the recent years, he has been working on paleolimnological studies on the Paleogene oil-producing basins in China, exploring the environmental control of non-marine oil formation.
He was Vice-President of Scientific Commission for Ocean Research (SCOR) and member of Committee for Marine Geology (CMG), and elected as Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society, London, in 1991. Currently, he is President of the Chinese Committee for SCOR, Vice-President of the Chinese Oceanographic and Limnlogical Society, Vice-Chairman of the Chinese Committee for Quaternary Research.