Ding Wenjiang, A Pioneering Chinese Geologist

Wenjiang Ding (20 March 1888 – 5 January 1936), born in Taixing, Jiangsu Province, was a pioneering Chinese scientist, geologist and scholar. After graduating with a BSc from the University of Glasgow in 1911, the year of the Chinese (Xinhai) Revolution,  Wenjiang pursued what became a distinguished career back in his home-country, the newly established Republic of China. He became the Founder and first Director of the Geological Survey of China (between 1916 and 1921); the first Professor of Geology in Peking (Beijing) University (1931-1934); Secretary-General of the Academia Sinica (1934-36); and Director of the Institute of Geological Investigations of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and Agriculture.

As one of the early Chinese students of the University of Glasgow who came with a prior period of study in Japan, Wenjiang excelled, receiving numerous awards and prizes, among them the Cowie Prize for Geology. He successfully completed classes in Chemistry, Natural Philosophy (Physics), Zoology, Mathematics, Geology, Geography, German, and Astronomy, and was one of only two overseas students (out of 36 students) to attend the University’s very first Geography class of 1909-10. Such was Wenjiang’s outstanding academic record that Ching-Lin Hisa, a Chinese student of Geology in 1916, commented in his memoirs that Dr Ven Kiang Ting (name used at matriculation, the earlier spelling of Wenjiang Ding) was still  remembered and admired by members of that department.

Through Wenjiang’s pioneering work, including co-editing the “New Geographic Map of the Republic of China” and the “Provincial Maps of China”, he made a significant contribution to the promotion and development of both science and culture in the nascent Republic of China.

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One response to “Ding Wenjiang, A Pioneering Chinese Geologist

  1. Pingback: GRAB lunch: International Recruitment in USA, India, and China « University of Glasgow Library

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