ECNU professor elected Honorary Fellow of GSC


The Geographical Society of China (GSC) is a national non-profit scientific organization in China with the largest membership of 15,000 engaged in the promotion of geography. The First China Geographical Society’s Fellowship Awards Ceremony & the Symposium on Cutting-Edge Geographical Sciences were held in Beijing on November 29, 2020. 22 eminent scholars, including academicians of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, were elected Fellows of China Geographical Society. 20 senior scholars were elected Honorary Fellows of the Society. It was recorded as the first time of granting fellowship in the history of China Geographical Society. Each elected fellow is a distinction reserved for scholars having achieved extraordinary accomplishments in geography.

Prof. Xu Shiyuan, Emeritus Professor of Geography at East China Normal University (ECNU), was elected one of the 20 Honorary Fellows in the Ceremony. Prof. Xu specializes in fields of landform sedimentation, urban physical geography, environmental evolution, sustainable development, etc. His research outputs have been widely applied in delta area as well as estuarine coastal environment. Prof. Xu’s academic works were highly recognized by the community of geography in China as well as the rest of the world. In 2019, he received China Geographical Science Achievement Award, the highest award in geography of China.

Prof. Xu is among the first batch of postgraduates majoring in geomorphology in the Department of Geography of ECNU under the supervision of Prof. Yan Qingshang, a well-known geomorphologist, and Prof. Shi Yafeng, founder of Glaciology in China. From 1960 to 1963, Prof. Xu was involved in the field work of investigating modern glaciers on Tianshan and Qilian mountains in Northwest China organized by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 1962, as a 23-year-old young scholar, Prof. Xu published a paper titled A Study on the mechanism of China's Modern Glaciers on Tianshan Mountains,which is regarded as the first comprehensive paper on the subject and cited by Prof. Zhu Kezhen as an significant evidence to understand China's 5,000 years of climate changes.

China's economic take off in 40 years after its reform and opening up has turned the country into the largest energy consumer in the world. Prof. Xu and his postgraduate supervisor, Prof. Yan Qinshang, took the lead in introducing the world's most advanced comparative sedimentology to China and applied this theory to geographical research on Yangtze River Delta. Being aware of the significance of catastrophic events in the evolution of geographic environment, Prof. Xu blazed a trail in modern storm surge research by setting up a research team for this purpose. In 1990s, Prof. Xu proposed a theory that cities are the second nature created by human beings, and founded a new discipline, Urban Physical Geography. Based on their research results, Prof.Xu and his team helped the pollution treatment of Suzhou River. Highly concerned about the impact of global environmental changes on cities, he chaired a study on the matter cycle on tidal flats in Yangtze River estuary undercomplex environmental conditions and initiated research into the risk of natural disasters in coastal cities.

Prof. Xu was the founding dean of the School of Resource and Environmental Sciences at ECNU in 1992. For years, Prof. Xu has been working as a front-line instructor and leader of a team responsible for the course of “Field Work of Physical Geography”. This team was named “National Teaching Team” by Ministry of Education, China. He has also been actively promoting geography talent training reform and the internationalization of talent cultivation. Being well-known for teaching students in accordance with their aptitude, background and interests, Prof. Xu has nurtured a large number of virtuous and competent geography talents over the past 30 years.

Source: School of Geographic Sciences

Copy editor: Joshua Mayfield

Editor: Yuan Yiwei


East China Normal University