Father of China’s estuarine and coastal research passes


CHEN Jiyu, father of China’s estuarine and coastal research, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a lifetime professor of ECNU, died at Huashan Hospital, Shanghai on Nov. 28 at 11:15 a.mHe was 96.

A pioneer in theory application Chen has made outstanding contributions to China’s estuarine and coastal research as well as to the economic and social development of Shanghai.  

Prof. Chen Jiyu

Chen had once said he refused to stay idle. In the eyes of his students, Prof. Chen was the one who advocated linking theory with practice and successfully applied what he had learned.

“The purpose of research is to help solve problems,” he once told his students.

Prof. Chen’s efforts were not in vain because he practiced what he preached, dedicating his entire career – nearly 70 years of his life – to the academic and educational causes. He was a mastermind behind many of the toughest engineering projects in the academic world.  

Prof. Chen makes a geological survey of the Qiantangjiang River in Zhejiang Province in 1946.

The estuarine and coastal scientist founded China’s first estuarine and coastal research institute and developed a sound estuarine and coastal discipline system featuring integration of motivity, deposition and landforms.

He initiated, organized and provided technical guidance to a nationwide survey on China’s coastal and polder resources, which serves as a comprehensive, systematic source of research databanks for scholars alike engaging in the economic development of coastal areas. The project also received first prize of the National Science and Technology Progress Award in 1992.

Prof. Chen sends his blessings throung the video on the 60'th anniversary celebration of ECNU's Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Research.

Chen had proposed a model on the evolution of the Yangtze River estuary and a theory on self-adaption and human control, which provides a scientific basis for the mouth of the Yangtze River – its deep-water channel selection and estuary harness. In accordance with his insights the Pudong International Airport was built on a tidal flat reclamation zone. Chen also chaired the Jiushaduan ecological project, in effect saving millions of yuan in government expenditures.  

Colleagues celebrates his birthday with Prof. Chen on Nov.1, 2017.

He also proposed the construction of Qingcaosha Reservoir that benefits more than 10 million residents in Shanghai to date.

Born in 1921, Chen was admitted to Zhejiang University to study historical geography in 1941 and joined the faculty body to teach after graduation in 1947. He moved from Hangzhou to Shanghai in 1952 when the Historical Geography Department of Zhejiang University was merged with ECNU. From that point on his life became inextricably bound up with the work of the Yangtze River estuary.

Prof. Chen had always stuck to the creed: “In line with the path of science, first seek the truth”.


East China Normal University