University of Birmingham marks birthday of influential Chinese alumnus

Li Siguang - one of the University of Birmingham’s most famous Chinese graduates and a geology pioneer - was born on 26 October 1889.

He was behind the discovery of much of China’s oil and gas reserves, as well as being a pioneer in predicting earthquakes, establishing the geological history of China, and the discovery of new resources.

To mark the 117th birthday of this influential scientist, the University of Birmingham has produced a short video which explores the legacy of Li Siguang and his continuing influence in shaping the University’s relationship with China.

The University is proud of its long history of engagement with China and welcomed its first Chinese students in 1907. Since then it has provided education for more than 7,000 Chinese scholars.

The ‘Birmingham Li Siguang PhD Scholarship’ continues his legacy for students from China in all fields of study, especially science and technology. There are some 200 PhD students from China studying at Birmingham in a wide variety of fields.

Li Siguang is one of the best-known scientists in China. In geological circles, J S Lee, as he was known in publications, was one of the scholars whose work inspired the theory of plate dynamics and a fuller understanding of how the continents and oceans move around the planet.

Born in Huanggang, Hubei Province, Li Siguang arrived in Birmingham in 1914 to study in the University’s School of Mining. He received his BSc in 1917 and his MSc in 1918.

Having then spent several years researching geology in China, Li Siguang returned to the University of Birmingham for his doctorate, which was awarded in 1931. Subsequently his daughter studied for an MSc in Metallurgy Physics, graduating in 1948.

Li Siguang went on to become Professor at Peking University. He then progressed to become an academician and Vice-President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, along with other prestigious positions such as Minister for Geology and President of the Chinese Society for Science and Technology.

He died in 1971, but his achievements are still being recognised today, with the Chinese Academy of Sciences acknowledging its debt to his work by arranging in 2009 for a minor planet to be named Li Siguang in his honour.

ENDS

For more information, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0) 782 783 2312. For out of hours media enquiries, call: +44 (0) 7789 921 165.